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September 05, 2012

The Other Missing Piece in Teacher Evaluation: Look at the Child, Not Just the Teacher

One of the things that I find incredibly frustrating about the current discussion on teacher evaluation is that it's almost entirely focused on adults, rather than kids. Obviously, "putting adult interests ahead of kids" is a complaint you hear a lot in education reform conversations, and there's cl...

April 04, 2012

Teacher Prep Accountability Is Coming, and That's Important

If you haven't already, you should really, really read my fellow Ed Week blogger Stephen Sawchuck's exemplary coverage of what's happening with the negotiated rulemaking for HEA Title II, which addresses teacher preparation programs. Basically, the feds want to grade teacher prep programs on a mix o...

March 15, 2012

Higher Ed's Monopoly is Crumbling--Will Early Childhood Educators Benefit?

My friend and colleague Kevin Carey has a must-read piece in The New Republic this week about how a series of innovative initiatives are slowly beginning to chip away at traditional colleges and universities' monopoly on delivering postsecondary credentials--and the potential for "creative destructi...

March 05, 2012

Teachers as Owners

Eric Loomis writes approvingly about an Austin, Texas, microbrew pub that is operated on a co-op model, in which employees are co-owners with a vote in how the business is run. Loomis thinks this is a promising idea for improving status and wages for restaurant workers. Matt Yglesias is skeptical, n...

February 15, 2012

Can New Teacher Observational Tools Help Boost Students' Critical Thinking and Analytic Skills?

By now the recent MET study findings have been widely discussed, but my fellow Ed Week blogger--and must-read reporter on all things teacher--Steven Sawchuck makes a sharp observation, drawing from both MET and a recent study from Chicago: The growing body of information we have from rigorous observ...

October 18, 2011

Coaching & Credentials: Does it Have to Be Either/Or?

Ok, so I'm way behind in writing about this excellent recent Atul Gawande article on coaching. In the piece, Gawande makes the case that coaching--receiving individualized feedback and advice to improve one's performance from an objective, expert observer--is a powerful tool for improving performanc...

August 24, 2011

How to Grow a Great Early Childhood Workforce: Charter Colleges of Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, and is frequently promoted as a strategy for narrowing achievement gaps and improving children's educational and life outcomes. But achieving these outcomes is going to require improvements in the education and skills of the ad...

August 15, 2011

Improving on State Teacher Legislation: Idea #4: Don't Forget About Teachers Who Need Improvement

Under recently passed legislation, states are moving to adopt evaluation regimes that, in most cases, assign teachers one of four effectiveness ratings: Highly effective (or something like that) Effective (or something like that) Needs improvement (or something like that) Ineffective (or somethin...

August 12, 2011

Improving on State Teacher Legislation: Idea #3: Look Beyond LIFO

The perverse consequences of "Last in-first out" teacher layoffs have gotten a ton of attention over the last few months--and several states have recently passed legislation designed to end this practice. But it's important to understand that a focus on ending seniority based layoffs actually gets...

August 11, 2011

Improving on State Teacher Legislation: Idea #2: Ensure that no child has two consecutive ineffective teachers

Recently passed teacher effectiveness legislation--in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, and a number of other states--takes steps to link personnel decisions to teacher effectiveness, rather than seniority or other characteristics. That's often a positive step to put kids' interests f...

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