This morning I was perusing the comments that have been filed to date on the proposed guidelines on the Race to the Top grants, and was surprised to discover one from an administrator in Washoe County, Nev., who pointed to a section of the state code that appears to put it out of contention for RTTT funds. NRS 386.650 states that information in the state's longitudinal database ... "must be used for the purpose of improving the achievement of pupils and improving classroom instruction but must not be used for the purpose of evaluating an individual teacher or paraprofessional." I ...


The New York Times' Sam Dillon has a write-up of all the state action around changing laws in the hopes of qualifying for Race to the Top funds. There's not a whole lot of new news here if you've been reading this blog and Politics K-12. But buried near the end of the story is the tidbit that a key California state lawmaker is drafting legislative language to "clarify" the state's position on the linking of student and teacher data. Now, does that mean that officials are actively seeking to undo the state prohibitions on the use of the data? ...


From guest blogger Dakarai I. Aarons With the advent of technology, schools now have more data than ever available at their fingertips. That means everyone is jumping in enthusiastically to use it, right? Not so fast! In a brief released this morning by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the group says teachers are suffering from what some educators call the DRIP syndrome--data rich but information poor. The brief says "while student data is becoming more abundant, not enough teachers have access to training, support, and the structures needed to use data effectively." The Alliance's conference this morning on the topic ...


95 percent of core academic classes nationwide are taught by highly qualified teachers, Education Department data show.


This just in: The Providence Teachers' Union is suing to prevent Rhode Island officials from implementing a directive for schools to start implementing site-based hiring based on teacher-candidates' qualifications, not their seniority. Former state education Commissioner Peter McWalters made the order in the final months of his term. The lawsuit names new Commissioner Deborah Gist, Providence superintendent Thomas Brady, and school board head Robert Wise, The Associated Press reports. The district's collective-bargaining agreement requires staffing through the seniority process, which critics say leads to the mass "bumping" and displacement of teachers. PTU's lawsuit argues that the directive violates this agreement, ...


At first, I thought Mike Antonucci was reading a bit too far into this recent speech by David Sanchez, the president of the California Teachers' Association: "California law also doesn’t prohibit the use of student assessments in evaluating teachers, but if and how that is done is bargained at the local level. The CTA Board of Directors has already appointed a member and staff workgroup to guide our efforts throughout the reauthorization. CTA will also be making sure [the National Education Association] holds strong and does what’s right around [No Child Left Behind]." Antonucci sees this as pointed ...


The Education Department administers more than 50 programs that provide money to improve teacher quality, and many have never or rarely been evaluated.


Readers, It has been one year since the folks here at Education Week decided that it made sense to have a blog to cover the policy and politics of teachers. And what a year! It's been a huge learning experience for me. I've gotten some great reactions to it and "linky love" from bloggers whom I respect and obsessively read, like Gotham Schools' Elizabeth Green and Eduwonk, but also from teachers, administrators and union folks who write in and keep their own blogs. I appreciate hearing from all my readers, even those who have been critical of certain items (John ...


There was a bit of a mini-controversy in June when the New Teacher Project released its Widget Effect report. But it wasn't the report's overall thrust that did it. Pretty much everyone agreed that our current systems for evaluating and offering assistance to struggling teachers are crummy. The controversy was about the data on dismissals in one particular district: Toledo, Ohio. According to the district's personnel records, Toledo dismissed one tenured veteran and did not renew five novice teachers' contracts, the NTP reported. But what about the district's much-heralded Peer-Assistance and -Review model, a number of sources wrote me afterward. ...


As I travel and talk to teachers, they consistently tell me that one of their biggest frustrations is the testing under the No Child Left Behind Act. Such testing is largely dominated by multiple-choice questions, and teachers feel under pressure to "teach to the test" or prep students for these kinds of questions. As some of you know, in addition to covering teacher issues here at Education Week, I also track and write about the latest developments in student assessment. I just wrote a long story on researchers' ideas about how to improve assessment. The germ of this idea came ...


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