Speaking of charter schools:
I had a long lunch today at Copper Grill with Warwick Sabin, former Times colleague and Oxford American publisher; Jay P. Greene, the UA endowed professor of education reform, who also blogs; and Josh McGee, a doctoral student at UA, who also blogs here.
It was, as they say, a full and frank discussion. I think it's correct to say we agreed on the need for better teachers, accountability and high education standards. How we get there -- and impediments to these goals -- might be the subject of some further debate.
This was interesting if I remember correctly: Greene said he is not a supporter of "merit pay," in the generally understood term of annual bonuses for incremental changes in classroom test scores. He's got some ideas on pay, likely controversial, that merit some further examination sometime, such as addressing disincentives that currently exist for people willing to commit a few years to teaching in the form of forfeited deferred compensation. Among other topics, he's a bigger fan of virtual schools than I am. But it was time well spent.
PS -- A Fayetteville reader forwards a link to a Jay Greene 2008 paper in favor of "merit pay." I should have made clear that he remains a solid advocate of performance-based pay, though perhaps in forms different than those tried on some limited ways in Arkansas.