It sounds like the KIPP unionization in New York City has gotten a little rocky, per this New York Times article, with teachers that elected to join the union saying they've since felt intimidated by administrators and haven't had the same access to them. Alexander Russo has an interesting response here in which he suggests that if this deal turns sour, it's as much a risk for the unions, who are trying to establish credibility in the charter movement, as for the school's administration and for KIPP, which risk coming off as anti-labor. What do you think?...


My apologies for not posting yesterday, but I return with exciting news to make up for it: A new guestblogger, Liana Heitin, will be helping me out on blogging duties and making sure that not a morsel of teacher-policy news falls through the cracks! Some of our readers will know Liana from her work at sister publication Teacher Magazine but she also brings some great on-the-ground experience, too: she was a Teach for America teacher in Phoenix before turning to edu-journalism. Why not take this opportunity to add Teacher Beat to your RSS feed so you won't miss any of ...


Mathematica has a big new report out using a rigorous, experimental design that shows that students taught by teachers who came through alternative routes in general did as well on reading and math standardized tests as those taught by traditionally certified teachers. The study also found no correlation between the number of hours of coursework and student achievement. One of the reasons this is a big deal is that most of the studies of alternative certification have focused on the "elite" programs like Teach For American and the New Teacher Project; this looks at a bunch of regular, state-run programs. ...


District of Columbia schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee turns in a must-read piece in the Washington Post, in which she tries to set the record straight: Broom aside, she's not focused on firing teachers. "I want to be clear about something: I do not blame teachers for the low-achievement levels. I have talked with too many teachers to believe this is their fault. I have watched them pour their energy into engaging every student. I know they are working furiously in a system that for many years has not appreciated them," Ms. Rhee writes. As part of the upcoming contract negotiations, ...


From guest blogger Sean Cavanagh A new Web site offers teachers the ability to look at the certification requirements, as well as the average salaries, of any in state in the county, with a few clicks of the mouse. It's called "CertificationMap.Com, and it's a creation of [email protected], the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, which delivered online. The "map" would allow a job-seeker, career-changer, or educator of any sort to examine any state's requirements on skill testing, subject-area competence testing, and prerequisite coursework. It also allows visitors ...


I'll be moderating an edweek.org chat on performance-based pay this coming Monday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m. We have a great panel lineup of one researcher, one district official/practitioner, and one union official. So join us, and come armed with questions....


One of the main sticking points about performance-pay programs is that less than a third of teachers, usually around 30%, teach grade 3-8 reading and math, the subjects and grade levels that are most frequently tested per No Child Left Behind. A performance-pay system, the argument goes, should be able to offer all teachers in a school at least some (if not all) opportunities to win performance bonuses. A new paper from the Center for Education Compensation Reform, a federally funded body that provides technical assistance to the the Teacher Incentive Fund grantees and disseminates resources on performance pay, attempts ...


The unequal distribution of effective teachers is cited as a major problem for the achievement gap, and also quite an entrenched one given that poor working conditions, seniority rules and other factors result in higher proportions of such teachers in low-income and minority schools. A little known provision in the NCLB law required states to have plans to address this situation. The U.S. Department of Education made a big stink about this in 2006. But the agency has been practically silent on the issue ever since, and its own monitoring reviews show that a lot of states aren't doing ...


Here's an interesting blurb out of North Dakota: the state is considering rolling back its requirements for substitute teachers due to a shortage. The state has some of the toughest requirements for substitute teachers out there, generally requiring them to hold a full teaching certificate and a full four-year college degree. Most states have pretty lax rules for substitutes, and the practice of putting long-term subs in classrooms and rotating them has been one of the ways states have gotten around the "highly qualified" rules in the NCLB law. North Dakota's proposal would allow Title I paraprofessionals with a 2-year ...


The Washington Teachers' Union and the American Federation of Teachers have submitted their counterproposal to District of Columbia Chancellor Michelle Rhee. There's probably a lot more in the actual proposal, which we apparently won't get to see anytime soon since that's a private matter between union and membership. But what stands out at least from this summary is the complete absence of the two-tiered pay proposal and any mention whatsoever of tenure. Though controversial, those ideas generated a lot of excitement about the contract, and they were apparently the reasons why private foundations were lining up with funding. Some of ...


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