March 5, 2015

Teach For America Evaluation, Reading Parters Pops, Charter School Debate, & Tom Kane Attacks!

By Bellwether

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Light posting this week, I’m traveling in the west. A few things I’m reading this week though:

MDRC evaluation of Reading Partners (pdf). Volunteer tutors exceed expectations. There might be implications here!

Mathematica evaluation of Teach For America (pdf). It’s being treated as though it’s groundbreaking but Mathematica’s Teach For America* evaluation is just the latest serious evaluation of Teach For America over the past decade to show that TFA teachers perform as well or better than other teachers (that includes, among other work, evaluations by states like TN and LA, think tanks like Urban Institute, research initiatives like CALDER, and other evaluations by, yes, Mathematica). If there is any news here it’s around scale and quality questions – an area where TFA has broken the traditional education mold.  Yes, it’s legit to argue that TFA’s theory of change/action is wrong for the education sector, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But the ongoing “debate” about effectiveness in assessed subjects/grades – abetted by a statistically illiterate and conflict addicted media – is a waste of time and energy.

Scott Pearson/Skip McKoy and Neerav Kingsland debate the all-charter district versus the blended charter/district approach.

Tom Kane proposes defunding the regional education labs to support more fast turnaround R & D evaluation.

*Bellwether recently did a project for Teach For America – evaluation of different dimensions of their growth. You can read it here.

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