Advancing a Free Society

California in the Dark Ages

Monday, June 20, 2011

You’d think that California, the home of Silicon Valley, would be at the forefront of the movement to harness technology in boosting K-12 education. But nothing could be further from the truth. California remains in the dark ages. And under the bold leadership of Governor Jerry Brown, it seems intent on staying there.

Brown was heavily backed in the 2010 election by the powerful California Teachers Association, and, soon after his election, he tipped his hand by appointing a CTA lobbyist to the state school board. His most recent gift to the CTA: as the new state budget takes shape, he is refusing to approve funding for the state’s educational data system, which links data on students and teachers, generates a ton of information on performance and its possible determinants—and (gasp) makes it possible to evaluate how much learning is actually going on in each teacher’s classroom. Just what the CTA doesn’t want.

The CTA has long fought against this data system: first by opposing any linkage between student and teacher data, and then (when it eventually lost that battle) by opposing the use of such data, even as just one factor, in evaluating, paying, or possibly dismissing teachers.

Continue reading Terry Moe…

(photo credit: tropical.pete)