Teachers and Education Politics

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Bill Gates and Eli Broad — mega-billionaires and business legends — are shouting now that America must fix its education system or fail in global competition.

The heat is on. No Child Left Behind only goes so far. Now, some Democrats are turning their eyes on teachers. It's time to weed out the bad and reward the good like never before, they say. Tenure is under the microscope. Sacred cows may be gored.

This hour On Point: the great debate on American education's next chapter, with billionaire Eli Broad, a top teachers' union, and a new call for extreme makeover in America's schools.

Quotes from the Show:

"Education reform is a futile exercise unless you have the right people in the classroom. ... The problem is we've been going about it the wrong way." Thomas Kane

"Whether teachers matter, the conventional wisdom is backed up by the evidence." Thomas Kane

"Having a top quartertile teacher versus a bottom quartertile means that a student moves up by 10 percentile points in one year." Thomas Kane

"We're not talking about doing away with tenure. What we're talking about is making tenure a serious hurdle." Thomas Kane

"I am in agreement that a lot can be done with the tenure process." Antonia Cortese

"We know we have a high dropout rate in our urban centers and we know we don't have enough qualified teachers to work in these urban centers." Antonia Cortese

"We're concerned with the fact that if we don't have a better educated workforce in America, our standard of living will go down." Eli Broad

"There is a strong correlation between parental income and SAT scores. So what we are really looking at here?" Listener from Hamilton, Mass.

"There should be annual reviews of teachers." Listener from Ames, Iowa


Thomas Kane, professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Education and co-author of the Brookings Institution study "Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job.";
Antonia Cortese, Executive Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers.;
Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home, and supporter of the ED in '08/ Strong American Schools campaign.;
Lori Nazareno, teacher and facilitator at Barnum Elementary School in Denver, CO

Art Bardige, president of Enablearning Inc. and author of the forthcoming book "New Physical Ideas are Here Needed: Revolutionizing Education".

This program aired on May 3, 2007.


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