The blogosphere is absolutely buzzing about the data-firewall issue in the Race to the Top Fund. The administration's position seems pretty clear, and certainly Duncan has been vocal about it over the last few days. But we're seeing stakeholders in the three states that this seems to apply to—New York, California and Wisconsin—offer arguments for why their laws aren't really firewalls and why they should be able to compete for the funds anyway. I fully realize not all of you may be as fascinated by the complete geekiness of this topic, so I'll give you the Cliffs' ...


The alternative-certification program makes plans to sustain itself as its federal funding sunsets.


Perhaps no one but Teach For America will care about this, but a district court last week threw out an appeal in the Renee v. Spellings lawsuit over the "highly qualified" teacher provisions in the No Child Left Behind Law. The law requires teachers to be fully certified to be deemed highly qualified, but the U.S. Department of Education's subsequent regulations allowed teachers in alternative-certification programs to be deemed highly qualified if they were making progress in their program and were on track to hold a teaching certificate within three years. A California group sued ED, lost the first ...


The Education Department's approach makes it clear that effectiveness, not qualifications, is the new standard.


See Michele McNeil's story here. There are tons of juicy teacher-policy elements in the proposed application criteria that need to be analyzed, so keep with us tomorrow right here at Teacher Beat as we pick through it all. In brief, the application contains implications for policies on teacher-preparation program accountability, on the equitable distribution of teachers, and on using test scores as part of the criteria for making pay, promotion, tenure and evaluation decisions. The teachers' unions were hesitant to comment without seeing all of the details, which will appear in tomorrow's Federal Register. We'll update you as we get ...


Detroit schools financial manager is requiring 2,600 teachers at 41 schools being reconstituted to re-apply for their jobs—and gave them less than a week to do so.


Teacher Beat is now on the Twitterverse @TeacherBeat...


There are times when you know a story is going to upset a lot of people, such as this one I wrote this week on the cost of paying teachers more for earning master's degrees in education. Read the comments for a taste of the reaction, which ranges from anger (i.e., "The studies that show this are bunk because they're based on test scores"), to defensiveness, (i.e., "I paid for this degree and it made me a better teacher"), to frustration, (i.e., "OK, if ED master's don't correlate to improved student achievement, what does?!"). And it's true ...


The Baltimore Sun has an important story up about a dispute over teachers' pay and working hours in one of its Knowledge Is Power Program charter schools. In essence, the story examines a conflict between local law and the KIPP culture. In Baltimore, teachers in charter schools must belong to the local collective-bargaining unit. KIPP teachers, though they made about 18 percent more than other teachers, were working enough hours that they were eligible for about 33 percent more than their peers under the terms of the district contract. Now, the Baltimore Teachers Union is demanding that the district pony ...


Some interesting staffing changes out there in the many Washington-based teacher organizations. Over at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which administers the National Board Certification program, former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise (now of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a high school reform organization) will serve as the chairman of the board of directors. According to the release, Wise supported bonus pay for teachers who earn the advanced credential from the National Board, so this appointment makes some sense given that states are scaling back on such bonuses as a result of the financial crisis. And at the ...


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