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Year-End Roundup: The Teacher Beat Posts You Need to Read

As you round out the year, make sure you haven't missed the most popular stories that appeared on this news blog in 2015. This year, I've grouped them by theme, rather than giving you a strict list.

Here they are, with a bit of our trademark analysis.

1. A New ESEA: A Cheat Sheet on What the Deal Means for Teachers

2. ESEA-Rewrite Bill Includes Controversial Teacher-Prep Provisions

The newly signed Every Student Succeeds Act rounds out the most popular posts of the year. These two blog items take some the guesswork out of the more than 1,000-paged law, with explanations of its most important provisions relating to teachers.

3. Charlotte, N.C. Gave Principals Power Over Teacher Layoffs. What Happened?

6. Quality of Teacher Hires Improved During the Recession, Analysis Finds

These two blog items examine interesting studies looking at important aspects of the teaching profession: hiring and layoffs. (I'm always heartened, by the way, that really high-quality empirical research seems to attract a lot of readers.)

7. Is PD Behind Teacher Improvement? Maybe Not, Analysis Cautions

9. Better Teaching, Higher Salaries, and Lower Costs? Analysis Says It's Possible

These two items examined policy-focused analyses. The first, from TNTP, suggested yet again that we just don't know a ton about how to better scale and structure teacher professional development. The other, from the Edunomics lab at Georgetown University, suggests targeted class-size increases could benefit students and teachers.

4. Missing, Messy Teacher-Prep Data Stumps Even Federal Watchdog

5. Final Teacher-Prep Regulation May Reduce Testing Demands

Teacher preparation continues to be a topic of major interest to our readers. The pending federal rules stand to impact every teacher-preparation program in the country—although with the Obama administration's recent pullback on testing, they could look a bit different from earlier drafts. Meanwhile, you ask, what got the feds so interested in teacher prep, anyway? Just take a look at the other item, on a GAO report that outlines states' failures to meet their reporting responsibilities under the Higher Education Act. 

8. Resolution on Confederate Flag Sparks Controversy at NEA Assembly

This was a bit of an oddball item from the National Education Association's annual convention, much of which was dominated by antitesting sentiment. 

10.  States Set Varying Passing Bars on New Teaching Exam

This item serves as a good reminder of the ongoing tensions and policy pressures states face as they adopt and implement performance-based teaching exams.

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