This story by the Boston Herald brings up a lot of relevant issues about the structuring of incentive-pay programs. In essence, the program in question would give AP teachers bonuses based on the number of students who earn passing scores on the test. But the union thinks that all teachers should share in the payout. There is a lot of requisite finger-pointing on both sides, and the reporter refers to "union grinches." (Bet you didn't know that even journalists are getting into the Christmas spirit early, too.) One of the things that I hear a lot from my union sources ...

Federal legislation would expand a program that encourages ex-military officials to shift into the classroom.

You may remember that I moonlight as Education Week 's assessment reporter in addition to covering teacher issues. Right now, I'm in Boston covering the U.S. Department of Education's first public forum on the $350 million that it'll be putting toward consortia of states that create common assessments aligned to common reading and math standards. The panelists are having very rich conversations on everything from how to use technology to improve what cognitive skills can be measured to how to structure consortia that work together effectively (do you need an executive director?). Yesterday, though, much of the conversation focused ...

The final Race to the Top guidelines are here! There are some interesting new details on the effective-teacher policies. And of the four pillars or "assurances" in the economic-stimulus legislation, teacher effectiveness, it turns out, gets the most weight (28 percent) in the scoring process. Let's dig in. The first thing I noticed here is that it is not an absolute requirement that states gain teachers'-union approval of the state RTTT proposals. As colleague Michele McNeil writes in her story this morning, teachers' unions are just one of a number of stakeholders that states are supposed to get to sign ...

Some critics think Wisconsin's effort to tear down a data "firewall" is too timid.

I'm swamped again on some long-term stuff but my wonderful colleagues have some important teacher-related stories. • Read Lesli Maxwell's write-up of the Strategic Management of Human Capital report here. • Catherine Gewertz highlights the lack of research about high school instruction in this story. • And Debbie Viadero has a must-read item up about new research on a Texas performance-pay program. Second, the mail has been pouring in on this blog item about the SHMC report. (Reminder: I love getting direct mail from readers and I encourage you to send it. But don't forget that your thoughts get out to a lot ...

The Strategic Management of Human Capital initiative released a report today outlining new strategies for attracting, developing, and maintaining an effective teacher workforce, and in doing so, has managed to really tick off Randi Weingarten and the American Federation of Teachers. She calls the report "top down" and "disrespectful" of teachers and unions. UPDATED: Here is the link to the report. Among the recommendations, the report says states and districts should raise entry requirements for teacher preparation; institute a tiered licensure system requiring teachers to complete an induction program and demonstrate teaching effectiveness before receiving tenure; and overhaul professional development ...

Two recent news stories illustrate nicely two ways of looking at teacher preparation: an "output"-oriented view of teacher preparation that focuses on student achievement, and an input-oriented one that focuses on credentials and curriculum. Texas is looking to institute a state system for approving schools of education that puts a heavier focus on teacher effectiveness. It sounds very similar to Louisiana's system, which tracks graduates of teacher-training programs into their classrooms to gauge their ability to boost achievement. Indiana officials, on the other hand, are duking it out over proposed regulations that would allow for more alternate-route teaching programs, ...

The U.S. Secretary of Education underscored at a forum that teacher evaluations should be based on "multiple measures" that would include student achievement alongside other factors, such as peer evaluations.

A study financed by the Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation shows that students taught by Teach For America teachers in Los Angeles outperformed peers who were taught by other teachers—including veterans with many more years of experience.

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