A Grand Bargain for Education Reform: New Rewards and Supports for New Accountability

Mickey Muldoon

Theodore Hershberg and Claire Robertson-Kraft, eds.
Harvard Education Press
August 2009

If education policy debates about merit pay and teacher salary schedules still feel like ideological trench warfare, this book is the WWI Mark I tank breakthrough for reform. Aggressively forward-thinking and stoutly teacher-focused, it spells out a cohesive reform framework for school personnel policies, covering the gamut of topics from compensation to professional development to effective use of diagnostic testing. Specifically, it focuses on school-directed and individual-directed based merit pay, value-added "growth testing," and promotion based on effectiveness and leadership, not seniority or degree-collecting. While none of these is a new development, the authors--including some of the self-same educators that have pioneered their usage--make them more digestible. It's doubtful there's anybody better to write a chapter entitled "Professional Unionism" than Brad Jupp, the veteran Denver teacher who negotiated on behalf of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association for the ProComp merit pay contract. Similarly, educators are far more likely to listen to former principal Joel Giffin--who describes creative value-added test data usage at his top-performing Tennessee school--than to the brains who generate tests and analyze their results from afar. And getting reacquainted with these ideas through veteran eyes is an experience any serious education reformer should have. Test ride the tank for a fee here.

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