Nothing you don’t know, but interesting nonetheless.
Now Bill Gates, who in recent years has turned his attention and considerable fortune to improving American education, is investing $335 million through his foundation to overhaul the personnel departments of several big school systems. A big chunk of that money is financing research by dozens of social scientists and thousands of teachers to develop a better system for evaluating classroom instruction.
The effort will have enormous consequences for the movement to hold schools and educators more accountable for student achievement.
Twenty states are overhauling their teacher-evaluation systems, partly to fulfill plans set in motion by a $4 billion federal grant competition, and they are eagerly awaiting the research results.
For teachers, the findings could mean more scrutiny. But they may also provide more specific guidance about what is expected of the teachers in the classroom if new experiments with other measures are adopted — including tests that gauge teachers’ mastery of their subjects, surveys that ask students about the learning environments in their classes and digital videos of teachers’ lessons, scored by experts.
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