Teacher Opinion and Research Ignored in Ed Debate

How is it that education policymakers can profess to respect teachers while at the same time ignoring national teacher opinion polls and instead supporting policies like merit pay based on test scores, competitive grants, and the expansion of online learning and charter schools?

Writing on the Washington Post's "Answer Sheet" blog, Leonie Haimson, the executive director of Class Size Matters, calls out the political doublespeak in today's national education reform environment. Of particular concern to teachers is class size. With "rigorous evidence" from the Department of Education's own research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences, proving the link between higher academic achievement small class sizes, you would think policymakers would favor reforms that reduce class sizes.

So how would [Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan and the GOP prefer to spend our precious taxpayer funds instead? They would offer billions of dollars for charter schools, online learning, and merit pay linked to test scores, none of which are backed by research or appear on any list of proven strategies.

Additionally, the increased emphasis on competitive grants has meant less money for the general financial support for schools. And this comes on top of proposed revisions to NCLB that would cap the amount of federal funds districts can spend on retaining and training teachers in order to keep classes size down.

You can read Haimson's full blog post here.

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