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[Susan notes: Bill Gates will get newsprint whenever he wants it. Thank you to Steve Krashen for always being there to repeat the truth. We need to do this over and over and over.]

Submitted to Washington Post but not published
04/03/2013

To the editor

Gates' suggestions assume that there is something seriously wrong with teacher quality and teacher evaluation in the United States.



I question both assumptions. We are always interested in improving teaching, but there is no evidence of a teacher quality crisis: When poverty is controlled, American students' scores on international tests are near the top of the world. Our overall scores are unspectacular because there are so many children living in poverty in the US, 23.1%, the second highest among economically advanced countries.



There is no evidence that our methods of teacher evaluation are lacking and no evidence that Gates' suggestions will help. Before rushing off to implement new multiple methods let's first ] determine how effective our current methods are, and how they can be improved.



What we do know is using only test-score gains (value added measures), is a disaster, producing highly unstable results. It shouldn't even be part of teacher evaluation.



The Common Core standards and the massive testing planned to enforce the standards are being imposed on American students despite the lack of evidence that they will work. Let̢۪s not do the same thing with teacher evaluation. We must take a more careful, rationale, and conservative approach.

Stephen Krashen


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