Lots of interesting teacher details in the Obama administration's newly released FY 2010 budget request. The biggest surprise here is a $517 million request for the Teacher Incentive Fund, which would give the program more than $700 million in all for next year if you include the stimulus funds. That's way more than the Bush administration was ever able to secure for the program. It looks like Obama is pretty serious about his calls for paying higher salaries to what he defines as excellent teachers. And the actual budget language contains a few additional tidbits. For one, it would expand ...


Ed Week is beginning a new service: Packages of articles, commentaries, and chats on some of the top issues in education. The first one is on the hot-button topic of teacher performance pay. For $4.95, you'll get seven articles and two commentaries that our staff who are most knowledgeable about the subject put together. There's a great variety of material included. You can read about the latest research on whether performance pay works; what teachers think a good plan should incorporate; and what features proved successful for the Teacher Incentive Fund grantees as they set up their programs....


Questions about teacher tenure and the removal of ineffective teachers in Los Angeles are heating up, following this weekend's Los Angeles Times story. The story found that removing ineffective teachers in California is lengthy and extraordinarily costly (upwards of six figures in some cases), and that much of the time, a panel reversed decisions to let go of teachers anyway. Most teachers were fired only for egregious conduct, the story found. Now, school board officials are renewing efforts to get state legislators to review the laws that govern teacher removal. They face some opposition from Sacramento, where lawmakers say such ...


Wow! There's no reason to watch "Lost" when you've got the D.C. contract situation, which is quickly becoming as byzantine and bizarre as the popular TV program. DCPS officials have detailed Washington Teachers' Union Vice President Saunders back to his school over some kind of paperwork snafus with the leave of absence union officials take when they work full time for the union. The rumors are flying fast and furious about who's to blame, with Saunders and others claiming that WTU President George Parker and D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee are both behind the transfer. Though you wouldn't know ...


Arne Duncan weighs in on unions and charter schools. From his speech at the Education Writers Association: "Twenty-six states cap the number of charters and 10 other states have no charters. The President has called on every state to lift charter caps. And where unions are behind these efforts to impede charters we should certainly call them out but we shouldn’t demonize unions or blame them for all of the problems in education."...


Brad Jupp, the senior academic adviser for the Denver Public Schools, will be heading to the department to serve as an adviser to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, according to this news story. In 2004, Jupp helped broker the ProComp differentiated-pay system in Denver while an employee of the local teachers' union, and he continued to help oversee the program when he moved to DPS. He'll be on loan from Denver during this time, the story says, and will be advising Duncan on teacher quality and teacher-effectiveness issues. I think this is a pretty good sign that the Obama administration is ...


The private-foundation contributions, in addition to the AFT's down payment of $1 million, bring the fund's total to $2.8 million. Funds are available for local affiliates to "incubate promising ideas to improve schools," AFT President Randi Weingarten said.


If you were a confident, highly effective educator, would you agree to take on a class size of 25 rather than 20, if you got a significant pay boost? How about 30 students? 35? That's basically the idea behind a new white paper released by the Phoenix, Ariz.-based Goldwater Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank. (The paper doesn't appear to be on the Web site just yet, but it should be soon.) Some of the ideas it raises you've probably heard before: Using "value-added" test-score growth as the basis of a merit-based pay system for teachers, with both schoolwide and ...


My colleague Sean Cavanagh has a great item up on Obama's speech at the National Academy of Sciences. Here's Obama on the idea of attracting science professionals into the classroom: “Let's create new pathways for experienced professionals to go into the classroom,” the president said. “There are, right now, chemists who could teach chemistry, physicists who could teach physics, statisticians who could teach mathematics. But we need to create a way to bring the expertise and the enthusiasm of these folks–-folks like you–into the classroom.” He could be referring to "career-changers" who decide to enter teaching full time. ...


From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin In outlining how schools should use stimulus aid, during a speech at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Friday, Secretary of Education Duncan emphasized extra pay for teachers who help with staff development and an extension of school time. "You can identify your best teachers and pay them to coach their colleagues who are having trouble," said Duncan, according to the Associated Press. But while standout teachers will organically emerge in any school, identifying and labeling “the best” becomes thorny when money is involved, as the never-ending debate over performance pay has ...


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