This story seems to be generating a bit of pushback from a bunch of different sides. Some were confused by the overall thrust of the layoffs. To clarify: yes, the district appears to be prioritizing non-career (nontenured teachers), but since TFA teachers generally have fewer than four years, the amount of time it takes to become tenured in Charlotte, there are some three- to four-year teachers who most likely will be let go ahead of the TFAers. A couple of commentators wanted more details on the cost, number, and breakdown of teachers who will be laid off. I wish I ...


From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin Today marks the two-year anniversary of Michelle A. Rhee’s appointment as chancellor of the D.C. public schools by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Take a look back at Alexander Russo’s blog post from this day in 2007. At the time she stepped into the position, Rhee was characterized as an “outsider” because she was entering from the nonprofit sector (also because she was young, female, Korean American, and TFA-bred, but the nonprofit angle was easier to explain away). Today, many would say the characterization still rings true, but for a different reason: Rhee ...


Alyson Klein reports that Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin is one of the top candidates in the running as the ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee now that Howard "Buck" McKeon is headed over to the Armed Services Committee. It's an important pick, because whoever gets the nod will ultimately be one of the key negotiators on the next version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Here's one interesting factoid about Petri: He's been the leading House member pushing for congressional authorization of the Teacher Incentive Fund, the performance-pay program that the Obama administration wants to ...


From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin Less than two months after Arizona school districts issued 7,000 pinks slips, in compliance with state regulations to notify employees whose contracts were not being renewed, some teachers are reclaiming their jobs. Though the state budget has not yet been passed, school officials say the budget shortfall will likely be $2.5 million less than expected and that retirements and resignations have opened up positions. The superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, however, interprets the recalls differently: He claims that districts overestimated the budget deficit as a political move to prevent legislators from making ...


Not long ago, I did a story pointing out that some states have passed laws that basically prohibit the linking of student- and teacher-data systems. New York and California are the high-profile examples. Presumably, these data could inform a variety of different initiatives, both low- and high-stakes: performance-based pay, teacher evaluations, tenure decisions, professional development, and the determination of which teacher colleges produce the strongest graduates. Now, it looks as though dismantling these firewalls might be a prerequisite for qualifying for "Race to the Top" discretionary funds, reports my colleague Michele McNeil over at Campaign K-12. Education Secretary Arne Duncan ...


The New Teacher Project had a really interesting study out not long ago on teacher evaluation that found that pretty much all teachers get high ratings on local evaluation instruments. This is something of a portent for things to come, since one of the stimulus assurances will probably deal with this piece of data. See my write-up of the TNTP study for additional details and some feedback from teachers, union officials, and so forth. One interesting element in the report that I didn't include in my story has to do with where these records are kept. Of the 12 districts ...


Columbus has inked a new teacher contract with a pay program that's designed to move highly effective teachers into challenging schools, according to this story (hat tip to Emmy over at Flypaper.) After reviewing student growth data, a principal's recommendation and an application, the district superintendent will invite select teachers to work in hard-to-staff schools and receive a $4,000 annual pay bonus. The story says that the new contract also ties bonuses under a separate performance-pay initiative to the value-added data. I'm a little surprised to see that the local union approved this plan, since the pay raises it ...


The Obama administration just ran into its first major roadblock in its attempts to more than quadruple the $97 million Teacher Incentive Fund program: Soccer-mom-turned-Senator Patty Murray, of Washington.


How about that headline for alphabet soup? I've been getting a lot of mail on two recent blog items about the hiring of teachers in difficult times, and some of the concerns that unions have. Some of the comments are worth additional discussion, so I'm going to share them here. In this item, I asked someone to explain the logic of laying off veterans and hiring Teach For America types. A couple of people, including commentator "Chris" below, directed me to this story out of North Carolina. The story says that Superintendent Peter Gorman plans to cut about 400 teachers ...


Alabama teachers must be cheering. The Yellowhammer State is the latest to discard some of its norm-referenced testing, according to the Birmingham News. I wrote a longer story last month about this trend. Interestingly, though, I found that while states were starting to pare standardized tests that didn't count toward NCLB, districts seem to be hanging on to their "benchmark" tests—tests that they use to determine whether kids are on track to passing the end-of-year NCLB tests. Tell us what's happening with testing in your district. Are you seeing cuts or is testing being preserved?...


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