Just this morning, negotiators in Philadelphia reached agreement on the form of a new collective bargaining pact. The details aren't public yet as the agreement will go to the rank-and-file of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers for ratification on Thursday. But bank on some changes on the teacher-quality front, especially for compensation and evaluation. Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has clearly put teacher-quality issues at the top of her agenda, and some independent pressure groups have been focusing on the state of teacher evaluations there. It's possible that we'll also see some of AFT pres Randi Weingarten's "signature touches" in the contract. (See...


Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has announced plans to support legislation that would overhaul the statewide teacher-salary schedule and allow teachers to opt into one that determines pay partly on performance-based measures. States have tried to do statewide performance-pay before, but this example stands out because it sounds as though it would fundamentally restructure how the salary schedule operates. Teachers opting in would no longer get supplements for advanced degrees, which have only weak correlations to student performance. Instead, they would win additional compensation based on observations of teachers and growth of student performance to determine teacher effectiveness and base compensation ...


The Missouri State Teachers Association formally opposes the state's Race to the Top bid, per this press release. Aside from contending that teachers weren't appropriately consulted in the drafting of the plan, the union states forthrightly that it's not willing to support reform efforts that go against its internal policy resolutions, such as using test scores in decisions involving teachers. The Pennsylvania State Education Association, on the other hand, has said it's encouraging locals where the plan is a "good fit" to apply. Translation:"> the plan doesn't trump collective bargaining rights. But an FAQ from the state department of education ...


The worst thing about being a blogger is having to feed the beast every day. But the best thing is knowing that there's always space to follow up on a story that deserves more time, attention, or nuance than there is room in the paper. Such is the case today with Randi Weingarten's Big Speech, which is quickly becoming something of an annual tradition for the American Federation of Teachers. • A lot of the coverage in the general press focused on Weingarten's remarks about incorporating test scores into teacher evaluations. Perhaps this is just representative of the difference between writing...


Rhode Island, California and Tennessee are at different points of trying to negotiate their Race to the Top agendas with their teachers' unions.


The Los Angeles teachers' union spells out its views in an editorial.


Indiana's licensing board approved changes that will require teacher candidates to take more content-area coursework.


Some juicy tidbits for you this Friday morning: • The Arizona Education Association is threatening to sue over a state law that disallows seniority to be used in hiring and salary decisions, and would make it easier to remove ineffective teachers. • California's bill to position it for Race to the Top, which includes controversial provisions to allow students in poor-performing districts to transfer to other districts and a "parent trigger" to overhaul a school, passes the state Assembly. • Ohio seems eager to avoid union controversy in Race to the Top by making its teacher effectiveness system mandatory for promotion...


This week's edition of Education Week has a really interesting Commentary about improving education schools. The authors, Robert Maranto, Gary Ritter and Arthur Levine outline five "lessons learned" for education schools gleaned from the transformation of business schools after the 1950s into highly rigorous institutions. We're already seeing a lot of interest in upgrading the quality of student-teaching or "clinical fieldwork," as it's now being called. This Commentary talks a bit about the other key part of the education degree, coursework. It suggests reorganizing coursework around "rigorous academic disciplines with well- established quality," such as psychology, biology, statistics, and content ...


According to this press release from the Michigan Education Association, the state has extended the deadline for unions to sign the MOUs to commit to the Race to the Top program until Jan. 12. But the real meat is in this paragraph: "The parties also agreed to include language protecting collective bargaining rights in the standard MOU and to "grandfather" such language into MOUs that have already been signed." Sounds like unless it's careful, Michigan could end up with MOU language like Massachusetts' or Kansas', which basically let districts ignore whatever pieces of the reform plan they don't manage to ...


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