Some housekeeping items for you this Friday. First off, we've put together a new Spotlight publication on the topic of teacher evaluation. It has a collection of news stories, features, and Commentary pieces, exploring everything from research on effective teaching to evaluation standards to peer-assistance and -review programs run in partnership with teachers' unions. It can be all yours for the low price of $4.95. Secondly, we're thrilled to announce a new staffer over at sister publication Teacher magazine online, Liana Heitin. Liana should be a familiar face to fans of Teacher Beat: She's so great that while she ...

Protocols for observing teachers in the classroom during an evaluation should be written in such a way as to leave little room for inference so ratings are clear and objective, the New Teacher Project asserts in a new report.

In a development that could have implications for other school districts, the Los Angeles school board has agreed in a lawsuit settlement to curb its reliance on a strict seniority-based method for laying off teacherst.

Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina asserts that sexually active single women and gay men and women should be barred from teaching.

EdWeek's very own state-policy reporter has a must-read recent story and blog item on teachers' unions and their influence in state elections. As colleague Sean Cavanagh writes, the No. 1 issue on the table at the state level seems to be maintenance of general education spending levels, not the teacher-effectiveness reforms that are garnering all the headlines. Also, the unions appear to be paying a lot more attention to state races rather than congressional ones. A few additional thoughts. Those of us in the teacher-quality universe talk a lot about the populous union states, like California, Michigan and New Jersey. ...

Education professors continue to hold progressive beliefs, but also are warming up to changes like the Teach For America program and a tougher teacher-tenure bar, according to a national survey of teacher educators.

Postings have been a bit lean these days as I focus on a larger project about teachers' professional development. But my able colleagues have a lot of really important teacher news covered this week. Make sure to check them out. At Curriculum Matters, Erik Robelen reports on the Obama administration's goal of bringing 10,000 new teacher candidates into the profession to instruct in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, while Politics K-12's Alyson Klein writes about the U.S. Department of Education's larger teacher-recruitment initiative. Our new research reporter (and my longtime colleague) Sarah Sparks has really hit ...

What's the fallout from the recent ruling invalidating parts of the "highly qualified teacher" ruling?

The U.S. Education Department announces 62 winners of its Teacher Incentive Fund grants.

A rigorous experimental study of an incentive-pay program for teachers finds no effects on student achievement, an indication that teachers didn't change their practice in such a way as to cause student scores to rise. The study was explicitly designed to answer the question of whether monetary incentives alone can spur improvements to teaching. The answer, by this study at least, appears to be no. Read my full Education Week story for the details of the study, the findings, and how they fit within the body of experimental research on merit pay. But equally as important as the findings are ...

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