Media Advisory: Forum on teachers and making the grade

Contact: Kathleen Maclay
(510) 643-5651
kmaclay@berkeley.edu

ATTENTION: Reporters covering education, politics, demographics and minority issues, teachers’ unions

WHAT

“Grading the Teachers: Measures, Media and Policies,” a public forum at the University of California, Berkeley, featuring leading experts from education and from media and policy organizations who will weigh in on the heated national debate about the best methods available now – and on the horizon – for evaluating teacher performance.

The program is aimed at elevating the public debate on this issue, and at better preparing journalists to report on the complex and highly-charged fields of student testing and assessment, where statistical and measurement tools are sometimes confused, misinterpreted and politicized.

A recent Los Angeles Times’ series called “Grading the Teachers” evaluated 6,000 elementary teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District by using “value-added” measurements to link their performance with student test scores. The controversial series also relied on data largely ignored by the school district and challenged by some experts.

WHEN

1:30-4:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 27

WHERE

Banatao Auditorium of Sutardja Dai Hall, located on Hearst Avenue on the northeastern edge of UC Berkeley. A map of campus showing Sutardja Dai Hall and the Lower Hearst Parking Garage is at http://www.berkeley.edu/map/maps/AB45.html

WHO

Louis Freedberg, a senior reporter covering education for California Watch, will moderate.

Measurement panelists (from 1:40-2:30 p.m.) will include:
Eric Hanushek,
a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University whose work on efficiency, resource use and economic outcomes of schools has helped design education policy nationally and internationally
Mark Wilson, a UC Berkeley education professor who served on the Testing And Assessment Panel of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences that last year produced a report cautioning against relying heavily on test scores for decisions about pay, evaluation or tenure – even when using sophisticated “value-added” methods
Sophia Rabe-Hesketh, a UC Berkeley professor of educational statistics

The media panel (2:30-3:30 p.m.) will include:
Jason Felch,
a lead reporter for The Los Angeles Times series and a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism
Susan Rasky, a senior lecturer at UC Berkeley’s journalism school
Anthony Cody, a former middle school science and math teacher in Oakland, Calif., and a frequent blogger on educational assessment
Richard Rothstein, a research associate with the Economic Policy Institute, a former national education columnist for The New York Times and author of “Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right” (2008)

The policy panel (3:30-4:30 p.m.) will include:
Carol Liu,
a California state senator and a leader in Sacramento on educational policy issues
David Plank, executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education and the author of the forthcoming American Education Research Association’s “Handbook on Educational Policy Research”
Kyla Johnson-Trammell, principal of Sequoia Elementary School, which received a 2008 award from the Oakland Unified School District for recording the most test score gains for African American students, who at the time represented 40 percent of the school enrollment
Richard Rothstein (see above)
Eric Hanushek (see above)

DETAILS

The event will be video streamed live at mms://media.citris.berkeley.edu/broadcast.

Some panelists will be available to talk with reporters from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m. in Sutardja Dai Hall’s Room 307, near the Banatao Auditorium. Reporters are encouraged to R.S.V.P. to Kathleen Maclay in UC Berkeley Media Relations at (510) 643-5651 or kmaclay@berkeley.edu.

Sponsors include UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Journalism, School of Law and Goldman School of Public Policy, as well as Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), an independent, nonprofit research center based at UC Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Southern California.

More details, including panelist background, related reports and media coverage of the issue, are available on the Graduate School of Education website (http://gse.berkeley.edu/admin/events/gradingtheteachers.html).