Introducing the Reform-Inator!


Introducing the Coolest New Gadget of the Year – just in time for last-day shopping! The Reform-inator!

  1. Can be used to instantly fire and/or de-tenurize teachers. However, in order to use the reform-inator for these purposes you must line up 100 teachers including all of the good, bad and average ones. The reforminator is a bit touchy… and misfires quite frequently … hitting an average teacher instead of a truly bad one about 35% of the time, and hitting a good teacher instead of a truly bad one about 20% of the time. But what the heck… go for it. Thin the herd. Probabilities are in your favor, if only marginally. And besides, there will be plenty more teachers willing to step up and face the firing line next year.
  2. Can be used to instantly replicate (or new reformy term: scalify, or scalification) only the upper half of charter schools, because we all know that the upper half of charter schools are … well… better than average ones, and well… good charters are good… and bad ones bad (but no need to talk about those, just as there’s no need to talk about the good traditional public schools)… so we really want to replicate and expand only those good charters (primarily by reduced regulation, increased numbers of authorizers and reduced oversight requirements, even though the track record to date hasn’t really shown that to be easily accomplished).
  3. Can be used to take anything that is presently about 7% smaller than it was in the past, and make it disappear entirely – GONE… ALL GONE… just like all of the money for public schools. It’s not just recessed – temporarily diminished – It’s just gone. Vanished. Time to shut it all down! No more sweetheart deals (especially in those really crazy overspending states like Arizona and Utah)!
  4. Can instantly make value-added estimates of teacher effectiveness the “true” measure of teacher effectiveness, and further, can make value-added estimates of teacher effectiveness a stronger predictor of themselves… which of course, are the true measure of effectiveness (stronger than a weak to moderate correlation, that is). Use the special self-validation trigger for this particular effect. Also works for low self-esteem.
  5. Can be used to locate Superman (‘cuz I sure can’t find him in these scatterplots of NYC charter school performance compared to traditional public schools, or these from Jersey either).
  6. Will eliminate entirely anything that might be labeled as Status Quo! Because we all know that if it’s status quo – it’s got to go (or at the very least, the first reformy role of logic: “anything is better than the status quo”)
  7. Most importantly, like any good REFORMY tool, it’s got a Trigger!

Other ideas?

Published by schoolfinance101

Bruce Baker is an Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. From 1997 to 2008 he was a professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. He is lead author with Preston Green (Penn State University) and Craig Richards (Teachers College, Columbia University) of Financing Education Systems, a graduate level textbook on school finance policy published by Merrill/Prentice-Hall. Professor Baker has written a multitude of peer reviewed research articles on state school finance policy, teacher labor markets, school leadership labor markets and higher education finance and policy. His recent work has focused on measuring cost variations associated with schooling contexts and student population characteristics, including ways to better design state school finance policies and local district allocation formulas (including Weighted Student Funding) for better meeting the needs of students. Baker, along with Preston Green of Penn State University are co-authors of the chapter on Conceptions of Equity in the recently released Handbook of Research Education Finance and Policy, and co-authors of the chapter on the Politics of Education Finance in the Handbook of Education Politics and Policy and co-authors of the chapter on School Finance in the Handbook of Education Policy of the American Educational Research Association. Professor Baker has also consulted for state legislatures, boards of education and other organizations on education policy and school finance issues and has testified in state school finance litigation in Kansas, Missouri and Arizona. He is a member of the Think Tank Review Panel, a group of academic researchers who conduct technical reviews of publicly released think tank reports on education policy issues.

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