Teacher Beat is back in the house, and there were some important happenings in teacher policy last week. Here's a rundown of what caught my eye while I was on vacation—and a few thoughts for you to chew on. • Baltimore teachers rejected a contract that would have done away with traditional pay increases for longevity and master's degrees in favor of "achievement units" weighted heavily toward effectiveness in boosting student learning for earning raises. The interesting point here is that both the district and the union have already said they don't plan to make major changes to this structure...

Baltimore teachers said thanks, but no thanks, to a new contract that would have based their pay on student outcomes and professional development, instead of seniority and degrees.

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?

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