In 2009, the New Teacher Project (TNTP)—a nonprofit organization that promotes effective teaching—released a report titled “The Widget Effect.” The report advocated reforms that would differentiate teacher effectiveness across multiple dimensions and then use that information in teacher development and staffing decisions. The Walton Family Foundation, which we represent, helped to fund the report. Soon after the release of “The Widget Effect,” in June 2009, US Secretary of...

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