Tulsa superintendent off base with criticism of private education vendors
Tulsa schools Superintendent Keith Ballard's sales pitch for Tulsa's Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Observation and Evaluation System could use some work. The program, developed with grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is one of three options available to Oklahoma school districts for teacher evaluation.
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Ballard criticized competing programs as “commercial” models. Yet school districts using the Tulsa model still pay $594 per administrator for training, compared with $400 charged by a competitor. We suspect commercial competition is one reason other vendors are willing to charge up to 32 percent less for training.
As Ballard urges schools to spend money on a program, he criticizes funding for students in public charter schools and virtual schools. Surely it's better to spend tax dollars educating charter school students than on a locally developed teacher evaluation program.
Ballard accepted grant money from the Gates Foundation, which supports charter schools. That foundation's website notes that “the most important measure of success for our work with charter schools will be the number of students — especially low-income and minority students — served by high-performing charters and the degree to which successful charter schools influence the broader public educational system.”