November 2012 Archives

Really important new CALDER study finds evidence that participation in Texas' state-funded pre-k program is associated with increased 3rd grade math and reading scores for participating youngsters, as well as reduced rates of grade retention and special education placement. This is a very important finding for several reasons: First, Texas enrolls more kids in pre-k--224,000--than any other state in the country, so this evidence indicates that a lot of kids are being helped. Second, this study should definitively put to bed the (mis)conception among a lot of K-12 education reform types that the evidence on pre-k effectiveness is ...


Two new reports tackle critical--and often overlooked--components of improving teacher effectiveness: Patrick McGuinn has a new paper out for the Center for American Progress looking at states' implementation of teacher evaluation legislation and policies. New Leaders has a new report on how great principals build teams of great teachers in their schools, by developing teachers, managing talent effectively, and creating good working conditions for teachers....


Yesterday, I shared some concerns about the Early Learning Challenge Round 2 "competition" currently underway. But, as I mentioned at the end of the post, my concerns around ELC Round 2 aren't just about this "competition, but also reflect deeper concerns about the extension of the Race to the Top brand--in both ELC and RTT-D--to programs that are in fact very different than the original Race to the Top. As I mentioned yesterday, the ELC Round 2 seems to operate with no expectation that applicants would have made progress on the goals in their applications over the past year. That's ...


Today is the extended deadline for districts in Hurricane Sandy-affected areas to submit their applications for the Race to the Top District competition. Race to the Top District is the big RTT competition this year, but let's not forget that there's another RTT "competition" going on at the same time--the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Competition, or what I like to think of as the "we feel bad that Illinois didn't win last time, and congressional Democrats really wanted us to allocate Race to the Top Funds to early childhood again this year competition." I'm putting "competition" in ...


I'm no defender of the "steps and lanes" systems currently used in virtually all U.S. public school districts--their myriad failings have been well-documented. That said, I'm not sure I'd agree with Mike McShane that the craziest thing here is that gym teachers get paid more than math teachers. I know that it's easy to pick on gym teachers; and I certainly had some who lived up the stereotypes. But I'm not sure we should blithely assume gym teachers should necessarily be paid less than math and science teachers. Presumably, schools employ gym teachers, and states and schools mandate that ...


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