The New York Post has the scoop that the city and the United Federation of Teachers plan to announce the closing of the infamous teacher reassignment centers, or "rubber rooms," for teachers accused of malfeasance and incompetence. Teachers will instead report to the central office to perform clerical duties and other assignments. The Post takes some of the credit for the agreement, but the real nail in the coffin may have been Steven Brill's highly critical piece in the New Yorker last year. No word yet on the future of that other pool of not-working-but-still-getting-paid teachers, the absent-teacher reserve pool. ...


So reports the Boston Globe and this Denver blog. Interesting politics going on here. Perhaps the American Federation of Teachers Massachussetts feels emboldened by the fact that the two winning RTTT applications both won support from teachers' unions. But on the other hand, it may cost them some political clout: The story quotes one of the legislature's education committee co-chairs, and a Democrat at that, as being very disappointed in the move. In the first round, Massachusetts had an unusual requirement that all districts get a union signature in order to participate. State leaders are rethinking that requirement this time ...


Teachers' pension plans are underfunded to the tune of an eye-popping $933 billion, according to an analysis released this morning by the Manhattan Institute and the Foundation for Educational Choice. That's close to three times more than official state government estimates of these defined-benefit plans' liabilities, the paper states. The authors attribute the gap to accounting rules for public pensions that permit actuaries to "discount" future obligations based on estimates of how the investments will fare over time. Unlike in private-sector plans, they aren't required to take into account how risky those investments are, and generally assume a strong stock ...


The Washington Teachers' Union and D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee have reached a tentative agreement on a new teachers' contract.


By now, I hope you've read my story wrapping up some of the action in Ohio, Delaware, Florida and Maryland to overhaul the system broadly known as tenure. The actual terms differ from place to place, but winning tenure generally means that teachers are granted due-process protections that require extensive documentation of poor performance before they can be dismissed. At the end of the story, I noted that it's unclear whether other states will follow their lead. As it turns out, just this week we've seen some additional movement in Colorado and Louisiana. In Colorado, state Sen. Michael Johnston, a ...


It's long been known that high-poverty, high-minority schools have higher rates of teacher turnover than other schools. But is turnover in such schools always a bad thing? In a new paper out from the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists Eric Hanushek and Steven Rivkin take on the issue and provide some fresh food for thought. The researchers looked at data from an urban district in Texas from 1995-96 and from 2000-2001 in grades 4 and 8, using a matched teacher-student data set. The district has a whopping 30 percent annual "exit rate" among new teachers and 18 percent among ...


The National Education Association last week presented members of Congress with an extensive packet of legislative recommendations for the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.


It's Central Falls all over again! Savannah, Ga., will remove all the teachers in a high school and hire back no more than half the staff, per the terms of the Obama administration's School Improvement Grants, the Atlanta Constitution reports. National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel is pretty worked up about it: "This is a disturbing trend that will take communities across this country down a dangerous road," he said in a statement. "NEA is committed to transforming our nation's struggling schools, but this method is short-sighted and could have disastrous outcomes for students." I'm beginning to think we're ...


The Hawaii board of education and state teachers' unions have come up with a plan to end that state's by-now infamous teacher furloughs. But Gov. Linda Lingle will reject the plan, according to this story, because of one major sticking point. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say 30 million of them, because that's how over-budget the union-board proposal is, Lingle asserts. Essentially, the union-board plan would bring back all school personnel rather than the bare-bones staff that Lingle is willing to fund. And the governor is not happy that educators have spent time crafting an alternative. "For ...


The Center on Reinventing Public Education has an important new analysis out on jobs data and the stimulus. The bottom line: Although K-12 employment dropped by about 1.4 percent from 2009 to 2010, the federal economic-stimulus law paid for about 342,000 jobs over that time period, or 5.5 percent of total K-12 employment. In other words, it appears that the legislation did, in fact, save a significant number of teachers' jobs. In all, the paper says, about 87,000 jobs were lost last year, in what is only the second decline ever in K-12 overall since 1993. ...


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