Over at Inside School Research, colleague Debra Viadero profiles a couple of must-read studies related to teachers. One of them, by Marguerite Roza at the Center for Reinventing Public Education, suggests that it's well nigh impossible to keep class sizes the same, keep all teachers employed, and continue to give all teachers their contractual "step" raises in a budget downturn. Since most districts spend about 80 percent of their costs on personnel and fringe benefits, something's got to give, Roza argues. One solution is to trim teachers' salaries in order to keep all teachers employed. In a second blog item, ...


I've finally had a chance to go through this internal National Education Association review of several affiliates' alternative-compensation models (hat tip to Mike Antonucci). It's worth checking out, although you'll have to read between the lines for the good stuff. Or you can just use this Teacher Beat Cheat Sheet (like, wow!). Solidarity vs. Collegiality: Among the most interesting findings related to the Denver Pro-Comp model. Members felt that the program eroded solidarity by dividing membership between those that opted into the system and those that chose to remain on a regular salary schedule. Yet at the same time, they ...


There was some interesting movement on the Teacher Incentive Fund last week, when the Senate appropriations committee took up the Labor-HHS-Ed bill. The senators inserted some new language that was not in the 2006 appropriations bill that first created TIF, a federal initiative for seeding alternative-compensation systems. According to the new language, grantees must now demonstrate that the performance-pay systems "are developed with the input of teachers and school leaders." That seems like a bone thrown to the teachers' unions, and it also appears to have assuaged some legislators who were on the fence about the program (read Alyson Klein's ...


A Minnesota law will allow teachers to found, lead, and manage new schools in which they'll have significant say over curriculum, budgeting, staffing, and special programming, according to this story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The schools will be authorized by local school boards and will be staffed with unionized teachers, who will establish the governing structure itself. For instance, they won't necessarily have a principal: Teachers might decide to select a leadership team to run the schools. The article quotes an official from the Minneapolis teachers' union, which has been laying the groundwork for such schools there, as saying that ...


From guest blogger Dakarai I. Aarons: When an angry teacher confronted Chicago schools CEO Ron Huberman about a "secret" job fair the district was having today, he laughed it off and said every job fair was public. "I can dispel the rumor,'' schools CEO Ron Huberman told the giggling crowd. "There are no secret teacher fairs. Any teacher fairs are public. Everyone is invited, and they are advertised.'' Turned out the joke was on Huberman. Those invited, who included Teach For America teachers and members of the district's teaching fellows program, were told not to share the information ...


The city's absent-teacher reserve pool has grown since April.


It's probably the oldest narrative in our field: A program or intervention works really well in one site. Then a district tries to implement it across multiple schools and it just ... doesn't seem to take root. Whether you term this problem a lack of fidelity of implementation, a failure to integrate reform into school culture, or my personal favorite, "scaling up is hard to do," it's particularly a problem with professional development. The research on PD suggests that teachers do benefit from school-based approaches, such as professional-learning communities, rather than workshops and the like. This type of professional development identifies ...


The blogosphere is absolutely buzzing about the data-firewall issue in the Race to the Top Fund. The administration's position seems pretty clear, and certainly Duncan has been vocal about it over the last few days. But we're seeing stakeholders in the three states that this seems to apply to—New York, California and Wisconsin—offer arguments for why their laws aren't really firewalls and why they should be able to compete for the funds anyway. I fully realize not all of you may be as fascinated by the complete geekiness of this topic, so I'll give you the Cliffs' ...


The alternative-certification program makes plans to sustain itself as its federal funding sunsets.


Perhaps no one but Teach For America will care about this, but a district court last week threw out an appeal in the Renee v. Spellings lawsuit over the "highly qualified" teacher provisions in the No Child Left Behind Law. The law requires teachers to be fully certified to be deemed highly qualified, but the U.S. Department of Education's subsequent regulations allowed teachers in alternative-certification programs to be deemed highly qualified if they were making progress in their program and were on track to hold a teaching certificate within three years. A California group sued ED, lost the first ...


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