Thursday, June 02, 2011

Unleashing the Disruptive Power of Data: An LA Story

RiShawn Biddle with a great article on how LA is using the recently released teacher value-added data to improve outcomes for kids:

If you want to understand why it is critical to use data for improving the quality of teaching and leadership in American public education, just consider Shirley Avenue Elementary in the Southern California suburb of Reseda.

…What status quo defenders should realize is that more-objective data (including other wide-ranging information) can actually improve the quality of education for all children. Besides tossing out laggard instructors, it can also help principals better-use the strengths of their teachers to help students succeed. It will also help break the antagonistic, 20th-century unionism-based model of employee-manager relations that has long dominated schools. By providing principals and teachers with objective performance data (and breaking with the use of less-than-objective evaluations), principals can actually manage teachers instead of simply hoping to move out lemons. It can also promote more-collaborative school environments in which teachers work together.

And for parents, Value-Added data gives them the ability to actually become consumers and lead decision-makers in education. They can use the data to spur overhauls of traditional schools and districts, or decide to use school choice options and send their kids to better-quality options. They can even shop within schools, sending their kids to the better teachers in the building — and signal to principals that change must come. Such parent power is critical to helping everyone — even good-to-great teachers who deserve better than to work with low-quality performers.

When a third of all fourth-graders nationwide are functionally illiterate and 150 high schoolers drop out into prison and poverty, there is no way we can ignore the disruptive potential power of data. It must be harnessed and used to improve the quality of education for every child no matter where they live. And it's high time to get going.


Unleashing the Disruptive Power of Data: An LA Story

May 13, 2011 No Comments by RiShawn Biddle

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