Randi Weingarten is the President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). I talk to Randi about what we can learn from successful education models abroad, the increasing importance of teachers having robust global and cultural competence, and how the US can do a better job supporting its teachers.
The way we can find out what works is to compare schools or classrooms assigned to use any given program with those that continue current practices. Ideally, schools and classrooms are assigned at random to experimental or control groups. That's how we find out what works in medicine, agriculture, technology, and other areas.
Moving to a focus on evidence-based reform will not solve all of the contentious issues about accountability, but it could help us focus the reform conversation on how to move forward the top 95% of teachers and schools -- the ones who teach 95% of our kids -- and how to put accountability in proper proportion.
Last night, former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee stopped by The Daily Show to promote her memoir, "Radical." Host Jon Stewart's mother is a teacher, so he pressed Rhee on many of these policies, especially his (and teachers') dissatisfaction with the heavy emphasis on standardized tests.