Colorado's tenure and evaluation-reform bill passed with most of the core details intact, making what are probably the most aggressive Race-to-the-Top-inspired teacher-quality policy changes to date. The law includes a requirement that teachers be deemed "effective" three years running to earn tenure and a provision that would cause teachers to revert to probationary status if they have two successive "ineffective" ratings. (An appeals process will be granted to such teachers.) Effective teaching will be defined by making student-achievement growth at least half of the evaluation. New York officials, in the meantime, have struck an agreement that would base 40 percent ...


As goes Colorado so goes the nation? Right on the heels of the news that the Centennial state's National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers affiliates are on different pages about tenure legislation in that state—which is seen as a key element of its Race to the Top bid—an analogous situation is developing in Maryland. The state is working on a plan to make student-achievement growth part of a new system of teacher evaluation. In its RTTT application, the state plans to make student growth 50 percent of the teacher rating, although test scores wouldn't be more ...


The term "job embedded" professional development is a big one in our field these days. It reflects the common-sense and increasingly influential idea that post-baccalaureate teacher training should be responsive to teachers' day to day practices in school and their own students' needs. The term has also shown up in a lot of recent legislation, including the economic-stimulus bill. Unfortunately, for journalists like me, it's also a clunky, jargon-y term that doesn't do a very good job of conveying what the practice actually consists of. Fortunately, the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, which is housed at Learning Point Associates; ...


Oh, snap! There's a bit of a disagreement between Colorado teachers' unions over the tenure bill making its way through the state legislature. Why? Because the state National Education Association affiliate won't support the bill but the state American Federation of Teachers, which is admittedly much smaller, has endorsed it. The AFT has decided to throw its weight behind the bill because of new amendments, expected to pass, that would: insert a due-process procedure for teachers that revert to probationary status after poor evaluations; maintain seniority as a tiebreaker when laying off "effective" teachers; include teacher input in placement decisions; ...


The popular Teach For America program is returning to Motor City, where 100 new graduates will apply for positions in the school's beleaguered public schools. This is a big deal for the organization, which hasn't had any placements there since 2003. Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, has been a supporter of the move. The teacher-training group put out a four-paged press release announcing the news, and everyone but your mother is quoted in it: Bobb, TFA founder Wendy Kopp, University of Michigan professor Deborah Ball, and Governor Jennifer Granholm all praise the move. Noticeably absent ...


Colorado lawmakers are debating a bill to make test scores count in teacher and principal evaluations and make it easier to dismiss ineffective educators.


The District's chief financial officer told the city council this morning he can't certify the contract as fiscally sound because the city hasn't been able to prove it can pay for the contract.


The National Council on Teacher Quality's big review of 67 Texas education schools is finally out. In what will no doubt drive headlines in the Lone Star State, the report says that eight large programs that prepare a significant number of teachers are in need of some serious attention. They are Lamar University, Midwestern State University, Our Lady of the Lake University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas Christian University, Texas Tech University, and Texas Woman's University. Lest you think NCTQ is all about criticism, the council also found four programs it deems worthy of commendation: Dallas Baptist University, Southern Methodist ...


Like sands through the hourglass! Here's the next installment in some of the top teacher dramas making their way through the newsfeed: • The Rhode Island Central Falls situation (your favorite noun here, I'm going to go with mess) is going to court, with the teachers' union alleging that the district didn't follow state law and local-bargaining provisions on terminations. • The District of Columbia's chief financial officer may not certify the tentative D.C. contract over concerns that the district has a shortfall and wouldn't be able to cover its share of the cost of teacher raises, and that the private...


Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., George LeMieux, R-Fla., and Sharrod Brown, D-Ohio, last week introduced a bill to overhaul the definition of "professional development" in the current ESEA. This may seem like peanuts compared with all the wrangling going on about school improvement and accountability, but considering that that definition is supposed to guide spending under Title I (disadvantaged students) and II (teacher quality) in the law, it's a potentially significant move. The new definition would be much more specific than the former one in spelling out that federally funded professional development must take place during the regular school day ...


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