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Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Paul and Nancy O'Neill Classroom
735 S. State Street
1230 Weill Hall
Ann ArborMI 48109-3091
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Value-Added with Multidimensional Teacher Ability
4:00 PM -  5:30 PM
Education Policy Initiative Seminar

We examine the theoretical and practical implications of ranking teachers according to a one dimensional value-added metric when teacher effectiveness is multi-dimensional. In particular, we consider the cases in which teachers teach multiple subjects or multiple student types. We outline the assumptions under which a standard value-added estimator correctly ranks teachers according to their social value. We demonstrate that these assumptions fail to hold empirically. This causes value-added based pairwise rankings of teachers to be often misleading, though the consequences of these ranking errors for students is small. We demonstrate that when teachers vary in ability across student types or subjects, student outcomes can be improved by matching teachers to students or subjects according to their comparative advantage. Our calibration suggests that these gains exceed those associated with firing the bottom 10 percent of teachers.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Teachers vs the Public? Mapping the Fault Lines in the Politics of American Education
4:00 PM -  5:30 PM
Education Policy Initiative Seminar

The EdNext-PEPG Survey, conducted annually since 2007, provides unparalleled evidence on the public's understanding of and support for a range of prominent education policy proposals. Americans' evaluations of the nation's public schools are at an all-time low, but they continue to assign high ratings to the schools in their local community. Citizens tend to have more accurate information about school performance than about spending levels, and providing them with accurate information about current spending reduces their support for spending increases. Pluralities of the public support a range of current reform proposals related to teacher tenure and compensation, school choice and test-based accountability, but many of these ideas have less support among public school teachers. The overall cleavage between teachers and nonteachers is larger than that between other relevant subgroups, including members of the Democratic and Republican parties.

Teachers vs. the Public? Mapping the Fault Lines in the Politics of American Education
4:00 PM -  5:30 PM
Presenter: Professor Martin West, Harvard University

This seminar provides a space for doctoral students and faculty from the School of Education, Ford School of Public Policy, and the Departments of Economics, Sociology, Statistics, and Political Science to discuss current research and receive feedback on works-in-progress. Discourse between these schools and departments will create a more complete community of education scholars, and will provide a networking opportunity for students enrolled in a variety of academic programs who share common research interests.