Last week, RAND issued its massive and mostly negative evaluation of the Gates Foundation’s ambitious effort to redesign teacher evaluation, compensation, and employment practices in three school districts and four charter school management organizations. The foundation’s Effective Teacher Initiative, launched with great fanfare a decade ago, was an ambitious, expensive reform.
The final verdict was harsh, with RAND concluding, “The initiative did not achieve its goals for student achievement or graduation, particularly for LIM [low income minority] students.” As the University of Arkansas’s Jay Greene noted, even that is probably too generous an assessment. Greene observed, “This summary really under-states what they found. You have to slog through the 587 pages of the report and 196 pages of the appendices to find that the results didn’t just fail to achieve goals, but generally were null to negative across a variety of outcomes.”
By 1971, Dow realizes that the controversies around MACOS could easily have been avoided. They had made choices in their materials that highlighted the challenges of Eskimo life graphically, but the gory details weren’t really necessary to the learning objectives. They simply hadn’t thought enough about their users, which included the teachers, administrators, parents, and state education departments.