April 14, 2015

Hard Out Here For A Yogi! Chait On Property Tax Progressivism, Cunningham On Evals, Is Atlanta A Teachable Moment At All? Teachers And Private Equity!

By Bellwether

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Oh the pressure of living in Park Slope! You want to opt-out because it’s the thing but it sure is nice to know how your own kids are doing and make sure they don’t lose some edge….Elsewhere UNCF’s Michael Lomax is a no on opt-outs. I’m a yes!

Solid reminder from Jon Chait that this idea that neighborhood schools are profoundly democratic is actually a pretty illiberal idea.

Barry Ritholtz has more on this NYC pension fees issue – look at the recent CALPERS action he says.

Peter Cunningham, Lucy, Charlie Brown, and footballs. Just asking…when Vergara opponents are losing the “Peace and Freedom” party in California on the key Vergara issues it might signal it’s time to recalibrate?

Trying to make heads and tails of all the competing claims about the Cuomo budget deal and teacher evaluation? Sawchuk has a roundup.

Teachable moment? I’m not a big fan of prison sentences for first time non-violent crimes to begin with, there are creative ways people can serve sentences that are contributory, rehabilitative, and punitive as appropriate. We lock too many people up. But it’s interesting that those issues rarely come up in our punishment obsessed society except now when a group of educators are now staring down the barrel of a sentence for running a cheating racket on standardized tests. Maybe this is what it takes to get people talking about sentencing reform?

But, while I think there are better sentencing options here than prison I’m not in the same camp as critics of standardized testing are pleading for mercy for these educators and arguing they were victims of a system that just made them do it (I doubt they feel that way when, say, someone breaks into their car or mugs them because they need money). It’s a great example of everything looking like a nail to a hammer. The problem, here, with that argument in this case is that the cheating in Atlanta was not about accountability and testing per se – it was about financial bonuses and professional prestige tied to test scores. You can argue, of course, that even financial incentives corrupt so we shouldn’t have those policies either but then you quickly find yourself in a place with little practical applicability in our society. And people who will cheat on tests for money might cheat on attendance counts, school lunch counts, or the host of of other ways graft goes down in the public education industry.  Sentencing happening now, follow here.

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