Over at Inside School Research, colleague Debra Viadero profiles a couple of must-read studies related to teachers.
One of them, by Marguerite Roza at the Center for Reinventing Public Education, suggests that it's well nigh impossible to keep class sizes the same, keep all teachers employed, and continue to give all teachers their contractual "step" raises in a budget downturn. Since most districts spend about 80 percent of their costs on personnel and fringe benefits, something's got to give, Roza argues. One solution is to trim teachers' salaries in order to keep all teachers employed.
In a second blog item, Debbie discusses some new findings related to "value added" models for judging the effectiveness of teachers. Since quite a few of the proposed criteria in the Race to the Top application nod in this direction, here's a way to learn about the latest caveats on these methodologies.