The education secretary discussed ways to reward talent and encourage ineffective educators to move on.


Now THIS is interesting. Apparently, there's a big panel discussion on 21st-century skills going on today at the National Education Association's headquarters. NEA, one of the founding partners of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, is hosting. I heard about the event in a very roundabout way and sent a puzzled e-mail to a bunch of folks inquiring whether I could drop by and attend, since I've written about 21st-century skills in two recent stories. I was extended an invitation by one NEA official, only to have it rescinded minutes later by another. The panelists all appear to be supportive ...


From Guest Blogger Dakarai A. Aarons American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten will have a hand in shaping the 2012 presidential primary calendar. The union head was among those named to the new Democratic Change Commission by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. (Hat tip to POLITICO.com for first reporting the news.) The 37-member group is charged with recommending changes to the Democratic Party’s rules for the 2012 presidential nominating and delegate-selection process. The nominating calendar became a source of serious tension during the 2008 campaign, after Florida and Michigan defied party ...


Every Monday morning, our executive editor here at Ed Week puts up a copy of the paper from 25 years ago in the kitchen. Some stories now seem a bit frozen in time—you don't hear so much about asbestos fines nowadays—but others are eerily prescient. "Teaching: The Pressure for Change Is Mounting" screams a headline over two stories. One is about a National Education Association committee considering teacher career ladders. The other is about the sorry state of teacher evaluation, circa 1984. Some of the grafs could be written today. One of them reads: "The success of current...


Elizabeth Green has the scoop on the latest in the New York KIPP unionization at the Always Mentally Prepared campus in Brooklyn. At least one teacher there has pulled her support for the union. In the meantime, the staff of two other KIPP schools have sent in a petition to sever their contact with the United Federation of Teachers. Commentary from Rotherham here. UFT pres Randi Weingarten sounds a bit flustered in quotes posted on Alexander Russo's blog. She tries to draw a connection between the two events, blaming KIPP management for the move. "What is interesting is this move ...


From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin In an attempt to prevent dispersing more pink slips than necessary (as is the modus operandi in California, among other states), Arizona legislators are considering a bill that would push back the state deadline for sending layoff notices from April 15 to June 15. District officials in favor of House Bill 2630, which is expected to pass in the next few days, see it as a necessary move to avoid driving worried educators out of the state. The Arizona Education Association opposes the bill, stating that it would give laid-off teachers little time to find ...


I recently wrote a story on the staffing situation in Providence, R.I. The state commissioner, Peter McWalters, has directed district officials to override the collective bargaining agreement and to staff open positions through a criterion-based hiring process, rather than teachers' seniority perferences (see here for the story and here for some background). The head of the Providence Teachers Union, Steven Smith, wasn't able to comment at press time, but I got a chance to speak with him earlier this week. Not surprisingly, he's unimpressed by the directive. For instance, it ignores the turnover within the rank of school principals ...


From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin Last week, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board, facing an $87 million budget deficit, approved a plan that would lay off 456 teachers and 83 assistant principals, according to the Charlotte Observer. Heated that administrative contracts are not being slashed first, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators responded by organizing a rally and marching to the government offices with signs and banners. Superintendent Peter Gorman has emphasized that the plan is no more than a draft and that he is looking elsewhere to make cuts. Although stimulus money may help, he claims, the state budget looks less than ...


Dan Willingham offers an interesting conceptual analysis on how to improve teacher evaluation here. Essentially, he says that the diagnostic can go both ways, either by over- or under-identifying which teachers aren't performing up to snuff. Finding the appropriate balance is tricky, and the unions need to advance this conversation, he writes, but that's hard for them to do because of their role as teachers' protectors. The inimitable Andy Rotherham's take on it is here. Unions, he writes, "don’t want to use data to evaluate teachers and they don’t want to use managerial discretion. I guess that leaves ...


Last Friday, I had a nice catch-up with Dennis Van Roekel, the leader of the National Education Association. We talked about the NEA's discussions about joining a larger labor coalition with AFL-CIO and Change to Win, two labor umbrella organizations that themselves are thinking of reuniting after a nasty split. "Any discussion of where the labor movement will be in 10 to 15 years, I think NEA ought to be part of that discussion, as a 3.2 million-member organization," Van Roekel told me. He added that a couple of factors make this a good time to consider joining the ...


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