The National Education Association plans to put $6 million over six years into "comprehensive strategies and policies to increase teacher effectiveness in high-needs schools." The funds will be focused on four strategies outlined in this paper, authored by Barnett Berry, the president of the Hillsborough, N.C.-based Center for Teaching Quality. Among Berry's major recommendations, states and districts should focus on comprehensive initiatives to lure teachers to hard-to-staff schools and ensure that they grow in effectiveness while there. In other words, don't just stick performance pay in alone and expect it to work. Berry puts it this way: "Pay ...


With all the chatter about common standards, I've been wondering how a set of agreed-upon standards would affect teachers and assessments, my primary coverage areas here at Ed Week. I wrote a little while ago about some possible implications for testing. But I'm really in the dark about what it will mean for teachers. So, teachers, tell us, what's it like to go through the process of having your state standards overhauled? Were you supported in helping to make sense of them? Were you given updated tools and curricula? And what do you make of the conversations around common standards? ...


You may have heard heard of districts that hire a good portion of teachers from foreign countries like India and the Philippines. Many of these teachers come seeking the opportunity to win higher salaries here than they could in their native countries, and many have proven to be successful teachers. The Baltimore Sun did quite an interesting story a few years back on the large influx of Filipino teachers to that metropolis. But there's a seedy side to this practice, too, and the American Federation of Teachers brings it to light in a deeply disturbing report on the practice of ...


The language in the draft Race to the Top guidelines is fairly vague on this point.


It isn't just the teachers' unions that are nervous about the draft guidelines for the Race to the Top. I've been making my way through the thousands of Race to the Top comments, and there are a handful from some academics who argue that there isn't a strong enough research base to support the use of "value added" data for decisions involving teachers. The inclusion of such measures in the Race to the Top guidelines appears to fly in the face of the Obama administration's promises to fund research-based approaches in the Race to the Top, these scholars contend. Helen ...


Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico get the National Council on Teacher Quality's green-eyeshade review of their teacher-preparation programs. The Washington-based group rates the programs on their degree of selectivity, exit standards, and how well they prepare teachers to teach reading and mathematics, according to principles laid out in two earlier reports. (Those reports, it should be noted, were a bit controversial in and of themselves. For example, the council asserted that reading pedagogy should align with the 2000 National Reading Panel report findings, better known as "scientifically based reading research.") NCTQ is mostly underwhelmed with what's going on in those ...


A teacher-run public school (take note: not a public charter school) is poised to open its doors in Boston this year as one of the few such schools in the nation. The school is run by two teacher-leaders rather than a single principal. According to a release from the Boston Teachers Union, the union agreed with the Boston school board to waive some contract provisions for "greater flexibility," although it doesn't specify what they are. A few other states, notably Minnesota, are also interested in a similar concept, per my earlier blog entry here. In that state's case, the schools ...


I checked in with officials at both teachers' unions to get their sense of the Obama back-to-school speech brouhaha. The National Education Association's director of education policy and practice, Kay Brilliant (who surely has the best surname in the field since Margaret Spellings), said the union supports the thrust of personal responsibility, persistence, goal-setting, and achievement the president will discuss. "I just find this whole thing amazingly curious," she told me. "I think we're disappointed that [the controversy] has taken on a political tone. We think this is an important issue, and as far as we can tell, it's a ...


There are some things that just make you go "huh?" According to this AP story, a whole bunch of teachers in Philadelphia are quitting or planning not to show up for their first week of school. More than 110 resigned this week; others have put in for long-term sick leave. District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman is not happy, calling the missing-in-action behavior "very unprofessional." Teachers' union President Jerry Jordan said that it's not unusual for teachers to choose among different job offers before school begins. Part of me thinks this must have something to do with Ackerman's intentions to overhaul hiring ...


With all this wrangling over teacher effectiveness and the best ways to measure it, you'd be forgiven for thinking we'd all moved on from old teacher wars (traditional vs. alternative certification, content vs. pedagogy) to the new ones. Well, think again. In Indiana, the state's professional-standards board advanced a plan to overhaul the state's licensing system. The proposal would require teachers to pass a basic-skills test before entering a preparation program and to take more content coursework. It also would allow mid-career professionals to become teachers and administrators by passing tests rather than completing programs. But it's caught a lot ...


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