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July 27, 2012

New Ideas for Improving Teachers Instead of Firing Them

Ray Fisman, a professor of social enterprise at the Columbia Business School, points to recent research suggesting that—pace the heated rhetoric of some school reformers—'there may be perfectly viable ways to improve overall instruction in schools without firing low-performing teachers.

July 23, 2012

Grow-Your-Own Teacher Program Not Growing Very Many

In November, I wrote about a seminar at the left-leaning Center for American Progress where researchers and educators advocated for expanding local grow-your-own teachers programs to increase the numbers of minority teachers. Grow-your-own programs take local community members and help them become t...

July 11, 2012

Next Up in Teacher Evaluations: Student Surveys

The search for reliable methods of gauging teacher effectiveness, a dominant education policy issue over the last several years, has centered on classroom observation tools and value-added measures. But another potential indicator has emerged and is starting to pick up momentum: student surveys.

July 03, 2012

Overheard at NEA: Professional Respect, School-Funding, and Politics Are Top Priorities

While at the NEA convention today, I flagged down a few delegates from a sampling of states and asked the following: What should be NEA's main priority right now? The major theme at the convention so far has been the union's push to re-elect President Barack Obama. Do you agree this is where the org...

July 03, 2012

For Teachers, Why Does 'Moving Up' Mean 'Moving Out'?

Ariel Sacks recalls an interesting exchange from the day she went down to the district office to submit her materials for her very first teaching job: The middle-aged woman who processed my paperwork was friendly in that way only New Yorkers can be, and chatted me up a bit. When she gave me the th...

July 03, 2012

NEA 2012: It's All About Obama

Campaign rally or Representative Assembly? At some points yesterday it was hard to tell. The 8,000 or so delegates of the nation's largest teachers' union gathered in Washington for their annual convention heard one message above all others: Vote for Obama in November. Just outside the assembly ...

July 02, 2012

How Following Sports Can Improve Teacher Evaluation

Hunter Gehlbach, an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, says that, to truly improve teacher-evaluation systems, schools should take a lesson from professional sports teams. In evaluating player performance, he explains, NBA, NFL, and MLB coaches and person...

June 28, 2012

Report: Make Improving Teacher Working Conditions a Priority

To boost teacher retention and student achievement at high-poverty schools, states and districts must first look to improve working conditions for teachers, concludes a new report by The Education Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit group. The report profiles five school districts that have focused ...

June 27, 2012

Novel Teacher-Retention Idea: Let Them Leave (for a While, Anyway)

In a Huffington Post column, Boston teacher Lillie Marshall says that taking a year-long leave of absence after her fifth year in teaching gave her the "renewed vigor and resources" she needed to continue in the profession and, not coincidentally, made her a much better educator. She extrapolates: ...

June 19, 2012

TFA Grows to 10K

Teach for America announced today that, as of this fall, the group will have more than 10,000 first- and second-year corps members working in schools—the largest corps yet and a 10 percent increase over last year's total. The organization has also become the top employer for graduating seniors ...

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