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A Heads Up on Some New Studies on Teaching

You can find some good education research reading this week over at Teacher Beat, where my colleague Stephen Sawchuk has been digging into some studies on teacher layoffs and Teach for America.

In the study on teacher layoffs, four researchers—Donald Boyd and Hamilton Lankford at the University of Albany in New York; Susanna Loeb at Stanford University in California; and James Wyckoff at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville—plumb their database on New York City's teaching force to compare two different methods for laying off teachers to achieve a 5 percent reduction in teacher salary expenditures. Under one scenario, the layoffs would be determined by the usual seniority procedures. Under another, school officials would use value-added measures to fire the least-effective teachers first. Among their findings: The number of teachers laid off using value-added calculations would be 5 percent versus 7 percent for the seniority-based firing method. There's lots more details in Steve's blog entry, which was posted yesterday.

The Teach for America study looked at how the teaching assignments that TFA recruits get play a role in whether they decide to remain in their schools—or in the field—past their two-year commitments.

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