June 2010 Archives

UPDATED: Scholar Questions Induction Study Results

A scholar who studies induction programs expresses some reservations about the methodology used in a random-assignment study on comprehensive mentoring.

UPDATED: To Fund Edujobs Bill, Dems Would Cut Performance Pay

Politics K-12 has the potentially explosive news that House Democrats want to rescind money from several of the Obama administration's key reform programs, including the federal Teacher Incentive Fund, in order to help finance $10 billion to preserve education jobs. TIF supports local performance-based compensation systems for educators. Other programs they're eyeing include the Race to the Top Fund and a charter school innovation The important implication here is that congressional Dems, and especially David Obey, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, aren't on board with the direction Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are moving in education reform. ...

Intensive Induction Boosts Achievement, IES Study Says

That's the bottom line of this new study out from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. It's an important study because the experimental design allows us to conclude that it was the intensive, two-year structured mentoring that "treatment" teachers received—and not some other factor—that led to these boosts. But what's more striking is that this is the third-year report of an ongoing study, and neither of the first two years of study found any effect on student achievement. In fact, this year of study occurred after all the "treatment" schools no longer received...

Chicago's New Union Head Attacks Layoff Policy

Here's an important story from the Chicago Sun Times: The district has just approved a policy for laying off teachers that would dismiss tenured teachers rated "ineffective" before dipping into the ranks of higher-rated novices. Newly elected Chicago Teachers Union head, Karen Lewis, says the policy is illegal; the district has said that a provision in state law allows it to deviate from the seniority-based layoff system spelled out in the contract. As this Chicago Tribune story explains, the two parties disagree about whether the state or the contract holds the trump. In general, this is yet another example of ...

ProComp May Have Boosted Teacher Selection, Retention

Denver's ProComp pay program may have helped attract more-effective teachers to the district and boosted retention in hard-to-serve schools, according to a report on the much-discussed system released recently by the University of Colorado at Boulder. Teachers opting into the program also appear to be slightly more effective on the whole. The analysis was based on student and teacher data from eight school years, from 2001-02 through 2008-09. (ProComp began in 2005-06 , with opt-in periods for teachers in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.) Researchers compared each student's results with those of other students with similar achievement histories and traced the ...

Former Georgia Gov. Barnes Courts Unions in Comeback Bid

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes is seeking teachers' union support for a re-election bid.

Three New Pay Elements in Pittsburgh Teacher Pact

Pittsburgh's new teacher contract contains two performance-pay plans, in addition to an overhauled salary schedule.

Improvements, Challenges in Chicago's Teacher Evaluation System

Results from year one of a pilot teacher-evaluation system in Chicago show a much broader range of ratings under the new system than under the district's existing one, with at least 8 percent of pre-tenured teachers receiving at least one "unsatisfactory" rating, according to a new paper out from the Consortium on Chicago School Research. Although Chicago is not the only district putting a new teacher-evaluation system in place, it is certainly one of the few that's paying a lot of attention to implementation, studying it, and documenting the results. The system, based on Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching, was ...

Federal Teacher Legislation with Legs?

Yesterday's post on the as-yet-unseen Bennet teacher bill got me thinking a bit about what other pieces of teacher legislation could be candidates for inclusion in a revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act draft. Here are a few proposals that might have legs. • In what is, to my knowledge, the first actual bill to propose addressing the Title I comparability 'loophole,' Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., has introduced the ESEA Fiscal Fairness Act. One provision of note specifies that this change does not endorse or require the forced transfer of teachers, one of the concerns of teachers' unions. This bill...

Sen. Bennet's Mysterious Teacher Bill

Over at Politics K-12, Alyson Klein has a very interesting item up about Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who recently introduced a school-turnaround bill. While some folks are poring over that, though, here in the teacher-quality universe the question on the table is: What the heck happened to Bennet's teacher bill? For months, the senator was said to be working on a teacher-quality bill that would no doubt have generated a lot of attention, given his closeness to the current administration on education issues. As the former superintendent in Denver, he's also had a lot of experience working with teachers. For ...

Agreements Under Scrutiny, Again, in Race to Top

Michele "High Bar" McNeil has been doggedly following the latest Race to the Top news, this debate over "side deals" in some Florida districts. The big question is whether these side agreements essentially compromise the "buy in" of local district and unions who signed the state memorandum of understanding. More from Eduwonk here, and Sherman Dorn at his blog thinks we're all off in left field. Dorn makes some important points, explaining that some of the apparent redundancy in these local "side agreements" has to do with the fact that the scope of bargaining in Florida differs from that in ...

Group Commissioned to Examine Chicago TAP Results

The National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, which oversees the popular Teacher Advancement Program school-reform model, is commissioning its own study to figure out why its Chicago site had disappointing results, compared to some of its other sites, according to this release. Interactive, Inc., an Ashland, Va.-based education program evaluator, will try to determine which variables in Chicago might have led to the results, the NIET group said. The study is being hailed by some in the field as the death knell for performance pay, but that's probably a bit premature for a couple of reasons. As I noted ...

Oklahoma: The Stealth State for Teacher Reforms

After getting clobbered in the first round of the Race to the Top, Oklahoma has managed to pass some aggressive pieces of legislation in preparation for round two. Among them is a bill that makes major changes to the state's teacher evaluation and tenure systems. It's similar to legislation that passed Colorado, in that teachers who score at the "ineffective" level on the new instrument for two years running could be dismissed. The state also is poised to join the expanding group of states basing 50 percent or more of a teacher's evaluation on student academic progress. (Like many of ...

NYC To Eliminate Teacher Raises

Mayor Bloomberg's plan to save over 4,000 teacher jobs comes at a cost: the elimination of proposed raises.

D.C. Teacher Contract Nears Approval

District of Columbia teachers could approve the much-watched tentative agreement their union signed with Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee tomorrow.

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