Indiana's licensing board approved changes that will require teacher candidates to take more content-area coursework.

Some juicy tidbits for you this Friday morning: • The Arizona Education Association is threatening to sue over a state law that disallows seniority to be used in hiring and salary decisions, and would make it easier to remove ineffective teachers. • California's bill to position it for Race to the Top, which includes controversial provisions to allow students in poor-performing districts to transfer to other districts and a "parent trigger" to overhaul a school, passes the state Assembly. • Ohio seems eager to avoid union controversy in Race to the Top by making its teacher effectiveness system mandatory for promotion...

This week's edition of Education Week has a really interesting Commentary about improving education schools. The authors, Robert Maranto, Gary Ritter and Arthur Levine outline five "lessons learned" for education schools gleaned from the transformation of business schools after the 1950s into highly rigorous institutions. We're already seeing a lot of interest in upgrading the quality of student-teaching or "clinical fieldwork," as it's now being called. This Commentary talks a bit about the other key part of the education degree, coursework. It suggests reorganizing coursework around "rigorous academic disciplines with well- established quality," such as psychology, biology, statistics, and content ...

According to this press release from the Michigan Education Association, the state has extended the deadline for unions to sign the MOUs to commit to the Race to the Top program until Jan. 12. But the real meat is in this paragraph: "The parties also agreed to include language protecting collective bargaining rights in the standard MOU and to "grandfather" such language into MOUs that have already been signed." Sounds like unless it's careful, Michigan could end up with MOU language like Massachusetts' or Kansas', which basically let districts ignore whatever pieces of the reform plan they don't manage to ...

The Race to the Top competition is becoming a test of just what is meant by labor-management collaboration.

Ultimately, details such as the quality of the feedback that teachers receive will probably determine whether they embrace the system.

I must apologize for my extended absence from blogging, thanks to a combination of delayed holiday travel and a sinus infection ('Tis the season to be, uh, jolly.) Fortunately, there's been a lot of interesting things going on out there on the Race to the Top. So we return to our regularly scheduled programming! At the end of last year, I did a couple of blog items on how state unions were responding to their respective state's Race to the Top applications. You can read a fuller version of what I wrote in those posts in this Education Week story. ...

Like half of Washington, D.C., I'm stuck at the airport waiting for a flight. Being the teacher-policy nerd that I am, here are a few items that have caught my attention as I've been scanning the news this morning. • The Detroit teacher contract was ratified by a 63 percent yea vote. Now everyone there can start dealing with all the other issues, like horrible scores on the NAEP and a new rubber room and the structure of performance-pay, peer-assistance, and peer-review programs. • Mathematica Policy Research has won a contract to evaluate the Teacher Incentive Program sites. (TIF, you'll...

• Apparently the contract under consideration in Detroit would create its own version of New York City's infamous "rubber rooms." • For an up-close look at the effects of central-office hiring processes, seniority provisions and working conditions, check out Emily Alpert's terrific three-part series in the Voice of San Diego. • Michele McNeil gives some Race to the Top application pointers over at Politics K-12. Finally, I'm heading back to Californ-eye-ay for some time with my family next week, so posting will probably be relatively light. Happy holidays from me and the Education Week team....

Florida's teachers' union will discourage affiliates from signing off on the state's Race to the Top plan.


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