The NEA president's keynote address is always the highlight of the first day of the National Education Association's Representative Assembly. This year's has got to have been a particularly difficult one to put together. A lot of delegates clearly have an ax to grind with Barack Obama, and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel needed to address that. After all, it's important to show your members that their dues are going toward something. But while it's easy enough to get delegates fired up against a Republican president, it's an order of magnitude riskier to do so when it involves a Democratic ...

Several new business items to be debated this afternoon by the National Education Association's Representative Assembly focus squarely on criticizing or opposing elements of the Obama administration's education agenda.

Teacher Beat will be in New Orleans for the National Education Association's annual Representative Assembly, then head to Seattle for the American Federation of Teachers' biennial convention.

The feisty president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, called this morning to give me an earful about the debate on Capitol Hill over the $10 billion edujobs fund. As my colleague Alyson Klein reported extensively yesterday, some of those dollars would be funded by offsetting appropriations for the Teacher Incentive Fund and the Race to the Top. Now, Weingarten is furious that the Department of Education wants to preserve those programs. "The department was all for saving jobs until it was their pet programs or pet projects that have to share in some of the pain," she ...

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

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. ...

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...

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 ...

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

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