New research out of Tennessee documents the positive impacts of that state's voluntary pre-k program. Because more families want to participate in Tennessee's pre-k program than are able to be served in many districts, researchers were able to compare a sample of children who were randomly selected to participate in pre-k to a control group of those who were not. They found that children who participated in pre-k improved their vocabulary and comprehension skills over 100% more than children who did not participate. While gains from pre-k were greatest in early literacy, pre-k students also made greater gains in early ...


I've been increasingly struck, over the past few weeks, with how terribly our educational system treats the youngest and newest (not always the same thing) teachers. Consider the following: Due to seniority-based layoff policies, the youngest/newest 5-10% of teachers are essentially guaranteed to bear the full brunt of any layoffs, while their older colleagues are protected from them. We all know that teach pay is tied to years of experience, so novice teachers make less than their more veteran colleagues. But what's less well-known is that many teacher salary schedules backload salary bumps linked to compensation, so that teachers ...


For the past decade, the universal pre-k movement has worked diligently to increase the number of pre-k teachers who have bachelor's degrees. Pre-k advocates have urged the creation of state regulatory requirements mandating bachelor's degrees for teachers in state-funded pre-k, and they have supported investments in scholarships and support programs to help pre-k teachers complete bachelor's degree programs. These efforts have been hotly debated in early childhood circles, with some arguing that bachelor's degrees are essential to improve quality in the field and raise the status and wages of early childhood teachers, while others say that bachelor's degree mandates are ...


Per last week's post on layoffs by lottery, a correspondent sent me this example from Ann Arbor, Michigan: 4.813.3 Experience shall mean months, days and years of certificated employment in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. If two or more teachers have the same seniority and the Board must decide on laying off one of the teachers, the last four digits of the teachers social security number will be used as a tie breaker. The lower number will have the most seniority. Emphasis added. Srsly, people?!?!? Having grown up outside Ann Arbor, I am totally not shocked that people ...


Responding to Dana Goldstein's recent quasi-defense of "last in, first out" teacher layoff policies, Matt Yglesias writes : Note that since teacher compensation costs increase as a function of experience, LIFO is actually worse than the equally objective practice of firing teachers at random. LIFO maximizes layoffs relative to financial targets. Doing layoffs by lottery would allow districts to fire fewer teachers.But of course doing layoffs by lottery would be a pretty silly way to run an organization. [emphasis Sara's] The crazy thing here is that, while Yglesias is offering layoffs by lottery as a ridiculous example, the reality is ...


In a new paper published this week by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, I look at the common goals and challenges facing the charter school and pre-kindergarten movements, and describe how both movements could benefit from greater collaboration. The charter school and universal pre-k movements have been two of the most significant and compelling movements in public education over the past decade. Both have grown tremendously since 2000--charters from 580,000 students served to 1.5 million and state-funded pre-k from 700,000 to more than 1.2 million--and gains in public and political support and acceptance outstrip ...


Most Americans don't recognize the extent to which zoning or land use policies impact the shape of our lives today. That goes for education reformers, too. But education reformers should care about zoning laws, for at least 3 reasons: 1. They create barriers to expanding high-quality charter schools: Lack of access to suitable facilities continues to be a major obstacle to expanding high-quality charter schools. Zoning rules, which can limit the locations where charters can operate, play a role in this. Joe Williams wrote a great Ed Next article awhile ago that addressed some of the ways zoning laws are ...


You may (or may not) have had yesterday off for Washington's Birthday (Observed), which is more commonly known as President's Day. But today is George Washington's actual birthday....


But in honor of President's Day.... *Speaking of which, who here knows when Washington's actual birthday is (put your answer in the comments, and I'll confirm the correct answer tomorrow)?...


Mark Kleiman, who is an incredibly smart man, has a great line on education technology: And that, in turn, is why the discussions about "educational technology" always seem so bizarre to me. It's as if vaudeville promoters in 1920 were discussing whether they should start using loudspeakers or disco balls, rather than understanding that radio and the movies were making their whole business model obsolete. It reminds me of another comment I recently heard along the lines of, "Education is the only field where technological innovation drives costs up instead of down, because it's always added on top of what's ...


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