As a former public school teacher, Professor Mark Paige uses his unique perspective to engage in education and policy research. His teaching background, along with his educational law background, allows him to investigate and scrutinize areas that he understands well. Paige has been a source for expert commentary on educational law and education policy issues. Media outlets like the
Los Angeles Times and the
Bloomberg Law have turned to him in response to the ongoing issue of teacher evaluations.
His most recent book,
Building a Better Teacher: Understanding Value-Added Models in the Law of Teacher Evaluation,
takes an in-depth look at the growing practice of using student test scores to measure teacher effectiveness.
"My hope is that we dial back the infatuation with the use of these evaluation models before we head off a cliff," Paige said. "If we rely too heavily on a flawed model we are going to be losing good teachers, and encouraging good teachers to choose only the highest test-performing schools to teach at."
Because of his research and expertise, Paige has
observed the damage that these evaluation models have on the education system. "We're seeing teachers leave the profession," Paige said. "The morale is low, and it affects the students." He argues that teacher evaluations are needed, but there are other ways to measure teacher effectiveness like collective bargaining or peer-review assisted models.
As a professor in the Department of Public Policy, Paige brings his research into the classroom, and he's able to broaden the lens on policy. He gives his students a legal lens, so they can make the connection between law and policy. "I want my students to ask questions," Paige said. "I want them to analyze policies that look nice and consider the consequences of that policy."