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February 15, 2011

Why Curricular Coherence Matters for Kids

@eduleadership In my recent post on curriculum-based assessments, I noted the value of having articulated, aligned curriculum with clear pacing guides: In the best-case scenario, rigorous state standards (and soon, national common core standards) are mapped closely onto a well-articulated, district...

February 04, 2011

Standardization & Professionalism in Teaching & Leadership

@eduleadership Reader Steve Peha emailed me today with a great response to my previous post that I will share (with his permission) in its entirety: Mr. Baeder, I enjoyed reading your piece today on curriculum. But something you said struck me in a rather visceral way and I wonder if you would c...

January 29, 2011

Washington Bill Would End Seniority-Based Layoffs

@eduleadership Washington state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Medina) has introduced a bill (full text PDF) to require school districts to conduct layoffs based on performance ratings over the previous two years. This would overturn the near-universal practice of laying off teachers with the least seniority i...

January 24, 2011

How Bad is Too Bad? 5% as the Emerging Consensus

@eduleadership This past week, Washington released its annual list of the lowest-performing 5% of schools, which are eligible for state School Improvement Grants. I'm not sure when or why 5% was chosen as the magic number of schools that are unacceptably low-performing, but that figure seems to ref...

January 20, 2011

Lake Wobegon and Defining the Problem in Teacher Quality

@eduleadership Teacher quality seems to be the top issue in education improvement these days. If only we had better teachers, the reasoning goes, we'd get better results for students. Great teachers can help close the achievement gap, and poor teachers (particularly because they are disproportionat...

January 17, 2011

On Being a Professional and an Employee

@eduleadership I believe that teaching is a profession, but that it differs from other white-collar professions in several important respects, not the least of which is the employer-employee relationship between districts and individual educators. If there is any doubt that educators are employees...

January 04, 2011

Collecting the Wrong Data: Fundamental Attribution Error in Teaching Quality

@eduleadership Is teaching quality the same as teacher quality? Kim Marshall recently pointed me to this excellent article by Mary M. Kennedy of Michigan State University, which makes a strong case for focusing more on the conditions of teacher practice than on stable teacher characteristics. As s...

January 03, 2011

When the Policy Hammer Falls

@eduleadership Why did Race to the Top scoring criteria mandate that teacher evaluations be based heavily (up to 50%) on student test scores? Why did states play along, passing scores of laws requiring just such a shift? Why are so many current education reform efforts focused on measuring teacher ...

December 27, 2010

South Korea Takes Dramatic Action with 1,056 "Unsatisfactory" Teachers

This brief story on how South Korea responds to unsatisfactory teachers caught my eye last week: The education ministry said today that more than 900 of them are required to take a 60-hour session aimed at improving their teaching skills while the rest will have to participate in a six-month trainin...

December 13, 2010

The Softer Side of Performance

Years ago, Sears had an ad campaign with the slogan "Come see the softer side of Sears," an apparent attempt to remind customers that they sell clothes and linens, and not just tools and electronics. When it comes to performance in public education, I think we need to undertake a similar campaign,...

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