Tim, this is a great retrospective. Really looking forward to Part 2!

The first footnote made me smile. As recently as 2022, I was onboarding new staff at TNTP and telling them to read Missed Opportunities and Unintended Consequences if they were going to do talent work. They’ve held up well, which is to say, change moves very slowly in the staffing world. Just subscribed and looking forward to reading more!

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This landed in my email box this morning. As a long time teacher (45 years, recently retired) in a highly respected school system, I found your assessment to be a combination of insightful comments and others that missed the mark. IMO, a huge part of the problem is the lack of professional development for principals and other administrators as to how to evaluate good teaching. I never received insightful information about my teaching from a formal evaluation, so I figured out a way to handle the process so it took up less of my time: I put together a run of the mill lesson that I knew would go well (the kids were paying attention and getting their work done), but lacked in creativity, spark, etc. I was a highly respected teacher in my school and district and confident in my skills, and frankly, the evaluation had no meaning for me. It was just another administrative function to get through - one of many. I gave this same advice to my younger colleagues because the process often left them completely demoralized.

Some of the people you quote as being reformers aren't well respected within the profession because they jump in with solutions and simply don't know enough. Bill Gates had his heart in the right place, but for probably the first time in his life, he was in over his head. Michelle Rhee was never considered a serious educator within the profession.

One thing I note from this article is a lack of input from educators. This is a problem in the profession. Input is gathered from everyone but the people who do the actual work.

I look forward to reading your future articles.

Jane Frantz

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Hi Jane.

The Widget Effect was drawn largely from surveys of 15,000 teachers.

But yes besides those 15,000 a lack of input from educators.

Well also the 1,300 administrators.

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I'm very glad to hear that. For what it's worth, one of the rising problems in education is the top down approach. Not only are educators never included in decision making, no one even talks to them. Teachers are professionals and are not treated ad such. The younger generation will not put up with the disrespect that I just lived with - they just leave, and there's no one to replace them. I am in the Boston area, and Lesley University is one of the main feeder graduate schools of education. It has had a 45% drop in their student population since 2019. Wheelock College, another feeder school, closed a number of years ago. This is what a crisis looks like.

Surveys are fine, but i suggest that if you want to get to the heart of the matter, (and I think you do. - I've been overall impressed with these articles), I'd suggest you take a sampling of the 15,000 teachers you surveyed to dig deeper into the problems plaguing public education. I don't know what methods you used with the admins, but if it was more than a survey, it is incumbent upon you to provide the same level of input for teachers.

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