Monday, March 22, 2010

Links for 3/22/10 Education Sector Edition

Erin Dillon
The Kindle illustrates how demand can be created by better, innovative products, and how it can snowball. It’s not hard to imagine a technology that changes when, how and where people learn in the same way the Kindle has changed book reading: making it cost effective, broadly available, convenient. After that, demand could snowball to the point where students guffaw at being told they must sit in a chair for a certain number of hours to officially have learned something…
Elena Silva
Brookings released a report calling for a national corps of teachers—a new federal program estimated to cost about $200 million per year to support about 19,000 teachers. The idea behind “America’s Teacher Corps” is to give recognition, more money ($10,000 annually) and a portable credential to teachers who have shown strong performance based on a strong evaluation system and accept teaching positions in high-poverty Title I schools (they would not need to take any more coursework or any additional exams).What’s different is that the goal of the ATC is not to reward good teaching and attract more teachers to teaching, although these are hoped for and expected outcomes, but to improve evaluation systems. The theory is that teachers who are not eligible for ATC, those who can’t show the requisite “sustained superior performance” because they work in districts without established evaluation systems, will push for better teacher evaluation systems in their own districts...
Kevin Carey
The letter is proof that accreditation standards do exist; despite the wide latitude institutions receive to define and evaluate their own success, it is possible to be bad enough long enough to lose accreditation. But Southeastern also illustrates just how low those standards are and how long they can be defied. Given the university’s multidecade history of loan defaults, financial struggles, and scandal, it’s fair to assume that similar letters could have been written years before.
Kevin Carey
In justifying its decision to allow Southeastern to stay open for so long, Middle States said: "Ever since Southeastern University’s initial accreditation … in 1977, the Commission has recognized the University’s mission of serving diverse and underserved student populations. It is largely as a consequence of this recognition that the Commission has been so forbearing in its actions to date."

This is nonsensical. It's the equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration loosening toxicity standards for drugs taken by pregnant women. Diverse and underserved students are the most vulnerable to poor instruction, the most at-risk of dropping out of college, the most devastated when saddled with un-repayable student loans. Colleges that serve these students should be held to the highest standards, not allowed to skate by for decades on end…

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