Freedom to Teach, Freedom to Learn: A Year at Mission Hill chapter 6

Teachers' Letters to Bill Gates

Chapter 6: Like a Family

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Dear Mr. Gates,

Microsoft’s “stack ranking” management practice has been in the news lately, most recently on Valerie Strauss’ blog The Answer Sheet (Microsoft’s lesson on what not to do with teachers, Washington Post, 8/26/13).

Strauss writes that this practice, which Microsoft employees have called “poisonous”, has shaped your education reform belief that teachers, too, should be rated and ranked in a similar fashion.  In New York City, for example, the new teacher evaluation plan called Advance sorts teachers into four different categories: ineffective, developing, effective, and highly effective.  Arguably, if you take into consideration the 20% local measure component, 40% of a teacher’s rating is tied to standardized test scores.

However, as we see in Strauss’ article, which cites both Will Oremus’ story on Slate.com and Kurt Eichenwald’s 2012 piece in Vanity Fair, Microsoft employees view “stack ranking” as “destructive” and divisive…

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