Rhode Island Commissioner Deborah Gist has instructed districts to work to eliminate hiring practices based on seniority provisions when the districts' collective bargaining agreements come up for renewal this year. (Hat Tip to Eduwonk.) She wants hiring to be based on performance-based criteria instead. So Teacher Beat asks the question: Is seniority poised to emerge as a major reform priority? We're seeing efforts to experiment with a lot of traditional structures that affect teacher quality, like compensation, professional development, and evaluation. And even though no one seems ready to chuck out tenure, the conversations around evaluation could make the tenure-granting ...


The American Federation of Teachers just stepped up its effort to shut down a teacher-recruiting company that it alleges bilked more than 200 teachers from the Philippines out of thousands of dollars in fees for placements in U.S. schools.


Like many of you, I just finished watching Education Secretary Arne Duncan's Teachers College speech. We'll have more reaction for you later, but just to make a general point, few new policy tidbits emerged, even during the Q & A. The genial, if always on-message Duncan didn't really say much we haven't heard before. About the third time he began answering a question with the line, "We have $10 billion in discretionary funds at our disposal," the audience started giggling. (You've got to hand it to Margaret Spellings. As EdSec, she was ever-quotable, with her talk of Ivory soap and big-girl ...


Education Secretary Arne Duncan doesn't appear poised to go easier on schools of education in remarks he's making this morning at Columbia University's Teachers College. As you may recall, his remarks earlier this month on the theme caught some flak from the teacher-ed community. News of this morning's speech has already hit the wires, and here are some advance remarks we've gotten from the Department of Education: "...by almost any standard, many, if not most, of the nation's 1,450 schools, colleges, and departments of education are doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the realities of the 21st-century ...


The New Haven, Ct. teacher contract has been approved! You will recall that earlier this month I was a little skeptical about all this talk of it being groundbreaking given that the details on it were scant. (Reminds me of that line in William Golding's The Princess Bride about labeling your own novel a classic.) Now that we have the details, let's take a look at what's what. First, by all accounts these negotiations were collaborative, and both parties are talking up the results. Here's the district's take: "The new contract transforms the role that teachers will play in our ...


An appeals court has deadlocked over the "unfunded mandate" lawsuit, filed by several school districts and the National Education Association, against the No Child Left Behind law. That means a lower court's decision backing the feds will stand. Mark Walsh has the scoop over on the School Law Blog. But for you Teacher-Beat-ers, the question is whether or not the NEA and related parties will seek to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. As a related aside, I do wonder about the future of the provision that caused all of this commotion. It was added ...


The NewSchools Venture Fund, an education "venture capitalist" effort, has put $1.2 million into the New Teacher Center, a California-based group that has taken the lead in supporting intensive teacher-induction programs. This must be good news for the NTC, which became an independent nonprofit organization in July—right before a report came out implying that intensive mentoring may not be all it's cracked up to be. NewSchools Venture Fund's other education-related investments include the New Teacher Project, Teach for America, and New Leaders for New Schools....


I checked in with the president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education today to get some feedback on what her members thought about Education Secretary Arne Duncan's speech on teacher colleges. Overall, she said, her members were disappointed in the tenor of the speech and hope for a more balanced address at the next, when he addresses educators at Teachers College, in New York City, on Oct. 22. "I think that in one sense, Arne used the [UVA] speech to review some of the perennial criticisms of teacher education. I'm hoping he'll use the speech at Teachers ...


Rhode Island announces that it will beef up the test it uses to admit candidates to schools of education.


Education Secretary Arne Duncan had some pretty tough words for teacher colleges at a speech he gave at the Curry School of Education, in Charlottesville, Va., on Friday: "In far too many universities, education schools are the neglected stepchild. Often they don't attract the best students or faculty. The programs are heavy on educational theory—and light on developing core area knowledge and clinical training under the supervision of master teachers. "Generally, not enough attention is paid to what works to boost student learning—and student-teachers are not trained in how to use data to improve their instruction and drive...


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