If They Don’t Believe in Tracking Performance, Why Give Grades?

The Secretary of Education came through town the other day, touting the Obama administration’s competition for states to receive federal funds, and teachers aren’t too happy about it.

[Secretary] Duncan said the few states that win the competition—he wouldn’t say how many that could be—will have to show that they are innovative and that their creative efforts succeed in helping low-performing students succeed.

Among Duncan’s suggestions for California to have a chance in the competition was to track teachers’ performance and tie their pay to it. Predictably, Linda Plack, executive vice president of San Francisco’s teachers union, thinks the idea outrageous: “Gather data so you can decide who the good teachers are? Wrong!”

I wonder how they feel about their endorsement of Obama now?

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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