Differences in which teachers get cut under a seniority-based layoff system compared with one based on teacher effectiveness are large and persistent, a new analysis of the New York City teaching corps finds. But unless the number of layoffs are considerable, the two approaches don't seem to differ all that much on how they affect class sizes, the analysis concludes. In general, critics of seniority-based policies say they require more teachers to be cut than under an effectiveness-based system, thereby raising class sizes. They also disproportionately affect low-income, high-minority schools that tend to have more novice teachers, such critics say. (If...


D.C.'s school chancellor moves to lay off more than 300 teachers, mostly for poor performance.


The NEA now supports a bill to close a fiscal "loophole" in the Title I program.


This year's union conventions have given us a lot to chew on, starting with their responses to teacher effectiveness issues.


Rumors were floating around for days that American Federation of Teachers officials would offer a resolution critical of the federal Race to the Top program, but such a resolution never made it to the convention floor. Some wonky background for you: An AFT affiliate did submit a Race to the Top resolution, but it wasn't considered because submitted resolutions are first handled by resolutions committees. Only three resolutions from each committee's list are put to the entire delegate assembly. The RTT resolution, I'm told, came up fourth. It will be referred to the union's executive council today, and then to ...


The American Federation of Teachers yesterday announced its next Innovation Fund grantees, and they'll be tackling everything from curricula to performance pay. I apologize for being a bit late to get you the news; yesterday was gangbusters at the AFT. Without further ado: • The Anchorage Council of Education, in Alaska, will help at-risk students earn diplomas by training "graduation coaches" in high schools. • The Boston Teachers Union will work to increase students' engagement in lessons by creating prototypes of high-quality instructional units that can be distributed online. • Education Austin, in Texas, will work with Austin Interfaith, a coalition...


Bill Gates, who really needs no introduction, gave an address to the American Federation of Teachers today. I got an opportunity to chat with Gates after the speech and will have more for you on that next week, but here's a rundown of the address. You can think of it as somewhat akin to AFT President Randi Weingarten's earlier one at this convention: very carefully balanced. Gates congratulated the union for committing to reforms in places like New Haven, Conn.; Hillsborough County, Fla.; and Pittsburgh, and thanked the AFT teachers participating in his foundation's "Measures of Effective Teaching" study. He ...


The American Federation of Teachers' delegates just passed two important resolutions, on teacher evaluation and school closures, so let's take each of them in turn. Resolution five, you may recall, codifies the AFT's evaluation framework and affirms that test scores, used appropriately and as one of several measures, can be considered in a teacher's evaluation. It was expected to generate quite a debate and possibly even amendment attempts, but in the end, it passed fairly swiftly. A whole slew of candidates, including the presidents of major affiliates, spoke in favor of the resolution: Mary Cathryn Ricker of St. Paul, Minn.; ...


This morning, two political bodies within the American Federation of Teachers presented their platforms for today's elections of AFT executive officers and council. That's right, I said two. Apparently, this is the first time since the 1970s that there has been a full slate of candidates opposing the incumbents. Keep reading. Current AFT Executive Vice President Lorretta Johnson spoke on the behalf of the incumbents, which include herself, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and Secretary-Treasurer Antonia Cortese. She underscored Weingarten's "vision" for moving the union forward, as well as her ability to fight back, and even call out allies: "I saw ...


It was always said of former American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker that he was a step or two out in front of some of his membership when calling for the union to change. (Think back to things like peer-assistance and review programs when they first came out.) Now, some members are asking the same question of AFT President Randi Weingarten, in what is becoming one of the subtexts of this year's convention. After all, Randi's balancing act is a tough one. Her desire to push the union's thinking on things like tenure and evaluation leaves her open to ...


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