With goals as significant as the Sustainable Development Goals, it is of the utmost importance to have plans for determining progress and success -- or lack thereof -- toward the desired ends. Strong evaluation plans allow organizations and other players to gauge if what they are doing works, and if not, what they need to do to course-correct.
The problem in education reform isn't a lack of good ideas. It's a lack of good ideas implemented with enough clarity, consistency and integrity to actually make a difference in rigorous experiments. A recent large-scale evaluation of Response to Intervention (RTI) illustrates this problem once again.
A friend of mine once told me that next to every truth stands a lie, that one person's ceiling is another's floor, and that to follow a truth is like walking a razor's edge -- it's easy to fall off in error. I find defining the difference between evaluation and judgment to be in this fine-line category.
Evidence junkies (like me) are reacting to the disappointing news on the evaluation of the Adolescent Behavioral Learning Experience (ABLE), a program implemented at Rikers Island to reduce recidivism among adolescent prisoners. Bottom line: The rigorous independent evaluation of the program failed to find any benefits.
Striving Readers was a serious, well-meaning attempt to solve a very important problem faced by far too many secondary students: difficulties with reading. But next time anyone thinks of doing something on that scale, I hope they will provide preference points in the application process for applicants who propose to use approaches with solid evidence of effectiveness.
Genuinely apologizing is one of the most magical healing, restorative gestures a person can make. Without the apology, there is no recognition or acknowledgement that mistakes have been made, there is no announcement that you intend to change, and most importantly, there is no emotional contract between you and the people you care about.