The Washington Post

Missing from the 2012 MacArthur genius list

Genius award winner David Finkel (John Spaulding/AP (Courtesy of John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation))

What profession wasn’t on the list? If you picked a stringed-instrument bow maker, you are wrong.

But if you picked a public school teacher, you’ve got it right. There wasn’t a principal on it, either.

Just saying.

Interestingly, someone who did make the list is 33-year-old Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist who, the MacArthur Foundation said, studies how “policy decisions affect real-world behavior.”

Chetty, along with John Friedman of Harvard and Jonah Rockoff of Columbia University, studied the school records and income tax records of 2.5 million students in a major urban district over a 20-year period.

Their conclusion: Good teachers cause students to get higher test scores and that leads to higher lifetime earnings for students, fewer teen pregnancies, and higher college-going rates. That sounds good, but there were some problems with the study.

Here are two critiques that may interest you.

Problems with the big teacher evaluation study

Dear Michelle Rhee: About that teacher evaluation study

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.


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