Team R & R over at the Center for American Progress has a primer out on the Teacher Incentive Fund. Worth a look if you're not well versed in this federal performance-pay initiative, especially since the Teacher Incentive Fund is practically guaranteed to be one of the more hotly contested programs in the FY 2010 education budget....


In something of a nail-biter, the Connecticut legislature passed a bill in the waning days of a special session that will broaden some of the state's certification requirements. Like other states, Connecticut officials anticipate retirements in the near future and hope to attract more young teachers, as well as professionals seeking new careers. According to this editorial in support of the changes, there was quite a bit of back and forth on the bill. Among other items, the bill will expand the Teach For America program in the state, allow teachers of math and science to take content tests rather ...


The Washington community is abuzz about the chancellor's http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/18/AR2009061803844.html">latest move, which is to pare another 250 teachers from the city's teaching force. It's already engendered quite a bit of drama. Apparently, some forces within the Washington Teachers Union are seeking pro bono assistance to avert the layoffs. But one interesting thing here, it seems to me, is that these layoffs are not aimed just at veteran teachers. One of the rumors flying around last year during the contract drama accused Rhee of firing veterans to replace them with ...


I'll be hitting the road over the next three weeks to do some reporting out in my home state of California. For the first week, I'll be at the Council of Chief State School Officers' assessment conference, in Los Angeles. Look for some blog items on testing over at Curriculum Matters, in addition to posts here at Teacher Beat. I've even arranged for some guest-bloggers, so fear not: There will be plenty of juicy teacher-policy news for you. Now, with all this recent talk of the American Federation of Teachers and Randi Weingarten, you may be wondering what happened to ...


Five EdWeek reporters sat down with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten earlier this week over coffee for a wide-ranging conversation. I can't say there's any groundbreaking news to report as a result, but it was, nevertheless, a substantive conversation that yielded glimpses into Weingarten's thinking, especially on the Obama administration's recent moves. Overall, she said that she's optimistic that this administration will seek to work with teachers rather than imposing policy on them, a big break from the union's perception of things under George W. Bush. But, as always, these things come down to details, and there are ...


Our guest blogger Liana Heitin has been scooped up by another publication, so we must bid her a very sad farewell. I just want to thank her for all her posts on the blog, including this terrific scoop on the latest on New York City's absent-teacher reserve (ATR) pool....


From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin After instituting an out-system hiring freeze, forcing principals to hire from within the Absent Teacher Reserve pool, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein may now be disclosing that he’s less than optimistic about the candidates available for hire. I recently heard whisperings that the Department of Education has begun the process of assigning ATRs to school placements, where they will be put on rosters as permanent substitutes. Why isn’t the DOE waiting until the end of the summer to see if these teachers find jobs? Since the ATRs are not assuming ...


Here's a fascinating story out of Pennsylvania about a cyber-school whose teachers will be represented by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, a National Education Association affiliate. (The school also happens to be a charter school.) The contract that comes out of all this could be instructive. Will it set an evaluation procedure for teachers that work totally online? What will professional development for these teachers consist of? Will there be a salary structure and due-process for dismissals?...


Cleveland has devised an interesting idea for the stimulus funds with its teachers' union and, apparently, the blessing of Randi Weingarten, who heads up the parent union, the American Federation of Teachers. The district will avoid about 100 layoffs by paying veteran teachers' salaries for two years while they serve as substitute teachers and coaches. They must agree to retire after that to avoid the stimulus "cliff" once the two-year funding runs out. Weingarten approves, the story says, because it's a way of tapping into the expertise of those veterans before they retire. And surely it's better for students, and ...


I'm told there was a bit of pushback on the concept of "comparability" in Title I schools at a recent New America Foundation event. In short, Title I funds are supposed to provide additional services for disadvantaged students, so districts must ensure "comparability" of resources between their schools with low and high concentrations of poverty before the dollars flow. But the Elementary and Secondary Education Act basically lets districts exempt teachers' salaries from this calculation. And since seniority provisions allow higher-paid, more experienced teachers to transfer to wealthier schools, there can literally be a difference of tens of thousands of ...


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