Great Lakes Center Logo

Worth A Read

A weekly selection of thought-provoking research and commentary focused on education reform.

View All

Building a better school board
Bridge Magazine - Ted Roelofs

Ted Roelofs discusses the difficulties encountered by school board members in Michigan. “The job description is not exactly enticing: Crummy or non-existent pay. Long meetings. And the prospect of fights over anything from school closings, to sex education, to the resignation of a basketball coach.”

Far from top ten in education, Michigan is falling further behind the rest of the nation
The Education Trust-Midwest

Education Trust-Midwest released a new report, ‘Michigan’s Talent Crisis: The Economic Case for Rebuilding Michigan’s Broken Public Education System,’ on Thursday. “In addition to providing a comprehensive report on the status of public education in Michigan, the new report outlines specific next steps for Michigan to systemically improve its K-12 education system based on strategies proven [sic] to work in leading states across the country.”

The 'Intolerable' Fight Over School Money
National Public Radio - Morning Edition - Cory Turner

Cory Turner, NPREd, discusses ongoing negotiations and tensions stemming from school funding changes under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Study: To Close the Achievement Gap, Close the Resource Gap
Education Testing Service - Tom Ewing

The Education Testing Service (ETS) released a new report this week. The report, 'Mind the Gap: 20 Years of Progress and Retrenchment in School Funding, Staffing Resources & Achievement Gaps,' was written by Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University and Danielle Farrie and David G. Sciarra of the Education Law Center (ELC) of New Jersey. “Using over twenty years of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data on revenue and expenditures for schools, the authors explore the relationship between substantive and sustained school finance reforms and improved student outcomes. They focus on income inequality — specifically child poverty — for evaluating gaps in those educational resources and outcomes.”

Detroit schools' decline and teacher sickout reflect bad economy and demographic shifts
Los Angeles Times - Joy Resmovits

Joy Resmovits discusses the impact of recent teacher sickouts for the Detroit Public School System (DPS). “The distrust and financial insecurity that exploded this month followed years of buildup — a mounting deficit, dramatically declining enrollment and management by one state-appointed official after another. The problems paralleled Detroit's overall downturn as it lost population and jobs as industry declined.”

Teachers Are Increasingly Frustrated With Their Work, And That's Bad For Students
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant digs into a recent survey of classroom teachers. He writes: “The reality is teachers’ work conditions are inextricably connected to their ability to engage in quality instruction and to develop cultivating relationships with students. Teachers know this, but people in charge won’t until they start listening to them.”

The problem that school choice has not solved
The Washington Post - Emma Brown

Emma Brown shares a new analysis of New York City’s high school graduation rates. “Researchers found that — a decade after the city adopted a universal school choice policy for high school students — a child’s likelihood of graduating on time remains tightly linked to the poverty rate, household income and adult educational attainment in that child’s neighborhood.”

Teachers Value Planning Time, Collaboration with Colleagues, Survey Finds
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min shares findings from a survey from the Center on Education Policy (CEP). Key findings include: “[1] The teaching field is getting more complex and demanding; [2] Teachers do not feel their voices are being heard in state and national policies; [3] Teachers are maintaining autonomy in their classrooms, despite concerns; and [4] Use of time and class size matter to teachers.” (This is the same survey reported in Jeff Bryant’s blog, also Worth A Read).

Suburban Schools: The Unrecognized Frontier in Public Education
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Sean Gill, Jordan Posamentier, & Paul Hill

The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) released a recent report, which reviewed the trends of changing student populations in suburban public school systems. “While some might argue that suburbs have been lucky to avoid battles over education policy, teacher strikes, and state interventions, many suburbs are economically distressed and not well equipped to handle the new challenges associated with disadvantaged students.”

What do teachers do when they leave teaching?
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Dick Startz

Dick Startz shares data from the Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS) to answer the following questions: “[1] When teachers leave teaching, where do they go next? [2] Are they getting good jobs outside of education? [3] Or are subsequent jobs more of a lateral move? Or [4] do teachers who quit teaching also quit working?”

The Difference Between Educational Equality, Equity, and Justice... and Why It Matters
American Journal of Education - AJE Forum - Joseph Levitan

Joseph Levitan discusses the differences between educational equality, equity, and a just education. “Although they are seemingly similar terms, the concepts of equality, equity, and justice orient thinking about policy in different and important ways.”

Money, Race and Success: How Your School District Compares
New York Times - Motoko Rich, Amanda Cox, & Matthew Bloch

Motoko Rich, Amanda Cox, & Matthew Bloch address educational inequalities across the U.S. Their reporting comes from a new study from the Stanford Education Data Archive. “The study, by Sean F. Reardon, Demetra Kalogrides and Kenneth Shores of Stanford, also reveals large academic gaps in places like Atlanta, which has a high level of segregation in the public schools.”

Achievement Gaps and Racial Segregation: Research Finds an Insidious Cycle
Inside School Research - Education Week - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks summarizes recent findings of a new study that provides a “massive new database that allows researchers to compare school districts across state lines.” According to Sparks, the study data “has led to the unwelcome finding that racial achievement gaps yawn in nearly every district in the country — and the districts with the most resources in place to serve all students frequently have the worst inequities.” This is the same study reported in the NY Times (also Worth A Read).

How school districts sell funding projects across Michigan
Bridge Magazine - Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson reports on school bond issues across Michigan. He interviews district leaders on communicating with the public regarding bond issues. Detailed bond passage rates and local analyses are provided.

Charter Schools And Longer Term Student Outcomes
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo reflects on a recent article from the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. The article is part of an analysis of charter high schools, but this study focuses on the longer term outcomes of charters:  college persistence and labor market earnings. “It’s also clear that research on the longer term effects of charter school attendance (and other policy interventions as well) are important not only for their value in assessing the impact of these policies, but also for the potential they have to shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of common outcomes that we use for the purposes of such evaluation.”

Teacher Pay Decay
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene shares the findings of a documentary from WRAL in North Carolina, which looked at the state of pay in that state. “The WRAL story is of interest to everyone because in the process of whipping up an interactive graphic based on National Center for Education Statistics, they came up with a map that shows how every state has fared over the past decade-and-a-half.”

What Frustrates This Educator about Rick Hess
Cloaking Inequity - Nicole Mirra

Nicole Mirra reacts to recent comments from Rick Hess, who poked fun at paper titles presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). “It sounds to me like Hess has his own privileged assumptions about what ‘real’ research is.”

Should Reformers Support Education Savings Accounts?
Education Next - Matthew Ladner & Nelson Smith

Matthew Ladner and Nelson Smith discuss Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), or neo-vouchers, which allow parents to spend state money on approved educational expenses (including private schooling). Ladner argues that ESAs are a better option to charter schooling. Smith counters that ESAs pose a substantial risk to the charter school movement.

Summary of research on the association between state interventions in chronically low-performing schools and student achievement
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) - REL Central

This report from REL Central presents a summary of research on the associations between state interventions in chronically low-performing schools and student achievement. The majority of the research focused on one type of state intervention: working with a turnaround partner. Although researchers sought to include research on a variety of state intervention types, few studies were identified that examined other types of interventions such as school closure, charter conversion, and school redesign.

Why the charter school debate has moved beyond 'better' or 'worse'
The Conversation U.S. - Joshua Cowen

Joshua Cowen looks into the research on charter schools, searching for an answer to the question: are charter schools good or bad? “So, it’s time to move the debate away from ‘are charters good or bad for kids’ and to a more careful consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of the charter approach in many different places.”

State education agencies and researchers as partners in improving student outcomes
Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Carla Howe

Carla Howe looks at the need for state education agencies (SEAs) to partner with external researchers. “Ultimately, both SEAs and researchers stand to benefit from successful partnerships, and not just through increasing the number of publications by researchers or having evidence-based results available for SEAs to put to use for decision-making about student learning—though these are two very compelling reasons.”

Changing The Narrative: Leveraging Education Policy To Address Segregation
Shanker Blog - Jennifer Jellison Holme & Kara S. Finnigan

Jennifer Jellison Holme & Kara S. Finnigan share a set of strategies, based on their research, to address racial and economic segregation. “Taken together, the tools we have outlined can help the educational system move away from a decades long focus on the symptoms of educational failure, and address one of the key roots of the problem. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Financing Personalized Learning: What Can We Learn From First-Generation Adopters?
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Larry Miller, Betheny Gross, Tricia Maas, Jose Hernandez, Alton Lu, Robin Lake

The Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) released a paper looking at the costs associated with implementing personalized instruction in schools. “The findings from this study suggest that those interested in implementing and supporting these models need to think hard about how to use scarce public and private dollars to their greatest effect so that personalized learning can achieve its promise.”

The Teacher Hazing Ritual
Education Next - Robert Pondiscio

Robert Pondiscio discusses teacher preparation, struggling schools, and teacher turnover. “We assume struggling schools are filled with untalented or tenured layabouts. Far more often, these teachers are good people trying their best and failing. And they fail not in spite of their training, but because of it.”

Virtual Charter Schools Perform Worse Than District Schools, Report Says
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the results of a recent virtual school report produced by the National Education Policy Center. The report, part of an annual review of virtual and blended learning options, found that despite the lackluster academic performance, virtual schools continue to grow. This report was funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

How the Community School Model Transformed a Texas School
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long writes about Walter P. Webb Middle School in Austin, Texas. Web MS is a community school, "A community school is designed to tap into that social capital to better serve the entire community … Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone—all day, every day, evenings and weekends."

Want To Teach In Urban Schools? Get To Know The Neighborhood
NPR Ed - All Things Considered - Michel Martin

Chris Emdin, Teachers College, Columbia University, speaks with NPR’s Michel Martin about his new book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … And the Rest of Y'All Too. Emdin was recently honored by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) with an early career award.

What is the Conceptual Use of Research, and Why is it Important?
William T. Grant Foundation - Caitlin Farrell & Cynthia Coburn

Caitlin Farrell & Cynthia Coburn reflect on recent interviews with school leaders in a major urban school district. "The conceptual use of research is a potentially powerful way to inform policy. When used conceptually, research serves to introduce new ideas, help people identify problems and appropriate solutions in new ways, and provide new frameworks to guide thinking and action."

The Social Side of Education: How Social Aspects of Schools & School Systems Shape Teaching & Learning

The Shanker Institute hosted an event last week on the social side of education. The event sought to "shine a light on these issues by foregrounding recent evidence demonstrating that social aspects of schools and school systems deeply influence school improvement." The event was live streamed and recorded.

Fewer poor students are being enrolled in state universities. Here's why
The Conversation - Robert Kelchen & Luke J. Stedrak

Robert Kelchen and Luke J. Stedrak write about evidence of university systems reducing access for low-income students at public colleges. They recommend: "States should consider placing provisions in both their enrollment-based and performance-based funding systems to encourage colleges to continuing [sic] to enroll an economically diverse student body."

Testing time at schools: Is there a better way?
CNN - Kelly Wallace

Kelly Wallace, CNN, discusses the growing debate among parents, teachers, and policymakers, whether children should be subjected to lengthy exams in language arts and math. This article and accompanying video discuss several alternatives to high-stakes testing.

A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education
Teachers College Record - Michael Mindzak

Michael Mindzak, Western University, reviews a recent book by Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter. According to Mindzak, the authors "explore the fundamental paradox concerning what went wrong with charter schools over the past two decades. The authors problematize charter schools and the key issues that have plagued them since their inception by diving straight into these struggles. Important considerations for the charter school movement emerge from this analysis, along with examples of successful charters with records of empowering educators and contributing to positive student learning. Educator and policymaker challenges are presented to spark a new direction for charter schools to become the schools they were originally envisioned to be."

Professor Critical of National Education Group's Report on Teacher Preparation
University of Arkansas - Heidi S. Stambuck

Heidi Stambuck shares information about a recent academic review completed of a NCTQ report. The review was co-written by Chris Goering, University of Arkansas, and P.L. Thomas, Furman University. Note: The GLC contributes to the Think Twice think tank review project, which produced the review.

Common Core's major political challenges for the remainder of 2016
Brown Center Chalkboard - Bookings - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless elaborates on the Common Core’s political future, and "discuss[es] four key challenges that CCSS will face between now and the end of the year": (1) impending TIMSS & PISA trends; (2) teacher support; (3) possible efforts to change NAEP; and (4) the growing Opt-out movement.

More Ohio Charter Fakery
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene reacts to a recent story in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch on the Akron Digital Academy (a virtual charter school in Ohio). The story indicates that state regulators inflated attendance reports and possibly overpaid state aid. Greene concludes: "Add to this the research showing that cyber charters are bad, so very very bad, that even the biggest defenders and fans of the charter industry will no longer stand up for them and one wonders why any state allows them to operate at all outside of very strict and specific strictures. The need to clamp down on cyber charters should be obvious even in a state like Ohio, no matter how many invisible students they serve."

Reading Recovery: An Evaluation of the Four-Year i3 Scale-Up
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - Henry May, Philip Sirinides, Abigail Gray, & Heather Goldsworthy

CPRE released its evaluation of one of the most ambitious and well-documented expansions of a U.S. instructional curriculum: the Investing in Innovation (i3) scale-up of Reading Recovery, a literacy intervention for struggling first graders. "The study included an in-depth analysis of program implementation. Key findings focus on the contextual factors of the school and teachers that support the program’s success and the components of instructional strength in Reading Recovery."

Michael Kirst: California students better prepared for college
San Jose Mercury News - Opinion - Michael Kirst

Michael Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, discusses positive trends in California high schools. "California's colleges and universities are reporting unprecedented numbers of top-notch students applying. This is a signal that students recognize the stronger preparation now required for college and careers. But considerable work remains among educators to ensure access and equity are priorities statewide."

The Changing Face of Teacher Preparation
Michigan State University - College of Education

The Education Policy Center at Michigan State University is hosting 'The Changing Face of Teacher Preparation: Aspirations, Designs and Evidence,' a one-day conference on teacher preparation. The conference will bring together some of the nation's top researchers and leaders of various types of programs.

The Power of the Network: Teach For America's Impact on the Deregulation of Teacher Education
Educational Policy - Kerry Kretchmar, Beth Sondel, & Joseph J. Ferrare

Kerry Kretchmar, Beth Sondel, & Joseph J. Ferrare illustrate the relationships between Teach For America (TFA) and the deregulation of university-based teacher education programs. "We use policy network analysis to create a visual representation of TFA’s connections to individuals, organizations, and private corporations who are working to shift the way teachers are prepared."

Hiring Non-Certified Teachers No Way to Address Teacher Shortage, Say Experts
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reports on a recent poll of California voters and a report released in January by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). The poll indicates that voters in California are concerned with the state’s looming teacher shortage, while the report from LPI showed the number of underprepared teachers in California is climbing.

How Can White Teachers Do Better by Urban Kids of Color?
Colorlines - Christopher Emdin

Colorlines, a daily news site published by Race Forward, shares an excerpt of Chris Emdin’s newest book, "For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education." In this excerpt Emdin explains how White teachers in urban schools can overcome their class and race privilege and truly connect with their students.

No, great schools can't close achievement gaps all by themselves
The Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner

Kevin Welner shares a new infographic from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) and the Schott Foundation.  Welner unveiled the infographic at a White House summit on education policy. The infographic is based on the policy recommendations drawn from a recent book, 'Closing the Opportunity Gap' by Welner and Prudence Carter (Stanford), as well as a policy brief by Jennifer King Rice (University of Maryland). Note: Rice produced the policy brief for NEPC with funding from the GLC.

Teacher-Evaluation Shifts: Georgia to Scale Back Testing Component
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk
Stephen Sawchuk relays news of Georgia’s decision to reduce the weight placed on student achievement growth for teacher evaluation. "Under the bill, which has passed both the state House and Senate, tests would count for only 30 percent of each teacher's annual review."
Charter Schools Suspend Black and Disabled Students More, Study Says
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich shares the findings of a new report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA. "Black students are four times as likely to be suspended from charter schools as white students, according to a new analysis of federal education data. And students with disabilities, the study found, are suspended two to three times the rate of nondisabled students in charter schools."

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card (5th Ed.)
Education Law Center - Bruce Baker, Danielle Farrie, Theresa Luhm, and David G. Sciarra

Bruce Baker, Danielle Farrie, Theresa Luhm, and David G. Sciarra share the latest results of the Education Law Center’s school funding report card. "The National Report Card (NRC) evaluates and compares the extent to which state finance systems ensure equality of educational opportunity for all children, regardless of background, family income, place of residence, or school location. It is designed to provide policymakers, educators, business leaders, parents, and the public at large with information to better understand the fairness of existing state school finance systems and how resources are allocated so problems can be identified and solutions developed."

Survey: Number of Future Teachers Reaches All-time Low
NEA Today - Mary Ellen Flannery

Mary Ellen Flannery reports on the results of a national survey, which finds: "the number of students who say they will major in education has reached its lowest point in 45 years. Just 4.2 percent intend to major in education—a typical first step to becoming a teacher—compared to 11 percent in 2000; 10 percent in 1990; and 11 percent in 1971, according to data gathered by the UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program."

Opting Out of the Education Reform Industry
Monthly Review - Wayne Au & Jesslyn Hollar
Wayne Au and Jesslyn Hollar write about the education reform industry, high-stakes testing, and the Opt Out movement. "High-stakes tests provide the data that is the very fuel of the corporate education reform machine. By opting out of these tests, students, parents, and teachers have the power to take away the data. With the data seized and the machine deprived of its fuel, the corporate reformers cannot produce public education for private gain. This is why opting out is so threatening to the reform industry—and it should be."
Facing facts: Ohio's school report cards in a time of rising expectations
Fordham Institute - Aaron Churchill

Aaron Churchill attempts to dig into the results of Ohio’s school report cards. "Since 2005, the Fordham Institute has conducted annual analyses of Ohio’s school report cards, with a particular focus on the performance of urban schools, both district and charter. This year’s analysis again takes a deep-dive look at the student achievement and school quality in the Ohio Big Eight areas."

Closing the Achievement Gap Requires Closing the Gap Between Schools and Central Offices
Center for Educational Leadership - Max Silverman

Max Silverman, an associate director at the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership, tackles school and central office collaboration. He writes, "Building this new model of school and central office collaboration is not easy. It requires changes in how teachers, principals, and central office leaders work together. Here at CEL, we are growing more convinced that the path to turnaround is not paved by mandates or simplistic accountability measures, but rather it is a road of learning, collaboration, and reciprocal accountability."

Community Schools as an Effective Strategy for Reform
Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) - Julia Daniel & Jon Snyder

Julia Daniel, doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Jon Snyder, Stanford University, summarize the empirical basis for several features of community schools. "Investing in programs that address the multiple needs of students and communities so that children can succeed in school produces excellent returns for individuals and for society."

Teacher Eval: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene reviews a recent article in the Atlantic. The article by Thomas Toch, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching argues that teacher evaluation [reform], now given a bit of freedom in the new ESSA, should stay the course. Greene writes, "The Obama-era teacher evaluation systems sucked. They collected lousy information about things that aren't even the most important part of a teacher's work. They consistently proved to be unreliable and invalid. They provided no useful information to anybody. One of the few bright spots of ESSA is the end of the federally-mandated inaccurate unreliable nonsense evaluation system."

On (Wisconsin)
03/07/2016 - Sara Goldrick-Rab

Sara Goldrick-Rab, soon to be professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University, writes about her reasons for leaving the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Terrified sheep make lousy teachers, lousy scholars, and lousy colleagues. And today at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, thanks to #FakeTenure, I’m surrounded by terrified sheep. To be honest, commitments to the growing number of people whom I am responsible for (including my two children, but also my students and staff), put me at risk of becoming one of them."

Do school vouchers improve results? It depends on what we ask
The Conversation - Joshua Cowen

Joshua Cowen reviews a series of reports on Louisiana’s statewide school voucher program. Regarding negative results from the vouchers, he says: “It may be tempting to use this news as an argument against vouchers, especially because the evidence is drawn from the most sophisticated research tools available to scholars who study these programs. However, it should be stressed that test scores provide only one indicator of program success or failure.” And adds later, “The question is whether test scores are the only way to judge schools and school performance.”

Teachers And Professional Collaboration: How Sweden Has Become The ABBA Of Educational Change
Shanker Blog - Andy Hargreaves

Andy Hargreaves discusses school reform in Sweden, professional collaboration, and teacher collegiality. “The world is finally starting to realize that we cannot create societies of highly skilled and successful learners, unless we have professionally run schools and school systems where well qualified and highly valued teachers are able, encouraged and expected to collaborate for the benefit of all students. It’s time for teachers everywhere not to say the equivalent of another Abba song – ‘Take a Chance on Me’ – but to proclaim ‘invest in us as a strong and growing profession’.”

Support From the Start: A 50-State Review of Policies on New Educator Induction and Mentoring
New Teacher Center - Liam Goldrick

The New Teacher Center released an update of state policies on teacher induction, ‘Support From the Start: A 50-State Review of Policies on New Educator Induction and Mentoring.’ The review provides a comprehensive national summary as well as individual state policy snapshots. According to NTC, “Each state’s existing policies are analyzed against key criteria most critical to the provision of universal, high-quality induction and mentoring support for beginning educators.”

Overregulation Theory isn't enough to explain negative voucher effects
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno investigates a new working paper on the effects of Louisiana’s statewide voucher program. The primary focus of the blog is on ‘Overregulation Theory.’  He says, “According to Overregulation Theory, regulations imposed by Louisiana’s voucher scheme were so burdensome that only the private schools most desperate to boost enrollment opted to participate.” And, “While it is plausible that regulations did reduce private school participation, it is not obvious that Overregulation Theory is entirely consistent with the available evidence.”

Who won the education 'award' nobody wants to receive?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares the 2015 winner of the Bunkum Awards - presented by the National Education Policy Center - “it is given for what presenters say is ‘shoddy’ educational research based on weak data, questionable analysis and overblown recommendations.” NOTE: The GLC is a contributor to the Think Twice think tank review project, which selected the recipient.

A 'broader bolder' approach to even the education playing field
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Elaine Weiss

Elaine Weiss describes the relaunch of the Broader, Bolder Approach (BBA) to Education: “With its relaunch, BBA establishes the framework for developing those policies. It links four strategies to alleviate out-of-school barriers to success and four others to narrow opportunity gaps within and across schools. It also works to bridge school-community divides that exclude important voices from school reform discussions, neglect critical needs those reforms must address, and leave key assets to enable them on the table.”

Teacher-Peer Learning Can Boost Student Performance, Study Says
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reported on a new working paper released last week. “In short, the study finds that the pairing of teachers in this manner bore fruit for student learning: Students taught by the teachers targeted for learning with a more-skilled peer learning scored higher than the average student taught by such a teacher in a control school, by about 0.12 of a standard deviation, on tests administered at the end of the 2014 school year. The effects persisted the following year, too. Explaining the effects poses some challenge, because the principals and researchers pretty much left the teachers alone to decide how to work together.”

Chetty et al. v. Rothstein on VAM-Based Bias, Again
VAMboozled! - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley discusses an ongoing, two-way communication between economists regarding the use of Value-Added for educational reform. The debate stems from a series of working papers produced by Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff. Intertwined in the back and forth is commentary from Berkeley economist Jesse Rothstein, who has been critical of the work of Chetty, et al.. NOTE: The GLC has funded several Think Twice reviews of the Chetty, et al. working papers.

#HowMuchTesting and for What Purpose? Join the Debate!
Cloaking Inequity - Matthew R. Lavery, University of Central Florida

Matthew Lavery writes about a 'key session' at AERA's annual meeting this April in Washington, DC: 'How Much Testing and for What Purpose? Public Scholarship in the Debate about Educational Assessment and Accountability.' He writes: "prominent educational researchers will respond to questions and concerns raised by parents, students, teachers, community members, and the public at large. Any and all of you with an interest in educational testing and accountability are invited to post your questions, concerns, and comments using the hashtag #HowMuchTesting on Twitter, Facebook,Instagram, Google+, or the social media platform of your choice, as these are the posts to which AERA's panelists will respond."

How Competition Hurts Children in Detroit's Schools
Huffington Post - Donald Cohen

Donald Cohen, In the Public Interest, responds to the latest round of policies intended to ‘fix’ schools in Detroit. “The situation in Detroit is damning evidence against unchecked charter school expansion. Allowing more charters without planning and oversight prevents communities from stable, safe schools where children can learn from great teachers.”

From Evidence-based Programs to an Evidence-based System: Opportunities Under the Every Student Succeeds Act
Education Next - Martin R. West

Martin West writes about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): "As with so much in the new law, what happens as a result of ESSA’s evidence provisions will depend less on what they require of states and more on what states make of the opportunities that they create. Let’s hope—and work to ensure—that states take full advantage."

Embedding Leadership in the Teaching Profession
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez reports on the 2016 National Summit on Teacher Leadership in Washington, D.C. "The National Education Association (NEA), along with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the U.S. Department of Education, organized the summit to allow participating teachers, state superintendents, and union representatives to share ideas, best practices, and examples of existing teacher-leadership efforts. Additionally, the group identified common challenges and created concrete, actionable teacher leadership plans to address them back home. Nineteen states were represented at the summit, and included an education team from the U.S. Department of Defense."

State Takeovers of Low-Performing Schools: A Record of Academic Failure, Financial Mismanagement & Student Harm
The Center for Popular Democracy - Aditi Sen

The Center for Popular Democracy released a report this week, which looks at the record of state takeovers: “In the past decade, the debate over school control has shifted to include ‘takeover districts’ in which schools that are deemed ‘chronically failing’ are removed from the local school district and placed in a statewide district with a separate governance structure that is far less transparent and accountable to the public. Three states, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Michigan, had already established districts of this kind by 2014.” The report finds: “The rapid proliferation of the takeover district as an educational panacea is alarming.”

How Should States Measure School Success?
Education Next - Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick discusses K-12 accountability systems and ESSA: “I’ve been cautiously optimistic about ESSA’s potential to remedy this situation. The #ESSADesign competition happily reduced my emphasis on ‘cautiously.’ ”

Teaching Higher: Educators' Perspectives on Common Core Implementation
Harvard University - Center for Education Policy Research - Thomas J. Kane, Antoniya M. Owens, William H. Marinell, Daniel R. C. Thal, & Douglas O. Staiger

This report from Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) looks at implementation of Common Core (in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Nevada). “We asked teachers and principals about the types and amounts of professional development they received, the textbooks they were using, the online resources they found most helpful, and the alignment between Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and teacher evaluations.”

Teach For America's Preferential Treatment: School District Contracts, Hiring Decisions, and Employment Practices
Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA/AAPE) - T. Jameson Brewer, Kerry Kretchmar, Beth Sondel, Sarah Ishmael, Megan Manfra

A special edition of Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA/AAPE) was focused on Teach For America. This article provides, "evidence that school districts are contractually obligated to reserve and protect positions exclusively for [TFA] corps members, jobs held by corps members are not a result of equal and open competition, corps member positions are specifically not limited to ‘so-called shortage areas,' and TFA's partnership with charter schools and alumni of the organization have skewed hiring practices in favor of TFA over non-TFA teachers." EPAA/AAPE is a peer-reviewed, open-access, international, multilingual, and multidisciplinary journal designed for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and development analysts concerned with education policies.

The IMPACT Of Teacher Turnover In DCPS
Shanker Institute - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo looks at results from a working paper published by NBER. The report found that teachers who left were replaced by teachers with higher scores (on IMPACT, the district evaluation system) the following year. "It's a very strong analysis that speaks directly to policy in a manner that does not fit well into the tribal structure of education debates today."

South Dakota Proposals Would Link Higher Teacher Pay to Staffing Ratios
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a proposal in South Dakota to overhaul school funding: "The funds would be sent to districts largely based on formula calculated off of a target average teacher salary, which would be keyed to a teacher-student ratio rather than per-pupil expenditures, as is the case in most states."

Teacher Moneyball: Can big data and predictive analytics help find the next generation of star educators?
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Jacob Murray

Jacob Murray discusses the use of big data to predict educator success: “Developing valid, reliable and unbiased aptitude and performance assessments is an ongoing challenge.  And there is a dizzying array of social scientists, conferences and companies racing to create the next predictive metrics and software for everything from student behavior, to fitness, to financial stock performance.  Yet, in the case of identifying new, high-potential teachers, this pursuit would be worthwhile if it could help to select great future educators.”

Deconstructing the 2015 NAEP Results
Center on Education Policy (CEP) - Nancy Kober

Nancy Kober shares insights from a panel of experts: “This short piece helps explain what they [2015 NAEP results] mean and don't mean for the future of public education.”

Teacher Turnover in High-Poverty Schools: What We Know and Can Do
Teachers College Record - Nicole S. Simon & Susan Moore Johnson

Nicole Simon and Susan Moore Johnson studied the impact of teacher turnover rates in low-income schools: "Together, these studies suggests that, on average, when teachers leave schools serving low-income minority students, they are not fleeing their students. Rather, teachers often choose such schools because of their commitment to social justice. When these teachers leave, it is frequently because the working conditions in their schools interfere with teaching and learning. Therefore, to retain talented, effective teachers in high-poverty schools, policy makers and practitioners should adopt strategies designed to improve the teaching environment."

GOP-led states increasingly taking control from local school boards
Washington Post - Lyndsey Layton

Lyndsey Layton covers the path taken by many GOP governors to disempower locally elected school boards: "Although the particulars vary, an appointed manager wields broad powers to redesign schools or close them entirely. The state manager can hire and fire, set curriculum, reconfigure the school day, sell property and, in some cases, break existing labor contracts. Increasingly, state managers are turning over traditional public schools to charter school operators, which are funded by tax dollars but are privately managed."

Portfolio Management School Districts and Teacher Quality
Green & Write Education Policy Research Insights - Michigan State University - Dave Reid

Dave Reid looks into the portfolio model for school district reform: "Portfolio management is a relatively recent reform in public education where a district’s central office, rather than managing a set of uniform public schools, operates a more diverse set of schools (including traditional public schools, charter schools, and non-profit organizations) as a portfolio. Urban school districts are increasingly considering this model as a way to reform their school systems, believing that it can ensure equity in school choice and better hold schools accountable for performance."

When winners are losers: Private school vouchers in Louisiana
Brookings - Susan M. Dynarski
Susan Dynarski explores the recent results of a voucher study in Louisiana. Despite the negative effect, Dynarski believes the study is a sign of progress in educational research. "Previous research that uses lotteries to study schools has almost uniformly yielded positive results, with the occasional zero effect. The Louisiana study bucks that trend, and that’s a sign that science is working as it should. Science and policy move forward by learning from successes as well as from failures."
Sick of Inequality: The Case for the Detroit Teacher Strike
The Progressive - José Luis Vilson

José Luis Vilson discusses education in Detroit, the Flint water crisis, and local accountability. "To whom is it not obvious that schooling is as much a public good as safe drinking water? While Governor Snyder subverts the public will by perpetuating deplorable learning conditions for students who attend DPS schools, educators must subvert anti-striking laws with sick outs. After this much calamity, I’d be sick of the inequity, too."

The Narrative Of School Failure And Why We Must Pay Attention To Segregation In Educational Policy
Shanker Blog - Kara S. Finnigan and Jennifer Jellison Holme

Kara Finnigan and Jennifer Holme discuss their recent research, which has focused on the ways that students are segregated from one another across school district lines by race and by social class, and educational policies that seek to reverse these trends. "The nation's failure to address school segregation has created a serious, deep-seated problem, analogous our decaying tooth story: policymakers have sought to address symptoms (i.e. failing schools, high dropout rates) with various solutions (accountability, market-based reforms) and yet, while some of these steps make the problem somewhat or temporarily better, the underlying maladies persist and, in fact, often serve to undermine those very reform efforts."

Even the best teachers can't erase inequities
Detroit News - Rick Joseph

Rick Joseph, 2015-16 Michigan Teacher of the Year, writes about the impact of poverty, school choice, and equity in this Op-Ed in the Detroit News. "Public education and creative, equitably funded, nimble public education systems must be upheld and cultivated on behalf of all students, everywhere, to help us make Michigan the great state it can and should be."

A Failing Grade for K-12 State Takeovers
Education Week - Commentary - Kent McGuire, Katherine Dunn, Kate Shaw, & Adam Schott

Kent McGuire, Katherine Dunn, Kate Shaw, & Adam Schott offer commentary on plans to adopt a state takeover model in Georgia and Pennsylvania. "A common thread in all of these 'reforms,' along with the new proposals in Georgia and Pennsylvania, is the heavy reliance on standardized-test scores to deem schools 'failing' and in need of state intervention—even as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new federal education legislation, acknowledges that a broader set of indicators should be used to measure schools' progress, moving us away from rigid, high-stakes-testing accountability."

Spending in nation's schools falls again, with wide variation across state
Washington Post - Education - Emma Brown

Emma Brown summarizes recent federal data on per-pupil spending in K-12 public schools. The results point toward a wide variation between states and an overall downward trend. The national average was $10,763, down 0.6 percent from 2012 (adjusted for inflation). "The nation’s per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools dropped in 2013 for the third year in a row, reversing more than a decade of funding increases, according to federal data released Wednesday."

Teacher Turnover, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement in DCPS
National Bureau of Economic Research - Melinda Adnot, Thomas Dee, Veronica Katz, James Wyckoff

This working paper examines the effects of teacher turnover and other teacher related effects on school quality as measured by student performance in DC public schools. "Employing a quasi-experimental design based on data from the first year years of IMPACT, we find that, on average, DCPS replaced teachers who left with teachers who increased student achievement by 0.08 SD in math." Note: this is a working paper from NBER that has not been peer-reviewed or published in a journal.

Maryland Democrats say they will take up bills that deal with overtesting
The Washington Post - Ovetta Wiggins

Ovetta Wiggins shared plans from the head of the Maryland Senate’s education committee, who noted: “lawmakers will try to address standardized testing during the ongoing legislative session, despite Gov. Larry Hogan’s statement that he would rather wait for a commission to weigh in on the issue this summer.”

New Report: Does Money Matter in Education? Second Edition
Shanker Blog - Matthew DiCarlo

Matthew DiCarlo describes a new report, ‘Does Money Matter in Education?,’ which was written by Bruce Baker (Rutgers). “The report presented a thorough, balanced review of the rather sizable body of research on the relationship between K-12 education spending and outcomes. The motivation for this report was to address the highly contentious yet often painfully oversimplified tribal arguments regarding the impact of education spending and finance reforms, as well as provide an evidence-based guide for policymakers during a time of severe budgetary hardship. It remains our most viewed resource ever, by far.”

Analysis of the stability of teacher-level growth scores from the student growth percentile model
IES - REL West - Andrea Lash, Reino Makkonen, Loan Tran, Min Huang

This WestEd report, funded by IES and released by REL West, examined the stability over years of teacher-level growth scores from the Student Growth Percentile (SGP) model, which many states and districts have selected as a measure of effectiveness in their teacher evaluation systems. The authors of the report caution: “states may want to be cautious in using student growth percentile scores for teacher evaluation.”

Foundation Influence in Education Policy Deserves Greater Scrutiny
The Chronicle of Philanthropy - Frederick M. Hess, Jeffrey Henig, and Jenn Hatfield

Rick Hess, Jeff Henig, and Jenn Hatfield discuss the role that philanthropy plays in education policy. “For all the commotion though, it’s striking how rarely the strategies, scope, and importance of education philanthropy are subjected to extended scrutiny and analysis. For all the ink devoted to high-profile foundation efforts, we know remarkably little about the patterns of giving and the accomplishments of these grant makers, and even less about how the patterns are changing.”

Inside the Every Student Succeeds Act
Education Week - Staff

Education Week has been running several special reports on the passage of ESSA and the challenges of implementation. “This special report on ESSA looks at what the law will mean for virtually every aspect of public schooling when it takes full effect in the 2017-18 academic year. Topics include accountability and testing, teacher quality, research, regulation, funding, early-childhood education, and thorny issues involving student groups that often lag behind their peers.”

Teacher Tenure: An Outmoded 'Job For Life' or Essential Right to Due Process?
Albert Shanker Institute

The Shanker Institute hosted an event this week to discuss teacher tenure. Guest speakers included: Jane Hannaway, Georgetown; Richard Kahlenberg, Century Foundation; Marc Tucker, National Center on Education and the Economy; and Randi Weingarten, AFT. "In this panel, we will explore these divergent viewpoints by focusing on what tenure laws actually consist of, how they work in practice, how they might be improved, and, of course, their impact on important outcomes such as teacher retention and student achievement." Video clips are shared on this link.

How much does it cost to educate a student in Michigan? We'll soon have an answer
Michigan Public Radio - State of Opportunity - Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer Guerra discusses an adequacy study underway in Michigan, which is designed to find out how much it takes to educate a student. "Brian Whiston, Michigan's superintendent of schools, hopes the state legislature takes the APA [evaluation firm] report seriously, considering it spent 'several hundred thousand dollars to do the study.'"

School Vouchers and Student Achievement: First-Year Evidence from the Louisiana Scholarship Program
The National Bureau of Economic Research - Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag A. Pathak, Christopher R. Walters

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag A. Pathak, Christopher R. Walters, in a recent National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) report, evaluate the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), a prominent school voucher plan. The study "reveals that LSP participation substantially reduces academic achievement. Attendance at an LSP-eligible private school lowers math scores by 0.4 standard deviations and increases the likelihood of a failing score by 50 percent. Voucher effects for reading, science and social studies are also negative and large. The negative impacts of vouchers are consistent across income groups, geographic areas, and private school characteristics, and are larger for younger children."

Teacher Evaluation in Chicago: Differences in Observation and Value-Added Scores by Teacher, Student, and School Characteristics
University of Chicago Consortium on School Research - Jennie Y. Jiang and Susan E. Sporte

Jennie Y. Jiang and Susan E. Sporte, in a new report from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research (UCCSR), find: "teachers with the lowest scores on the REACH Students teacher evaluation system are overrepresented in schools serving the most disadvantaged students, while teachers with the highest observation scores are underrepresented in these schools. The study uses data from the 2013-14 school year, which represents the first comprehensive snapshot of evaluation scores for Chicago Public School teachers under the new REACH Students teacher evaluation system."

Impact of Teacher Union Debate Still Unknown, MSU Researcher Says
Michigan State University - MSU Today - Joshua Cowen, Nicole Geary, Andy Henion

Michigan State University professor Joshua Cowen and colleagues have begun a four-state study that will be the first to examine how state-level reforms, and local teacher contract provisions, actually impact teacher quality and labor markets.

The charter-school scam deepens: The sick new 'bubble' that could explode urban schools
Salon - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire interviews University of Connecticut professor Preston Green on his new study, "Are We Heading Toward a Charter School 'Bubble'?: Lessons from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis."

Promoting a quality teaching force
The Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Helen F. Ladd

Helen Ladd, Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, reacts to passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and makes recommendations for building a high quality teaching force: "(1) to induce high quality college graduates to enter the teaching profession by offering competitive teacher salaries and good working conditions (an attraction strategy); (2) to encourage teachers to remain in the profession as they gain experience in order to take advantage of the skills they have learned on the job and to avoid the costs of teacher churn (a retention strategy); and (3) to encourage teachers to improve their professional skills by getting master’s degrees (an investment strategy)."

Relay Graduate School of Education: A Policy Brief
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools - Kate Peterson
Kate Peterson, a graduate student at Arcadia University, looked into the Relay 'Graduate School' of Education. "Relay Graduate School of Education is an independent institution of higher education run by charter school supporters. From its founders, to its board members, to its professors, and to its partners and philanthropic investors, Relay oozes charter school support. It was created as a teacher supply source for charters and remains just that."
Exploring Cross-State Variations in Resources, Outcomes and Gaps
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker looks at cross-state variations in resources, outcomes, and gaps. In his blog, he discusses an annual report on the state of school finance systems in the U.S. In 2016, in collaboration with ETS, Baker will be releasing an update of a funding fairness report first produced in 2012.

Can Community Schools Dampen the School Takeover Fever?
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez discusses a recent report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), which "makes a strong case for collaborative, grassroots efforts to help turn around struggling schools."

School Reform, Passion and Mic Drops
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vazquez Heilig shares clips from his recent panel discussion to the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA). Heilig was part of a panel that included Richard Kahlenberg and Jennifer King Rice.

Closing Schools: Privatization Disguised as 'Accountability'
NEA Today - John Rosales

John Rosales covers a recent forum on the impact of school closures on students and communities. The forum was held December 10 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The panelists included Linda Darling-Hammond, Jitu Brown, Julian Vasquez Heilig, and Judith Browne-Dianis.

Bad Apples
12/14/2015 - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire interviews Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker about charter school policies.

ESSA Changes to Teacher-Quality Funding: Which States Snag More Cash?
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Stephen Sawchuck

Stephen Sawchuk reports on changes made to federal policy under ESSA that will affect states’ teacher-quality funding.

Charter schools are a 'gravy train', say researchers
Al Jazeera America - Ned Resnikoff

Ned Resnikoff looks at a new report examining the methods charter school operators use to enrich themselves. "The policy framework for U.S. charter schools encourages 'privatization and profiteering', a research institute said in a report released Thursday." The report was produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) with funding from In the Public Interest. A disclaimer: NEPC also receives funding from the GLC for research projects.

New Report Shines A Light Into The Charter School Black Box
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses charter school reforms and improved accountability. Bryant draws on a policy brief produced by Gary Miron (Western Michigan) and Bruce Baker (Rutgers) for the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). "They propose reasonable recommendations for revisions of laws and financial reporting requirements and a tightening of the regulatory provisions for these schools." A disclaimer:NEPC also receives funding from the GLC for research projects.

The long-term impact of NCLB waivers on ESEA renewal
Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Elizabeth Mann

Elizabeth Mann looks at the impact of waivers on NCLB implementation and renewal.

New Orleans, Indiana, Nevada Top Charter and School Choice Rankings
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares findings from two reports released by the Fordham Institute and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. "New Orleans has been ranked the number one city for school choice overall, while Indiana and Nevada tied for the top spot on a separate ranking of state charter school oversight policies."

Study Finds Unions Improve Teacher Quality, Lead To Lower Dropout Rates
Campaign for America's Future - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares "a recent report, which reveals a common critique of teachers unions is based on 'myths'. The report uses empirical data analysis to correct the record on the effects of unions on the teaching workforce and, in turn, on an important measure of student education attainment: high school dropout rates."

Picture Post Week: Follow up on who's running America's charter schools
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker shares several slides demonstrating who runs America’s charter schools. "These slides are made possible by my meticulous graduate student Mark Weber, who spent hours aligning operator classifications and school links first presented by Gary Miron and colleagues, and merging those classifications to the 2011-12 National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data and Civil Rights Data Collections."

Teachers Feel Declining Classroom Independence, Fed Data Shows
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks reveals new data from the Schools and Staffing Survey (2011-12), which show teachers feeling as if they have less independence compared to 2003. "NCES analysts found music educators were the most independent bunch of all teachers. Thirty-four percent reported being "highly autonomous" in 2012, down only 2 percentage points from in 2003. By comparison, 25 percent of special education teachers felt autonomous in 2003, but only 16 percent did nearly a decade later."

Go Ahead, Pass Every Student Succeeds Act, But Don't Celebrate It
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant digs into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which passed the House on Wednesday. “For sure, there are things to like and dislike about the bill, but while lawmakers and policy wonks are back-slapping and glad-handing each other, this is also an opportune time to reflect on where we are in the evolution of education policy compared to where we should be.”

Behavioral Nudges and Intrinsic Motivation: What Works for Teachers?
Education Policy Initiative - Ford School of Public Policy - University of Michigan

In a new research project funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Brian Jacob, the University of Michigan’s Education Policy Institute, joins together with the University of Chicago’s Damon Jones and Brian Keyes to study if particular “nudges” will influence whether teachers apply for the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. The loan forgiveness program provides student loan debt relief of either $5,000 or $17,500 to eligible teachers.

Scoring the New Every Student Succeeds Act
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess breaks down what he likes and dislikes in the new Every Student Succeeds Act. He concludes: “On the whole, it seems to me that ESSA does reasonably well on this scorecard. It retains the big thing that NCLB got right for students (e.g. transparency) while stripping away ham-fisted dictates that created problems for students and schools.”

Gov. Snyder's education district has failed its transparency test
Metro Times - Curt Guyette

Curt Guyette looks into the governance and reporting struggles surrounding Detroit’s Education Achievement Authority. “Conceived by the Snyder administration as an experimental approach to educating students in the state's lowest-performing schools, the EAA has been a profound failure since it first began operating 12 Detroit schools as well as overseeing three charters in the fall of 2012.”

To rebuild Detroit, restore the schools
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey interviews Detroiters seeking to build up Detroit’s public schools.  She also discusses the issues central to the governor’s rebuilding plan for the schools.

University Faculty Perceptions of Teacher Evaluation Law in Indiana
Center for Evaluation & Education Policy - Indiana University - Colleen Chesnut and Molly Stewart

Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) issued brief that examines faculty perceptions of Indiana teacher evaluation changes. According to the authors, “Our  research reveals that faculty members share the concern that their student—future school administrators—will face difficulties in implementing the revised teacher evaluation processes in Indiana, simply because they will lack sufficient time or organizational capacity to do so.”

A New ESEA: A Cheat Sheet on What the Deal Means for Teachers
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk and Alyson Klein discuss what the 'new' ESEA means for teachers.

Teacher Evaluations Fall Off The Education 'Reform' Agenda
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant analyzes recent comments by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who stated last week: "I have for a very long time also been against the idea that you tie teacher evaluation and even teacher pay to test outcomes. There's no evidence. There’s no evidence."

Districts steer disproportionate funds to a small segment of the teaching force
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Marguerite Roza

Marguerite Roza looks at national labor statistics for teachers against other professions. She finds teachers take longer to get to the top of the salary schedule than other groups. Her focus is on the impact this has on teacher turnover and recruitment at the front end of the profession.

What Education Policy Makers Can Learn From A 'Failing School'
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant digs into Kristina Rizga’s new book, Mission High: One school, how experts tried to fail it, and the students and teachers who made it triumph. Read more about her book here:

Who Are (And Should Be) The Teaching Experts?
Shanker Blog - Bryan Mascio

Bryan Mascio, doctoral student at the Harvard School of Education, discusses how we can "fix teaching."

Why 1904 testing methods should not be used for today's student
The Conversation - Robert Sternberg

Robert Sternberg looks at testing in a recent 'Conversation' article. He asks, “Why are archaic tests being used today?” Specifically, he notes that today’s testing fails when weighed against validity, equity, and common sense. Sternberg suggests replacing current college admission criteria (ACT, SAT, GPA) with Kaleidoscope, an initiative which focuses on open-ended questions and provides admissions information beyond standardized tests.

The New ESEA, in a Single Table
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli shares a single table, which compares and contrasts recent iterations of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA was discussed in a conference committee of Congress this week.

A Bad Bargain: How teacher collective bargaining affects students' employment and earnings later in life
Education Next - Michael F. Lovenheim and Alexander Willén

Michael F. Lovenheim and Alexander Willén look at how laws that support teacher collective bargaining affect student employment earnings in adulthood. “We find no clear effects of collective-bargaining laws on how much schooling students ultimately complete. But our results show that laws requiring school districts to engage in collective bargaining with teachers unions lead students to be less successful in the labor market in adulthood.”

Teachers' Unions: Shades of Grey
Education Week - Straight Up - Katharine Strunk and Joshua Cowen

Katharine Strunk and Joshua Cowen pinch hit for Rick Hess over at Education Week. Strunk and Cowen share an excerpt from a forthcoming paper, which attempts to describe how teachers’ unions affect policy and district operations. “In short, neither supporters nor opponents of teacher unionization and collective bargaining definitively know what the strengths and weaknesses of these organizations actually are—at least not in such a way as to unambiguously suggest that wholesale reductions in union influence will improve education outcomes, nor to mount an intransigent defense of teachers' unions and their CBAs.”

Recognizing Great High Schools By What They Actually Do
Huffington Post - Education - Kevin Welner and Carol Burris

Kevin Welner and Carol Burris share information regarding the Schools of Opportunity project, launched last year. Seventeen schools in New York and Colorado were singled out for “Gold-level” recognition. If you are interested in finding more information about the project, visit

AERA Issues Statement on the Use of Value-Added Models in Evaluation of Educators and Educator Preparation Programs
AERA - American Educational Research Association

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) issued a statement this week on the use of Value-Added Models in evaluation of educators and educator preparation programs. “The statement addresses the challenges facing the validity of inferences from VAM, as well as specifies eight technical requirements that must be met for the use of VAM to be accurate, reliable, and valid. It cautions that these requirements cannot be met in most evaluative contexts.”

Five Cynical Observations About Teacher Leadership
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan offers her commentary regarding teacher leadership and how “real” teacher leadership is often clouded by groups pushing their agenda. “Who's really in charge of explaining school-embedded teacher leadership, selecting the right goals and purposes for individual classrooms? Who is inspiring teachers to find their own paths—based on their own carefully honed experience and observations—to lead?”

Would Hillary Clinton be an Anti-Charter School President?
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero discusses recent comments made by Sec. Hillary Clinton regarding charter schools.

Are we facing a nationwide teacher shortage?
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Dick Startz

Dick Startz attempts to wade through data related to education degrees and recent graduates. “Rather than talking about shortages in terms of body count, we should be asking whether we are producing (and retaining) enough really, really good people in the classroom. Quantity matters when it comes to teacher supply, but it’s a mistake to talk about quantity without talking about quality at the same time.”

Detroit students unfairly pay the price for the district's debts
Bridge Magazine - Craig Thiel

Craig Thiel, senior research associate at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, looks at the challenges facing the Detroit Public Schools (DPS). “As decision makers coalesce around solutions to the district’s academic and financial failings, they must ensure current students have the financial resources promised to them and avoid burdening them with past legacy costs they cannot afford.”

Teacher Retention and the Economy: An Example from North Carolina
Education Next - Chad Aldeman

Chad Aldeman looks at teacher turnover data from North Carolina: "Teachers are following the same broad economic trends that all other workers follow."

Commercialism in Schools: No Windfall For Districts and Students Pay a Huge Price
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker covers commercialism in schools. “Discussion about commercialism’s impact on young people usually focuses on how peddling junk food on school grounds or during school activities contributes to the obesity crisis. But corporate marketing in schools can also affect what children learn.”

Report: Test-Based Teacher Evaluations Have Gained 'Strong Foothold' in States
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein shares information from a press release by the National Council of Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which investigated how teacher evaluations based on student outcomes (tests) are being implemented nationally.

Certification, Genuine Teacher Leadership, and Power Struggles
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses the complicated web that is teacher certification. Her blog this week is in response to news regarding Ann Marie Corgill, Alabama Teacher of the Year ’14, and Ann's decision to quit her job.

What the national drop in 2015 NAEP test scores really means
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Carol Burris

Carol Burris takes a swipe at recent NAEP scores, education reforms, and the problem of making grandiose claims about test score data. “NAEP is a truth teller. There is no NAEP test prep industry, or high-stakes consequence that promotes teaching to the test.  NAEP is what it was intended to be—a national report card by which we can gauge our national progress in educating our youth.”

If the Obama Administration Wants Fewer Tests, It Will Have to Give Up On Test-Based Teacher Evaluations
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli opines about the Obama Administration’s recent 'reversal' of policy regarding school testing. “The Obama administration is trying to have it both ways. It wants fewer tests but isn’t willing to give up on test-based teacher evaluations. Meaning that, alas, it has failed this test.”

No Child Left Behind: What Worked, What Didn't
NPR Ed - Cory Turner

Cory Turner discusses the reauthorization of ESEA, NCLB, and the history of federal dollars in U.S. classrooms. “Congress is trying to do something it was supposed to do back in 2007: agree on a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It's not controversial to say the law is in desperate need of an update.”

How Snyder's plan to fix Detroit school debt impacts other districts
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey covers the latest happenings in Michigan school reform, debt, and governance issues in the Detroit Public Schools. “For now, the proposal for fixing Detroit’s schools requires public school districts across Michigan to help pay off the spiraling debt in the state’s largest school system. Snyder warns that if the state does not fix the DPS debt load soon, the cost will continue to worsen.”

Evidence at the Crossroads Pt. 1: What Works, Tiered Evidence, and the Future of Evidence-based Policy
William T. Grant Foundation - Vivian Tseng

Vivian Tseng talks about the “What Works” agenda and research use in schools. “To move forward, let’s take a good hard look at the current evidence initiatives and identify what can be learned from them. We will need to come to terms with outsized expectations, develop ways to improve programs and systems, and determine how the federal evidence agenda can better align with state, local, and practice needs.”

Understanding the Nation's Report Card: A Symposium on the 2015 Results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress
Center for Education Policy - Staff

The Center for Education Policy (CEP) is hosting a symposium on November 5th at George Washington University on the 2015 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): “an informative and nonpartisan dialogue.” Open the link to find more information.

Why The Democratic Presidential Debate Ignored Education
The Progressive - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses the absence of debate on education policy during the Democratic Party presidential debate in Las Vegas. “Clearly, education can be a winning issue for Democrats as it is ‘the top turn out message,’ according to recently conducted survey. If Hillary, Bernie, or any of the other candidates want to capture the hearts and minds of the Democratic base and primary voters, they should turn the page on the Republican’s 1990s ideas for education policy.”

Student Discipline, Race And Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy Charter Schools
Shanker Blog - Leo Casey

Leo Casey discusses student discipline, race, and Success Academy Charter Schools. “The challenge posed to Success Academy and similar charter schools by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education’s guidance on student discipline is serious. To be in conformance with civil rights law, these schools will need to make radical reforms to their ‘no excuses’ school culture and practices.”

Are Test Scores Good Proxies for School Quality?
Education Next - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum, a policy and research editor at the Seventy Four (a pro-charter, anti-teacher website founded by former CNN reporter Campbell Brown), summarizes research findings on standardized test scores associated with student outcomes.

The non-debate on education policy by the Democratic presidential candidates, and what they got wrong
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Michael Hansen

Michael Hansen discusses education policy during the Democratic presidential debate. “However, the one education policy issue that did get some airtime focused on the cost of higher education and student debt. Sanders and Clinton both weighed in on the need to eliminate tuition costs for students pursuing a college degree, though they differed on the conditions for making this benefit available. Yet, both candidates are missing the main issue about the costs of higher education.”

Are There Edu-Tribes? Are They at War? Who's Winning?
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan responds to Sam Chaltain’s recent piece on established “edu-tribes.” Flanagan argues that “There has never been a common, all-American vision about what public education is supposed to be … How about you?”

The Legacy of Arne Duncan, 'A Hero in the Education Business'
The Nation - Zoë Carpenter

Zoë Carpenter reports on the departure of Arne Duncan from the Obama administration, “The Secretary of Education will step down at the end of the year, after proving himself a champion for the corporate reform movement.”

Where Have All The Teachers of Color Gone? (With Answers)
10/11/2015 - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson discusses institutional racism, teachers of color, and historical contexts of teacher retention. “So, to answer the question, teachers of color are either dismissed or leave. They’re dismissed largely because their schools are more likely to get shut down due to the major reasons we see out there: standardized test scores, restructuring plans, and lack of parental voice and real choice. They leave due to the lack of autonomy in teaching in ways that would more readily impact students of color. Things like scripted lessons and curricula and silencing in common planning meetings contribute to the profession being stolen from right under them.”

He continues, “These are issues that also affect white teachers who’ve decided to stay in the profession long enough to consider it a career. This is why solidarity matters, and why we all must advocate for teachers of color.”

U.S. Public Schools Could Benefit From Less Test-Taking and More Equitable Funding, Says Finnish Educator
NEA Today - John Rosales

At an event hosted by the NEA Foundation, Pasi Sahlberg, currently a visiting professor of practice in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education,  spoke about collaboration, teacher voice, and equity in reforming education in the U.S. The NEA Foundation’s Harriet Sanford had this to say about the event: “After nearly three decades of educational restructure and reform have swept across the nation, the universal quest to ensure that all children enter the 21st century ready to learn and thrive remains an elusive goal. Our theme seeks to bring into sharp focus the “what,” “why,” and “how” of the evolving profession of teaching.”

Schools in Transition: A Guide to Support Transgender Students in K-12
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez looks at a 2013 school climate survey conducted by GLSEN on the rate of verbal and physical harassment by gender identity. Álvarez also shares a new guide for supporting transgender students in K-12 schools: “The guide is a roadmap for educators and parents to provide safe and supportive environments for all transgender students, offering practical advice, field-tested tips, and narratives of real experiences from students and educators.”

The Ugly Charter School Scandal Arne Duncan Is Leaving Behind
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses Arne Duncan’s “surprise announcement to leave his position in December.” Bryant’s blog focuses on a pending investigation of Duncan’s “poor job of overseeing federal dollars sent to charter schools.”

Arne Duncan's bipartisan legacy: Attracting vitriol from the right and the left
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Arnold F. Shober

Arnold Shober looks at Arne Duncan’s legacy: “More than Margaret Spellings or Rod Paige, Arne Duncan was a bipartisan institution—he attracted vitriol from the right and the left. Was he a conservative sell-out? Foes on the left like Fenwick English, Kenneth Saltman, and the National Education Association thought so. Was he an imperious, waiver-happy Common Core evangelist? Christel Swasey and Glenn Beck pushed that line.”

New Harvard Network Will Tackle Teacher Quality's 'Non System'
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a new Harvard University initiative, Transforming Teaching, which will oversee projects to “boost the coherence of the nation’s systems for scaling up great teaching.” According to Sawchuk, the project will be led by Jal Mehta and has the backing of several teacher organizations.

Recent Evidence On The New Orleans School Reforms
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo attempts to wade through the recent research evidence from New Orleans. “In the meantime, there is certainly cause for optimism about the impact of the NOLA reforms, but also a need for patience and additional evidence before drawing strong conclusions. Short term testing results alone are not how one should judge the reorganization of a major city school district.” The GLC has attempted to share a wide variety of stories on NOLA reforms - you can search (New Orleans) on the Worth A Read page to organize the articles by topic. We invite readers to utilize our search feature for topic analysis.

Whose Choice? Student Experiences and Outcomes in the New Orleans School Marketplace
Stanford University - SCOPE - Fred Adamson, Channa Cook-Harvey, and Linda Darling-Hammond

A new research brief and report by Fred Adamson, Channa Cook-Harvey, and Linda Darling-Hammond looks at charters and other public and private schools in New Orleans. “This policy brief and report examine the results of the New Orleans experiment in terms of the experiences of students and families managing their way through a portfolio of charter schools in this unusual context. Among many findings, the research shows that New Orleans reforms have created a set of schools that are highly stratified by race, class, and educational advantage, operating in a hierarchy that provides very different types of schools and to different types of children.”

Can a Charter School Grow Its Own Teachers?
Education Writers Association - Emily Richmond

Emily Richmond interviews (podcast) Becky Vevea (WBEZ Chicago) who recently shared a story about Noble Street Charter Schools’ “radical in-house approach to teacher preparation, recruiting, and training its own recent graduates.” Noble is utilizing coursework through Relay, a pro-charter organization that offers alternative graduate educational opportunities, to prepare, recruit, and develop teachers.

Arne Duncan Really F---ing Cares About Kids
Education Week - Straight Up - Rick Hess

Rick Hess critiques a recent profile of Arne Duncan that was published by Politico (also shared this week by Worth A Read). Whether it is "enough" that Duncan cares about kids, Hess concludes, “It's nice that Duncan cares.  I'm perfectly happy to concede that he wants do to the right thing. But I don't think that makes him unique, and I don't actually think he cares a lot more than anyone else. In any event, caring isn't enough. It doesn't mean one is necessarily right on important questions. And it certainly doesn't justify divisive, self-satisfied, or blinkered leadership.”

New MSU program raises bar for autism education
Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal - R.J. Wolcott

R.J. Wolcott shares information from Michigan State University’s new Early Learning Institute (ELI) for children on the autism spectrum. The program utilizes applied behavior analysis (ABA), and is made possible by a $50,000 donation from two MSU alumni.

Arne Duncan's Wars
Politico - Michael Grunwald

Michael Grunwald profiles Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “With drive, ingenuity and a willingness to throw elbows, Obama’s closest friend in the Cabinet has tried to reshape American schools. Now will the backlash erase his legacy?”

A Safer Place? LGBT Educators, School Climate, and Implications for Administrators
The Educational Forum - Kappa Delta Pi - Tiffany E. Wright & Nancy J. Smith

A special issue of Kappa Delta Pi’s Educational Forum looks at sexuality, gender, identity, and education. Abstract: "This article presents nonparametric, descriptive, and qualitative results of the National Survey of Educators' Perceptions of School Climate 2011 compared with survey results from 2007 to provide insight regarding the workplace climate for LGBT educators and guidance for school leaders in creating an environment that supports these teachers." The article is currently available for free.

Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider
New York Times - Edwardo Porter

Edwardo Porter discusses education, segregation, civil rights, and the War on Poverty. “For all the progress in improving educational outcomes among African-American children, the achievement gaps between more affluent and less privileged children is wider than ever, notes Sean Reardon of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford. Racial disparities are still a stain on American society, but they are no longer the main divider. Today the biggest threat to the American dream is class.”

Seattle Teachers' Strike A Win For Social Justice
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant looks into the recent teachers' union strike in Seattle. He argues that the strike was about more than traditional union complaints, and a reflection on social justice by teachers. “The connection of education injustice, represented by standardized testing, to broader social injustices is also driving teachers’ demands for equity teams in schools to address widespread imbalances in disciplinary action based on race.”

The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education
The Albert Shanker Institute - Shanker Staff

The Albert Shanker Institute, this week, released a new report on the state of teacher diversity in American education. “This report shows that nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared to the need for more minority teachers. In the nine cities studied—Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—the picture is much more bleak, and there are only a few pockets of progress, surrounded by serious setbacks.”

What It Takes to Build a Truly Equitable Education System
NEA Today - Brenda Avarez

Brenda Ávarez shares the recommendations of a recent policy brief by Jennifer Rice King, University of Maryland. The brief was released on Tuesday by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) and supported in part by the Great Lake Center for Education Research & Practice. “Investing in Equal Opportunity: What Would It Take to Build the Balance Wheel? uses a framework based on the vision of Horace Mann, who 150 years ago argued that education should be free and universal.”

Delaware Eyes Revamp to Pay, Creation of Teacher-Leader Roles
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk looks at recommendations from a panel of lawmakers and state education officials, which outlines an approach to expand teacher career ladders. “To be clear, right now these are just preliminary recommendations in Delaware. The legislature has created several new working groups to begin hashing out all the nitty-gritty details, but this is an initiative to watch.”

Michigan lawmaker pushes education voucher system for Detroit students
MLive - Jonathan Oosting

Jonathan Oosting examines comments made by Rep. Tim Kelly, which called for vouchers in Detroit and possibly for Michigan. Kelly is the chairman of the House [Mich.] Appropriations subcommittee on School Aid. “Michigan has one of the nation's strictest constitutional prohibitions against public dollars directly or indirectly going to parochial schools, and Kelly acknowledged that his proposal would likely trigger lawsuits if enacted into law.”

Growing economic segregation among school districts and schools
The Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings Institution - Ann Owens

Ann Owens discusses economic segregation in schools and shares recent research she co-authored with Sean Reardon and Christopher Jencks. The research project: “measured segregation in terms of how unevenly students are distributed between school districts or schools in comparison to the composition of the metropolitan area (or the district in the case of segregation between schools).” The authors found: “segregation by family income between school districts within metropolitan areas rose from 1970 to 2010.”

How Jeb Bush's Florida Plan for School 'Choice' Created an Industry of Corruption and Chaos
Alternet - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant writes on charter school policies in Florida: “Aided by influencers like the Waltons and others, Jeb Bush put South Florida squarely at the forefront of the charter school bonanza. And the rise of the charters as big business in Florida brought with it new and special forms of financial corruption.”

10 Years In, Tulsa's Pre-K Investment Is Paying Off
NPR Ed - Claudio Sanchez

Claudio Sanchez shares research findings from Tulsa’s pre-school program: “These findings are important because Tulsa's program is considered a model for high-quality preschool programs nationwide, and the city has received extensive funding from the state to make it so. Phillips says her research now shows precisely how children have benefited over time.”

One of nation's largest school districts ditches high school final exams
Washington Post - Donna St. George

Donna St. George shares information about Montgomery County (MD) dropping final exams at the high school level. From the article, “Montgomery County’s Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesdayto eliminate the two-hour semester-end exams and replace them with shorter assessments taken during the quarter that could take different forms: tests, essays, portfolios and projects.”

More School Choice Means Long, Lonely Commutes for Kids
Mother Jones - Stephanie Mencimer

Stephanie Mencimer reports on a new study, which may debunk the notion that poor kids are ‘trapped' in bad neighborhood schools.  In her conclusion, Mencimer shares her take on the study: “What's really interesting about the JHU study is that it isn't a criticism of school choice per se, but a challenge to decades of poverty research that has accepted at face value the idea that where a child lives dictates where she goes to school.”

Why Are Colleges Really Going Test-Optional?
NPR Ed - Cory Turner

The NPR Ed team looks at recent efforts at universities across the U.S. to remove test score-based admissions. “It's hard to know why. Without test scores, some students may have trouble standing out. And some who are accepted likely can't afford to go — even with help.”

The misuse of research to support deregulation and privatization of teacher education
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Kenneth Zeichner and Hilary G. Conklin share the introduction of a recent paper published by Teachers College Record. “In our view, continuing down the current path of destroying and replacing the college and university system of teacher education in the United States will serve to widen, not narrow, the inequities in opportunities and outcomes that currently exist.”

Policy Brief: Should Louisiana and the Recovery School District receive accolades for being last and nearly last?
The Network for Public Education - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig, in a policy brief for the Network for Public Education, further investigates academic success in New Orleans. “In conclusion, the national comparative data suggest that there is a dearth of evidence supporting a decade of test-score-driven, state-takeover, charter-conversion model as being implemented in New Orleans.”

Indianapolis Pact Couples New Teacher Roles and Big Pay Boosts
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares information on a recent contract approved in Indianpolis. “The Opportunity Culture idea comes from Public Impact, a consulting group. According to the group, six Indianapolis schools are participating, using this coming school year to figure out exactly how the new models will work.” The Great Lakes Center funded a review of the original report from Public Impact. You can click here to read more about Dr. Patricia Hinchey’s review from 2013.

People Don't Like Current Education Policies, So Why Do Policy Leaders?
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant highlights recent results from the 47th PDK/Gallup poll and digs into a recent column by Valerie Strauss (also on the poll). “So the schools American families participate in are generally doing their jobs, but we need better, more qualitative ways of assessing their work, and what schools mostly need is more funding and support. Why don’t we ever hear policy makers and political leaders talk about that?”

Charter Schools: Taking Stock
Education Next 0 Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Bruno V. Manno

Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Bruno V. Manno reflect back on 25 years of charter schools in the U.S. “Where it has worked well, the charter-school movement has worked so well that it amply deserves to be sustained and perfected. Where it hasn’t, policymakers should push back against its tendency to turn into a self-interested protector of mediocrity. Millions of children’s futures—and billions of tax dollars—are at stake.”

PDK/Gallup poll results support the need for digital age professional learning
ISTE - Yolanda Ramos

Yolanda Ramos reflects on the 2015 PDK/Gallup Survey: “What we know for sure at ISTE — and what the poll results support — is that teacher quality is a key factor in any child’s education. That is why 95 percent of parents who participated in the survey said that great teachers are the cornerstone of successful schools. But how do we impact that all-important teacher quality that families crave? And how do we assure that teacher quality matches the needs of today’s digital age learners?”

Follow the Data to Frame New Questions
Learning First Alliance - Joshua Starr, PDK International

Joshua Starr, PDK International, shares the latest results from the PDK/Gallup survey. “This year’s results offer many new findings, affirmation of consistent attitudes, and interesting nuggets for further exploration. As always, the 2015 PDK/Gallup poll provides both a unique opportunity to understand how Americans think about public education and a challenge to policy makers to hear and heed what they are saying.”

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World
Teachers College Record - Anita Rao Mysore

Anita Rao Mysore reviews Yong Zhao’s latest book, Who’s Afraid of the Big Red Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, for Teachers College Record.

What does the 2015 PDK/Gallup Poll tell us about teacher leadership?
Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry considers the implications for teacher leadership from the first round of results released by the 2015 PDK/Gallup Survey. Berry says, “We know from several recent polls from PDK that the vast majority of the public trusts teachers. The next step is to make sure the public knows more about teachers who are already leading in the ways they seek—and to help build demand for them among what was once a reluctant policy community.”

Poll: Americans Want Less Standardized Testing and More School Funding
NEA Today - Tim Walker
Tim Walker reports on the 2015 PDK/Gallup Survey of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. “The results reflect the growing momentum in communities across the nation as parents and educators have joined forces to demand less testing and more time to learn. And lawmakers at every level of government are finally getting the message.”
Is anybody listening?
PDK International - Joan Richardson
Joan Richardson, Kappan editor, discusses the results of the latest PDK/Gallup survey. “Are policy makers getting ready to listen to the quiet messages that may be bubbling up from these important sectors of the American public? Or are they just listening to the loudest voices in the room today?”
The Myth of the New Orleans School Makeover
The New York Times - Andrea Gabor
Andrea Gabor adds to the ongoing discussion regarding the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans’ public schools. “There is also growing evidence that the reforms have come at the expense of the city’s most disadvantaged children, who often disappear from school entirely and, thus, are no longer included in the data.”
Professional Development Is Useless! Or Not.
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses teacher professional development, teacher learning, and a recent report from The New Teacher Project (TNTP). As always, she purposefully engages her readers with an interesting question: “Who is judging the impact of teachers' professional learning, and what are their goals?”

The 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform
Education Next - Michael Henderson, Paul Peterson, and Martin West

The latest Education Next poll tests public thinking on testing, opt out, CCSS, and more. “The American public is displaying its independent streak. Critics of testing will take no comfort from the findings of the 2015 Education Next poll—but neither will supporters of the Common Core State Standards, school choice, merit pay, or tenure reform.”

What If Teachers Could Be Promoted?
Education Week - Straight Up - Matthew Kraft

Matthew Kraft discusses teacher career development, pay-for-performance, and what drives teachers. “Amazing teachers need to be recognized and rewarded for their work in meaningful ways. Small add-ons to the current system such as stipends for additional leadership roles and modest pay-for-performance bonuses based on what some teachers perceive as arbitrary measures will not accomplish this. Even more than recognition and compensation, stand-out teachers' talents need to be enlisted in helping others to rise to their levels.”

The 'Mindset' Mindset: What We Miss By Focusing on Kids' Attitudes
Salon - Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn takes a closer look at Carol Dweck’s work on ‘growth mindset.’ He finds, “The problem with sweeping, generic claims about the power of attitudes or beliefs isn’t just a risk of overstating the benefits but a tendency to divert attention from the nature of the tasks themselves: How valuable are they, and who gets to decide whether they must be done?”

Experts: Keep 'Grit' Away From Teacher Evaluations
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker investigates the role of “grit” in education. “But critics say that the grit discussion is troublesome on a much broader scale. Some experts believe, for example, that a focus on building student resilience and tenacity provides another excuse for education leaders to ignore more fundamental problems – lack of access to critical resources and supports, for example – facing public schools in disadvantaged areas.”

Can We Interest You In Teaching?
New York Times - Op-ed - Frank Bruni

Frank Bruni discusses Motoko Rich’s recent story on teacher shortages in the U.S. “How do we make teaching more rewarding, so that it beckons to not only enough college graduates but to a robust share of the very best of them?”

Recent Evidence On Teacher Experience And Productivity
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo reviews a recent paper by John Papay and Matthew Kraft, who examined the relationship between experience and test performance. “These results as a whole indicate that teacher productivity improves most rapidly during teachers' first years, but they also suggest that improvement continues beyond five years, and perhaps even throughout the late career years, especially in math.”

Wanted: New American Teachers
On Point - NPR - Tom Ashbrook

Tom Ashbrook, with guests Ross Brenneman, Paul Bruno, Angela Minnici, and Mari Koerner, discusses teacher shortages in the U.S.  “With a new school year right in front of us, many schools across the country are still desperate to fill teaching positions. We’ll look at the teacher shortage.”

Podcast: Teacher shortages? with special guest Dr. Pia Wong
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares a podcast with guest Dr. Pia Wong: “So what is really going on? What are the solutions? What are the implications of the current teacher shortage for equity and access? Are Teach For America and other alternative certification pathways the key to solving these shortages? These questions and more are addressed in this Cloaking Inequity podcast addressing the reemerging teacher shortage in schools.”

Teacher Shortages Across The U.S.
The Diane Rehm Show - NPR - Diane Rehm

Diane Rehm covered the topic of teacher shortages in the U.S. this week with guests: Linda Darling-Hammond, Stephen Sawchuk, Anthony Carnevale, Chad Aldeman, and Monica Vasquez. “As we head into the new academic year, we look at what’s causing a shortage in teachers and how some school districts are responding.”

Individual-Level VAM Scores Over Time: 'Less Reliable than Flipping a Coin'
Vamboozled - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley shares an article by Stuart Yeh from Teachers College Record. Yeh’s study, 'A re-analysis of the impacts of teacher replacement using value-added modeling,' investigates the assumptions of value-added models, including those from Chetty et al.

Sources of Influence on the Problem of a Validity Evidence Gap for Education Achievement Tests
Teachers College Record - Gabriel Della-Piana, Connie Kubo Della-Piana & Michael K. Gardner

Gabriel Della-Piana, Connie Kubo Della-Piana and Michael K. Gardner “build on previous scholarship describing signs that appropriate validity evidence for education achievement measures is either not gathered, not reported, or not accessible for independent review.”

Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble (Credentials Optional)
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich discusses staffing issues in districts around the country. Districts in many places around the country are having a hard time filling empty slots in classrooms.

New Orleans: Historical Enrollment and Exit Trends 9th Grade Cohorts - Part 1
Center for Action Research on Reforms - Charles Hatfield and Barbara Ferguson

Charles Hatfield and Barbara Ferguson completed a study of three ninth grade cohorts, beginning with the 2006-07 year. Their research shows that the percentage of Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) 9th graders who graduate within four years is almost double that of Recovery School District (RSD) 9th graders, and the RSD's dropout rate is nearly triple that of the OPSB. The Center (aka Research on Reforms) publishes reports on efforts to reform schools in New Orleans, Lousiana.

TNTP: Why Does Professional Development Suck?
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene looks at TNTP’s recent report on teacher professional development. His take, “TNTP used a long convoluted chain of possible cause and improbable effect to evaluate development. We could do better just by handing every teacher in the session a single question: was the session useful, middling, or a waste of time?”

New Orleans Test Scores Have 'Shot Up' 10 Years After Katrina, Report Says
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero reveals recent research from the Education Research Alliance (ERA) in New Orleans.  According to a report by Douglas Harris, student academic performance rose in New Orleans over the last decade. “The education overhaul following Hurricane Katrina boosted student performance by eight to 15 percentage points in the last decade. (That's effects of 0.2 to 0.4 standard deviations for the more statistically minded among you).”

'Reform' makes broken New Orleans schools worse: Race, charters, testing and the real story of education after Katrina
Salon - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire investigates the story behind the test score gains in New Orleans. The real cost of reforms, according to Berkshire is “… the 7,000 teachers whose firing was described as a wound that won’t heal; the shunting aside of special education students and English language learners, especially in the first years of the experiment; the loss of trust among New Orleanians who believe they’ve been shut out of any meaningful decision-making regarding their city’s schools.”

How far apart are Democrats and Republicans on school reform?
Brookings - Brown Center - Michael B. Henderson

Michael Henderson reflects on the differences between Democrats and Republicans on school reform. “Americans may value education, but as an issue it is not at the forefront of their minds.  When asked what they think is the most important issue facing the nation, only about five percent say education.”

On Ron Thorpe and The Bridge Between Teaching and Leading
07/29/2015 - José Luis Vilson

José Luis Vilson writes about teacher leadership and remembers Ron Thorpe, who passed away earlier this summer. Thorpe was the CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and an advocate for policies supporting and strengthening teacher leadership.

The Unexplored Consequences of Student Mobility
NEA Today - Jasmine Song

Jasmine Song shares information from a recent research brief from the National Education Policy Center on the causes, consequences of, and solutions to student mobility. The brief, by Russell Rumberger, professor of education at the University of California-Santa Barbara, highlights the pitfalls of student mobility and explores how policymakers, educators, parents and students can help ease the transitions associated with changing schools. This brief was funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

School of choice, or a revolving door?
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French covers a recent study by Michigan State University researchers on inter-district school choice in Michigan. According to the article, more than 80 percent of school districts in Michigan now allow school of choice students to enroll. The results of the study indicate: “fewer than half stay in that neighboring district. And the students who most often bounce between schools are the students most likely to be hurt academically by the instability.”

Is There A Pension Crisis?
Shanker Blog - David Cay Johnston

David Cay Johnston addresses the topic of defined benefit pensions: “But the principle remains. And the principle is that defined benefit pension plans are good market economics. They are efficient. And when they are under professional, competent, non-political management the only problems with them arise are from the failure to properly fund them, a failure that, in many cases, should lead to criminal prosecutions and imprisonment.”

Rethinking Teacher Preparation: Empowering Local Schools to Solve California's Teacher Shortage and Better Develop Teachers
Bellwether Education Partners - Sara Mead, Chad Aldeman, Carolyn Chuong, Julie Obbard

Bellwether Education Partners released a new report looking at how to strengthen California’s teacher supply–and improve the quality of teacher preparation at the same time.

The importance of the teacher supply to education reform
Brookings - Brown Center on Education Policy - Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno argues that insufficient attention to the supply of teachers may be preventing many education reforms, including teacher quality and evaluation efforts, from realizing their full potential.

Who's actually running America's charter schools?
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

How have you spent your summer? Bruce Baker, Rutgers University, has spent his summer studying charter schools. His recent blog post focuses on the distribution of charter school providers: “In all of this time that we’ve been allowing and inducing charter school growth, while studying KIPPs and others to validate positive effects – we’ve paid far too little attention to the actual distribution of providers out there.”

Why the Shortage of Latino Teachers in Chicago Schools?
Education Writers Association - Latino Ed Beat - Natalie Gross

Natalie Gross explores the shortage of latino teachers in Chicago schools:  “in a district where Hispanic students make up the largest racial or ethnic group at nearly 46 percent, a significantly smaller percentage of the teaching staff — 18.6 percent — is also Hispanic, according to figures on the CPS website.”

Research On Teacher Evaluation Metrics: The Weaponization Of Correlations
Shanker Institute - Cara Jackson, Urban Teacher Center

Cara Jackson, Urban Teacher Center, looks at multiple-measure teacher evaluation systems and responds to two conference presentations. “Given both the flawed nature of each individual measure, as well as the fact that these measures were intended to capture something that is complex and multifaceted, people should think twice before weaponizing correlations in an effort to support their claims about how good/bad a particular measure is.”

Accountability and the Erasure of Democracy
Educarenow Blog - Bill Boyle

Bill Boyle focuses his blog on the word “accountability” and how it functions. “And in thinking deeply about the role of accountability in education, we need to recognize the increasing, and mostly unconscious creep of economic utilitarianism beyond the bounds of economics and into all aspects of life. Essentially, this spread is represented by the ideology of market fundamentalism, which says that all value is reduced to the single value of economics. That is, all is commodified, has a price, and can thus be measured in terms of its efficiency, which is translated into its ability to reduce costs, to add monetary value as the ultimate value that can then be measured as profit.”

Public School Choice and Racial Sorting: An Examination of Charter Schools in Indianapolis
American Journal of Education - Marc L. Stein

Marc Stein, Johns Hopkins University, studied public school choice and racial isolation in Indianapolis: “I find evidence that the process of charter school choice in Indianapolis leads to higher degrees of racial isolation and less diversity within schools than is present in the underlying process of student school transfers in the public school district from which a majority of these students came.” The American Journal of Education is a paid site - non subscribers will only have access to the abstract.

Results of President Obama's Race to the Top: Win or lose, states enacted education reforms
Education Next - William G. Howell

William G. Howell describes his recent study on the effects of Obama’s Race to the Top on education policymaking around the country. “The overall findings ... indicate that Race to the Top had a meaningful impact on the production of education policy across the United States.”

Recruiting And Retaining Educators Of Color
Shanker Blog - Audra Watson, Travis Bristol, Terrenda White, & José Luis Vilson

Audra Watson, Travis Bristol, Terrenda White, and José Luis Vilson discuss teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention for educators of color. They make the following three recommendations: (1) districts must focus on retaining teachers of color; (2) teachers of color need differentiated professional development; and (3) teacher preparation programs must invest in teacher diversity. “If we are serious about improving outcomes for students of color, it is time to make this a part of our strategy. The policy recommendations above can begin to provide stakeholders with concrete strategies for increasing the racial/ethnic diversity of our country’s teaching force.”

Study Paints Sobering Picture of Unequal Access to Teacher Quality
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk breaks down a recent journal article from Educational Researcher written by Dan Goldhaber, Roddy Theobald, and Lesley Lavery. “Any way you define teacher quality, disadvantaged students, academically struggling students, and nonwhite students get fewer good teachers, concludes a new study.”

New Orleans Recovery School District Not Quite as Recovered as Advertised
National Education Policy Center - William J. Mathis, Huriya Jabbar, and Mark Gooden

Huriya Jabbar and Mark Gooden offer a response from the National Education Policy Center to recent claims by groups regarding reform efforts in New Orleans. “Ten years after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent reforms, there remain more questions than answers. Even if the reforms implemented under such a hyper-politicized arrangement show some clear gains in student achievement, as seems to be the case, it is important to attend to the serious equity concerns that remain in the system, and to examine other outcomes, beyond test scores.”

Controversial Wis. Licensing Proposals Deleted From Budget
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a controversial licensing program in Wisconsin, which would have let teaching applicants bypass training in pedagogy or teaching methods. “Wisconsin Republicans have nixed several proposals in budget legislation that would have eased teacher licensing rules, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.”

No More No Child Left Behind?
National Public Radio (NPR) - On Point - Michel Martin

Guest host Michel Martin discusses the end of No Child Left Behind with Lindsey Layton, of the Washington Post, Kati Haycock, of Education Trust, and Chester Finn, of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Lawmakers Move to Limit Government's Role in Education
The New York Times - Jennifer Steinhauer and Motoko Rich

Jennifer Steinhauer and Motoko Rich look at proposals to overhaul the controversial No Child Left Behind law. “Teachers, administrators and parents are wearied by the here-we-go-again congressional infighting, as they have also become increasingly angry about the central role played by standardized tests in their children’s lives, with protests and boycotts proliferating in recent years.”

Big News or Flawed Research? The New Special Education Controversy
Huffington Post - Kevin Welner and Russell Skiba

Kevin Welner, University of Colorado Boulder, and Russell Skiba, Indiana University, discuss erroneous education research in response to a new journal article by Paul Morgan and colleagues.

Can The 2016 Election Be About Making It Work For American Families?
Education Opportunity Network - Elaine Weiss

Elaine Weiss, Broader/Bolder Approach to Education, discusses the importance of the 2016 election: “This election must be about changing that reality and giving our children and their families a real future.”

Teach For America Counter Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out
Peter Lang International Academic Publishers - T. Jameson Brewer & Kathleen de Marrais

T. Jameson Brewer and Kathleen de Marrais have a new book out that shares the stories of Teach For America alumni: “This book – the first of its kind – provides alumni of TFA with the opportunity to share their insight on the organization. And perhaps more importantly, this collection of counter-narratives serves as a testament that many of the claims made by TFA are, in fact, myths that ultimately hurt teachers and students. No longer will alumni voices be silenced in the name of corporate and neoliberal education reform.”

After Pushback, White House Yields on College Ratings
Education Writers Association - Emily Richmond

Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association, speaks with Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, on the Obama Administration’s scaling back of college ratings: “After nearly two years of public debate, and vociferous pushback from the higher education community, the White House announced it is pulling back on plans to rate the nation’s colleges based on a complex matrix of performance measures and student outcomes.”

'Truths' Devoid of Empirical Proof: Underlying Assumptions Surrounding Value-Added Models in Teacher Evaluation
Teachers College Record - Jessica Holloway-Libell & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Jessica Holloway-Libell and Audrey Amrein-Beardsley look critically at the role of value-added models (VAMs) in educational policy. “Despite the overwhelming and research-based concerns regarding value-added models (VAMs), VAM advocates, policymakers, and supporters continue to hold strong to VAMs’ purported, yet still largely theoretical strengths and potentials. Those advancing VAMs have, more or less, adopted and promoted a set of agreed-upon, albeit 'heroic' set of assumptions, without independent, peer-reviewed research in support."

It All Turns on Affection
Educarenow Blog - Bill Boyle

Bill Boyle discusses the incongruity of imposing technocratic solutions in contexts, such as education, which require the “nexus of human relationship.”

ESEA falls short on dropout prevention
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski writes that efforts to reauthorize ESEA fall short on dropout prevention: “Even as the number of teen mothers has declined sharply, and juvenile arrests likewise have declined, the dropout rate—the percent of students who stop attending school in a year—has only fallen gradually from six percent to four percent in the last forty years.”

The Collapse of State School Finance Systems & Why It Matters
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker follows up on a recent post, which identified America’s 'Most Financially Disadvantaged School Districts.' He says: "It’s time to start fixing this. Accepting the evidence that substantive, sustained and targeted school finance reforms matter. And acknowledging the simple truth that maintaining such an inequitable system serves no legitimate public, national or state interest."

Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program 'significantly' increases college grad rates, study finds
Bridge Magazine - Julie Mack

Julie Mack tackles the effects of the Kalamazoo Promise. “To measure the impact of The Promise, researchers analyzed the changes over time in college enrollment, number of credits taken and post-secondary program completed for both students who qualified for The Promise and those who did not.”

Will Value-Added Reinforce The Walls Of The Egg-Crate School?
Shanker Blog - Susan Moore Johnson

Susan Moore Johnson, Harvard University, discusses policy implications for value-added methods (VAMS): “In this column, I bring an organizational perspective to the prospect of using VAMS to improve teacher quality. I suggest why, in addition to VAMS’ methodological limitations, reformers should be very cautious about relying on VAMS to make decisions that have important consequences for both teachers and their students.”

Walton Foundation-Funded Charter Schools Marred By Fiscal Mismanagement
Alternet - Steven Rosenfield

Steven Rosenfield reports on a new report from In the Public Interest and the American Federation of Teachers, 'Cashing in on Kids,' which is critical of the Walton Family Foundation’s involvement in school privatization efforts.

Time to End the Vicious Cycle of Inequality Begetting Unequal Education
Economic Policy Institute - Emma Garcia

Emma Garcia writes about a new EPI study of academic preparation of kindergarteners by social class and race.

Unfinished Business: Addressing Unequal Opportunities in Education
National Association of State Boards of Education - The State Education Standard - Peter Cookson

Peter W. Cookson Jr., Georgetown University, says: “As schools retool to prepare students for an economy in which critical thinking and collaboration are paramount, will all students share the benefits?”

Indiana Voucher Program Costs Climb to $40 Million, Says State Report
Education Week - Charter & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares information provided by the Indiana Department of Education that estimates Indiana’s voucher program cost the state $40m for 2014-15.

Take Me To Church [On TFA, #BlackLivesMatter, and Education]
06/15/2015 - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson tackles Michelle Malkin’s rant on Teach For America. “Her latest article, reposted by the diabolical folks at that news rag, poses Teach for America (TFA) as a once-well meaning do-gooder organization who’ve let the inmates run the asylum (yes, I know what I did there).”

Here's what Jeb Bush really did to public education in Florida
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss discusses Jeb Bush’s education portfolio. “Here’s what you won’t hear — and what is vital to know to fully assess Bush’s education reform record and to understand why his critics call him a privatizer — and not a reformer — of public education.”

Turnaround Trends: More States Consider Creating Their Own School Districts
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the findings of a new policy brief produced by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute on state reform and turnaround districts. The brief was written by Nelson Smith, senior adviser to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card
Education Law Center - Bruce Baker, David Sciarra, & Danielle Farrie

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card’ is coauthored by Bruce Baker of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education; David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center (ELC); and Danielle Farrie, ELC Research Director. According to the report, “Public school funding in most states continues to be unfair and inequitable, shortchanging the nation’s 49 million school public school students, especially those living in poverty, out of the educational opportunities they need to succeed. Despite an economic rebound, states have been slow to restore the cuts to K-12 education triggered by the 2007 downturn, and school funding remains below pre-recession levels in many states.”

Evidence of Grade and Subject-Level Bias in Value-Added Measures
Teachers College Record - Jessica Hollaway-Libell

Jessica Hollaway-Libell, Kansas State University, explores potential grade- and subject-level bias in value-added measures. “This research note investigates an unexplored feature of bias in VAM-based estimates—that which is associated with grade levels and subject areas. Findings contribute an alternative perspective regarding how we think about VAM-based bias and teacher classifications.”

What's Gone Wrong in Wisconsin?
Cloaking Inequity - Dave Vanness

Dave Vanness, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, discusses higher-education legislation in Wisconsin. Recent legislation has cut funding for the UW system, changed governance the structure of the university, and redefined tenure at the university level.

Can Charter Schools Be Rescued From the Charter Industry?
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker discusses charter schools, accountability, and public scrutiny. “As the [charter] sector's many failures pile up, educators and parents turn the spotlight on charter school accountability and transparency.”

Nevada's groundbreaking school-choice law: Help or hindrance to public system?
06/03/2015 - Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

Stacy Teicher Khadaroo covers a new Nevada law, which will allow virtually all K-12 parents to opt out of the public school system and use state education dollars for a “customized education.”

Silver Linings Casebook: How Vergara's Backers May Lose by Winning
University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class - Kevin Welner

According to Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), promoting a legal strategy to achieve one set of ends can open the door for very different uses; in this case, that of teacher job protections and education rights litigation. In their eagerness to take on teacher job protections, the plaintiffs in Vergara v. State of California and follow-up litigation in New York may be inviting litigation with very different goals for school policy and reform.

The Five Stages of Common Core on the Standards' 5th Anniversary
Education Week - State Ed Watch - Catherine Gewertz

Catherine Gewertz looks back on the last five years of Common Core State Standards. “Reaction to the common core seems to have progressed through distinct stages, not unlike the five stages of grief identified by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book ‘On Death and Dying.’”

Teacher To Teacher: Classroom Reform Starts With 'The Talk'
Shanker Blog - Melissa Halpern

Melissa Halpern, a high school English teacher and Ed.M candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, discusses how we talk to students and the need to make sense of the realities of everyday teaching practices. “What have students learned that is important to them, and what do they wish they could learn? What makes them feel happy and empowered at school? What makes them feel bored, stressed, or dehumanized?”

DC civil rights organizations fail to represent education civil rights agenda
The Hill - Judith Browne Dianis, John H. Jackson, and Pedro Noguera

Judith Browne Dianis, John H. Jackson, and Pedro Noguera discuss how civil rights organizations have failed to represent the education civil rights agenda when calling for testing under NCLB and ESEA renewal. “Data from these annual assessments are not a reasonable proxy for educational opportunity, and even more, educational equity. African American and Latino students are more likely to be suspended, expelled or pushed-out of school regardless of their performance on the test; and despite some improvement in graduation rates, significant disparities remain.”

For the Poor, the Graduation Gap Is Even Wider Than the Enrollment Gap
New York Times - The Upshot - Susan Dynarski

Susan Dynarski, the University of Michigan, tracks data from the Education Longitudinal Study (ELS). According to Dynarski, “Rich and poor students don’t merely enroll in college at different rates; they also complete it at different rates. The graduation gap is even wider than the enrollment gap.”

Education Makes The Progressive Punchlist
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses a new video featuring Robert Reich from, where Reich calls out ten ideas to “Reinvest Education.”

Educators and Parents Demand Less Testing...and Lawmakers Listen
NEA Today Online - John Rosales

John Rosales discusses national and state efforts to prioritize classtime and reduce students' time spent on testing.

Education reformers have it all wrong: Accountability from above never works, great teaching always does
Salon - Jal Mehta

Salon shares an excerpt of Jal Mehta’s new book: “The Allure of Order: High Hopes, Dashed Expectations, and the Troubled Quest to Remake American Schooling.” Mehta is an associate professor in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Ask a Teacher: How Should Teachers Really Be Evaluated?
05/22/2015 - Matt Collette

Matt Collette, shares Slate’s latest education podcast with the Teacher Project at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He asks three working teachers to answer questions submitted by listeners, including “If you were to design a system for evaluating teacher performance, what would it look like?”

Trust: The Foundation Of Student Achievement
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero shares some of her work on 'the social side of education' and discusses our narrow focus on student test scores. Quintero reports that she is at least 'hopeful' that there is a growing movement to view education, performance, and improvement more broadly. “We have a choice. We can continue to measure only what we are familiar with -- e.g., student learning using standardized tests -- or we can broaden what we measure -- e.g., non-cognitive student outcomes, social aspects of schools etc. All are valuable, and should play a role in school improvement.”

Are Schools To Blame For The Testing Circus As Much As Any Vendor Or Public Official?
05/21/2015 - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham shares a snippet of his recent piece that ran in U.S. News & World Report. “It turns out, surprisingly enough, when adults in a school make tests into a big deal – telling kids they really matter, wearing matching shirts for solidarity, holding pep rallies, emphasizing test prep rather than teaching and launching parent-teacher association campaigns to make sure everyone is fortified with enough snacks – the kids pick up on it. A cynic might think it’s a deliberate effort to sour parents on the tests.”

61 Years After Brown v. Board Of Education, Many Schools Remain Separate And Unequal
Huffington Post - Rebecca Klein

Rebecca Klein covers the 61st anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. “In many states, there continues to be stark disparities in resources provided to black students and white students. In Nevada, for example, high-minority school districts receive significantly less state and local funding per pupil than low-minority districts.”

The State of Preschool 2014
National Institute for Early Education Research - Steven Barnett

The 2014 State Preschool Yearbook is the newest edition of our annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2013-2014 school year as well as documenting more than a decade of change since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year.

Thoughts on School Funding & Baltimore
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker looks at school funding Maryland and discusses the context of how Baltimore schools are organized and funded. “Baltimore certainly isn’t proof positive of the failure of pouring tons of money into traditional urban public school districts. First, we haven’t poured that much money into Baltimore, given its needs. Second, it hasn’t performed as poorly as some might characterize.”

Does High-Stakes Testing & Accountability = Social Justice & Civil Rights?
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares his recent Social Justice Keynote for the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA). “High-stakes tests were created to sort, they were not created for civil rights and social justice purposes. However, now that the federal government is requiring and monitoring high-stakes testing, they have been retread as civil rights and social justice.”

Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...: This Week's 'Round-Up' of Useful Posts & Articles on Ed Policy Issues
NEPC Best of the Edblogs - Larry Ferlazzo

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) recently shared Larry Ferlazzo’s weekly ‘round-up’ of education policy blogs and articles.

Why Math Is A Social Justice Issue [Edutopia]
Edutopia - José Vilson

José Vilson discusses math literacy, advanced requirements for graduation, and dropouts in his recent piece for Edutopia. “Equity shows up here as the foundation for ensuring that all students have the opportunity to take math, and have multiple doors open to them because of the math they take.”

System Failure: Louisiana's Broken Charter School Law
Center for Popular Democracy

The Center for Popular Democracy released a new report, ‘System Failure: Louisiana's Broken Charter School Law,’ which investigates Louisiana’s financial oversight of charter schools. “Without reform, Louisianans face many more years of failing schools and millions—if not billions—of dollars more lost to charter school fraud and financial mismanagement.”

Silencing Dialogue: More on Turning the Deficit Gaze
Educarenow - Bill Boyle

Bill Boyle discusses the language of deficit-oriented beliefs, unintentional racism, and how critical voices of the dominant culture are silenced.

Those Kids, Our Schools: Race and Reform in an American High School
Harvard Education Press - Shayla Reese Griffin

In her new book, “Those Kids, Our Schools,” Shayla Reese Griffin examines patterns of racial interaction in a large, integrated high school and makes a powerful case for the frank conversations that educators could and should be having about race in schools.

'Don't Yelp Us!' Debate Over Teacher Evaluation Data Spawns a New Bad Idea
NEA Today Online - Jasmine Song & Tim Walker

Jasmine Song & Tim Walker discuss the debate surrounding teacher privacy, transparency and student test scores. “The debate reemerged recently when a parent in Loudon County, VA, filed a lawsuit against state officials requesting the release of the state’s teacher evaluation data.”

Schools of Opportunity: the inaugural winners
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner & Carol Burris

Kevin Welner & Carol Burris share the results of the "Schools of Opportunity" project, which “seeks to identify and recognize public high schools that seek to close opportunity gaps through practices ‘that build on students’ strengths’ — not by inundating them with tests.”

Research and the pursuit of equity under ESEA
Bookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski discusses the role of research in recent drafts to reauthorize ESEA. “Current drafts of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) fall short of a commitment to use research to improve education. The bills—the ‘Student Success Act’ in the House and the ‘Every Child Achieves Act’ in the Senate—no doubt represent compromises and tradeoffs as any major legislation would. But who is arguing for less research and innovation in education?”

Teaching = Thinking + Relationship
Shanker Blog - Bryan Mascio

Bryan Mascio, former teacher and current doctoral student at HGSE, discusses teaching, school reforms, and professionalism. “True education reform can only come once we stop thinking of our students and teachers as objects to be trained and, instead, begin to see teaching and learning as highly complex cognitive processes that have vital relationships at their core.”

Most states lacked expertise to improve worst schools
Washington Post - Lyndsey Layton

Lyndsey Layton shares results from a new brief released by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which studied School Improvement Grants (SIGs). “Eighty percent of states and the District told federal researchers that their states had at least one significant gap in expertise needed to significantly improve the worst schools.”

Opt-out parents have a point
American Enterprise Institute - Fredrick M. Hess

Rick Hess attempts to make sense of the opt-out movement and what it means for education reform. “But there’s another possibility. It’s that these parents are being reasonable when they worry that the reform agenda, whatever its merits when it comes to schools steeped in dysfunction, does more harm than good for their kids.”

John Oliver Explains Everything That's Wrong With Standardized Testing
Huffington Post - Ed Mazza

Ed Mazza shares John Oliver’s recent segment on standardized testing. John Oliver is a former correspondent for the “Daily Show,” and now hosts his own comedy news program on HBO called “Last WeekTonight.” It is worth the time to watch the segment!

Pumping Up the Teacher Pipeline
NEA Today Online - Cindy Long

Cindy Long shares information from a recent report from ACT that shows a decline in high school graduates who intend to go into teaching. “Along with low pay, decreasing enrollment in education programs is also a reaction to the recession years when the bottom dropped out of education funding. In the 2008-2009 school year, teaching positions were slashed around the country and tens of thousands of educators were given pink slips.”

Who wants to teach? Prep program numbers declining
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins reports on sharp enrollment decreases in teacher preparation programs. “Statewide, enrollment in teacher prep programs declined 38% from 2008-09 to 2012-13, according to the most recent federal data available. Nationally, the drop was 30% during the same time period.”

The Persistence Of School And Residential Segregation
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo
Matt Di Carlo discusses school and housing segregation in U.S. education policy. “It follows, then, that discussions about the current, alarmingly high rates of school segregation, particularly that between districts, are far more serious and complicated than is often suggested, and that the ‘maintenance’ of residential integration – the primary precondition for school integration – may be even more difficult than its establishment.”
What 'The Cage-Busting Teacher' Means For School Reformers
Education Next - Fredrick Hess
Rick Hess offers advice, based on his recent work ’The Cage-Busting Teacher,’ to school reformers. “The key is to treat teachers as adults who are able—and who deserve—to hear both the good and the bad. This is how we talk to professionals we respect. Of course, as I frequently tell teachers, it’s then on them to respond in kind.”
An Alternative To Failed Education 'Reform,' If We Want One
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant reacts to the opt-out movement and standardized testing. He presents alternatives to our current failed reform agenda. Specifically, Bryant looks at California as an outlier to the national NCLB-era accountability.

The next phase of teacher evaluation reform: It's up to you, New York, New York!
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane believes that New York’s second round of teacher evaluation reforms could provide a blueprint for other states as they tweak their own systems.

Why Aren't More School Leaders and Teachers Joining Forces to Get Rid of Destructive Policy?
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan
Nancy Flanagan asks an important question: Why Aren't More School Leaders and Teachers Joining Forces to Get Rid of Destructive Policy? “So why aren't teachers, parents and school leaders everywhere joining forces to put a stop to the worst of it--the selling off of public resources to for-profit CMOs, teacher evaluation by test data and loss of local control over core work: curriculum, instruction, assessment?”
What about those high income families that opted out long before the school year started?
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker digs into the outrage against the opt-out movement and presents evidence that high income families are already opting out of testing (by attending private schools). “Annual testing of everyone really isn’t annually testing everyone anyway, and as a result, really isn’t serving the public interest as well as you might think!”

We Have to Fix School Funding Formulas, Experts Say, But Where's the Political Will?
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares commentary from a recent panel on education funding at the Education Writers Association National Seminar in Chicago on April 20. “The panelists agreed that the dialogue over school funding can get bogged down in specifics over dollar amounts. Education funding can increase in a specific state, but unless it is distributed fairly and effectively, opportunity gaps will likely not be reduced.”

New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD) Proponents Now Offer a Disclaimer
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares a snippet of a piece originally published by Mercedes Schneider on the state-run Recovery School District (RSD) in New Orleans.

History of Shanker, Charters and the Search for Teacher Voice
Advancing Teaching - Richard Kahlenberg

Richard Kahlenberg discusses teacher voice in decision-making, tapping into teacher wisdom, charter schools, and his biography of Albert Shanker. “In researching the Albert Shanker bio, I was struck that when he proposed charter schools, teacher empowerment was at the center of his thesis.”

Early Results Show Common Core Boosts Achievement in Kentucky
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min shares new research, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, on student achievement under the Common Core State Standards in Kentucky. It is interesting to note that the researchers used ACT scores and not CCSS aligned tests for the study - Kentucky was an early adopter of CCSS aligned tests.

'Where's the Accountability?' Ignoring Poor Track Record, Lawmakers Push Voucher Expansion
NEA Today Online - Kinjo Kiema

Kinjo Kiema discusses public opinion and policies related to school voucher expansion. “Voucher programs have become easy money for private schools. Who ends up footing the bill? Students and taxpayers.”

Teacher Leadership on the Global Stage
Homeroom - Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education - Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan shares his response to a recent summit on the teaching profession. “I came away from the summit discussions with a renewed energy and commitment to teacher leadership and collaboration at all levels of education.”

As policymakers consider a reauthorized ESEA, let's try using what we know about federal policies for school improvement.
Center for Education Policy - Jennifer McMurrer, Diane Stark Rentner, & Nancy Kober

This blog from the Center for Education Policy discusses the "lessons learned from CEP’s research on state, district, and school implementation of federal school improvement policies and programs and urges the Congress to consider these findings as it works to reauthorize ESEA."

NYSED Recommends 'Teacher Effectiveness Gnomes' to Fix Persistent Inequities
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker reviews a proposal from NYSED to address teacher equity. “I guess I knew that when ED released their 'teacher equity' regs late fall of 2014, that we were in for a whole lot of stupid.”

Bigger Classes for Better Teachers? Not So Fast, [Review] Says
Education Week - Teaching Now - Jordan Moeny

Jordan Moeny reports on a review of a recently released report that suggested that districts could save money and improve learning by offering the most effective teachers higher salaries to take on slightly larger classes. A review by Patricia Hinchey finds significant flaws in the idea. This review, produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), was funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Opt-out movement likely inconsequential for teacher evaluations
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Matthew Chingos

Matt Chingos talks opt-outs, New York evaluations, and policy implications for value-added models. “The broader lessons is that while opt-out may have some success as a political strategy, it is unlikely to have much of a direct, broad-based impact on the teacher evaluation system in New York or any other state.”

Don't opt out of standardized tests, Ann Arbor superintendent asks parents
MLive - Lindsay Knake

Lindsay Knake shares a request from Ann Arbor (Mich.) schools superintendent to parents, asking them not to opt-out of the interim assessments. The Michigan Department of Education recently informed districts in Michigan that there is no policy for opting out of standardized testing, and that schools who miss percentage requirements will be held accountable. Parents in Michigan have the right to opt-out of tests, but there is no policy that holds schools harmless for large numbers of opt-outs.

Charter Schools, Special Education Students, And Test-Based Accountability
Shanker Blog - Matthew DiCarlo

Matt DiCarlo discusses special education students, charter schools, and accountability. “Regardless of why it occurs, this gap does seem to exist in most places (and it may be even larger if one looks at students with the most severe disabilities), and some charter school supporters are calling on operators to address it. I have no idea if charter schools could be effective in serving this student population if they made more a more concerted effort to do so.”

Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms
Harvard Education Press - H. Richard Milner, IV

Richard Milner has a new book out on poverty and race in schools. “Milner looks carefully at the circumstances of these students’ lives and describes how those circumstances profoundly affect their experiences within schools and classrooms. In a series of detailed chapters, Milner proposes effective practices—at district and school levels, and in individual classrooms—for school leaders and teachers who are committed to creating the best educational opportunities for these students.”

At Success Academy Charter Schools, High Scores and Polarizing Tactics
New York Times - Kate Taylor

Kate Taylor details the practices at Success Academy in New York City, operated by controversial charter school leader Eva Moskowitz.

Recruiting Educators of Color In The Time of Race To The Top
04/06/2015 - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson discusses recruitment and retention for educators of color. “Can schools, regardless of label, attract and retain people who want to work in the most difficult situations if our society continues to reflect that hardship on them?”

Why Can't Politicians Get Out of Schooling?
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess, as a part of his Cage-Busting Teacher tour, reacts to a common refrain from teachers about "why policymakers don’t mind their own business and let educators run the schools." He continues, “I get the frustration. It’s understandable, especially when teachers are knocking themselves out and doing their best. There’s a sense that a bunch of talkers and dilettantes are giving marching orders to the people who actually do the work. These are fair and valid concerns.”

Resistance To Standardized Testing Not Going Away
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant looks into the growing backlash over standardized testing, opt-outs, and test-driven education. "But all the money in the world won’t be able to wash away the dirty business of test-driven education, as more and more personal stories come forth revealing the damage being done to teachers, and in turn, to students and families."

Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: State Sen. Alberta Darling's Recovery District Idea is Designed to Fail
National Education Policy Center - Alex Molnar

Alex Molnar reviews a Wisconsin proposal to expand choice in Milwaukee schools.  Sen. Alberta Darling (Wisc.) has proposed a “recovery district” modeled after Tennessee, Louisiana, and Detroit. “A ‘Recovery District’ represents more of the same. It would further fragment Milwaukee's taxpayer-funded education system and open wide the door to more private for-profit and non-profit management organizations — many of which have proven much better at funneling taxpayer dollars to their managers and/or owners and investors than educating students.”

Nancie Atwell Gets It Exactly Right
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to coverage of Nancie Atwell’s remarks about the future of teaching. “I deeply admire Atwell's courage. I agree that teaching is an amazing, rewarding profession--and what I love most about Atwell's response is that she recognizes that will still live in a hierarchal education world--and she spoke clearly about what she sees. She's keeping her torch.”

Skull Measurements, Achievement Data and the Destruction of the Public School System
Educarenow - Bill Boyle
Bill Boyle discusses achievement data, bias, and re-framing our language around the “achievement gap” or other deficit thinking. “So let’s top talking about ‘achievement’ and let’s start talking about learning.  Let’s stop standardized testing and instead focus on contextual assessment and useful feedback. And let’s stop talking about the ‘achievement gap’ and start addressing the conditions of inequality that it reflects.”
Lessons And Directions From The CREDO Urban Charter School Study
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo dissected last week’s CREDO study on urban charter schools. He cautions that the discussion is nuanced and cannot be simply boiled down to talking points. “The fact that pooling together thousands of schools across two dozen states yields a modest-to-moderate positive relative impact for charters is obviously a noteworthy finding, one that should not be dismissed or downplayed, but the real policy value of these results is hidden beneath – how and whether these estimated effects vary by specific policies and practices, at the state-, district- and especially the school-level.”

$1 Million Global Teacher Prize Winner is Dead Wrong
Real Clear Education - Dan Brown, Future Educators Association

Dan Brown reacts strongly to Nancie Atwell’s recent comments discouraging young people from considering a teaching career. Atwell recently was awarded the Global Teacher Prize, considered by many to be “the Nobel Price for teaching.”

New Student Growth Measure For Accountability in Michigan
Michigan State University - Green & Write Education Policy Research Insights - Adrienne Hu
Adrienne Hu attempts to add clarity to new growth measures for Michigan. “The new measure – Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) – will replace the mix of measures that the state has been using in its accountability system to measure individual students’ learning across different grade levels over one or more years.”
Grading Teachers by the Test
New York Times - Edwardo Porter

The New York Times’ Edwardo Porter takes an in depth look at the debate surrounding high-stakes testing and teacher evaluations. “In this heated debate, however, it is important not to lose sight of Goodhart’s Law. Most of these studies measured the impact of test scores when tests carried little weight for teachers’ future careers. But what happens when tests determine whether a teacher gets a bonus or keeps his or her job?”

New Studies Find That, for Teachers, Experience Really Does Matter
Education Week - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on two recent studies demonstrating that teachers may get better with experience. “In fact, they suggest the average teacher's ability to boost student achievement increases for at least the first decade of his or her career—and likely longer.”

Cyber Schools Are Failing, So Why Are They Expanding?
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares the results of a recently released research brief by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). “Full-time virtual schools – many of them organized as charters – continue to lag behind traditional public schools on graduation rates, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and state performance rankings.” The brief was funded in part by the Great Lakes Center.

Urban Charter Schools Outperform District Peers, CREDO Study Says
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero reposts a press release from the Center for Research On Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford. The report stated: “Nationally, urban charter schools are significantly out-performing their district counterparts in both reading and math.” The work was funded by the Walton Foundation.

Arizona Stories from School: Where are the Teacher Voices?
NEPC - Best of the Ed blogs - John Spencer

John Spencer discusses the lack of teachers “at the table” in policy discussions. “I once watched a panel discussion on teacher leadership that didn’t include a single current classroom teacher. I’ve seen panels on teacher retention that never once asked a teacher to articulate his or her experience with burnout.”

New York City's Fractured Relationship With Teachers Of Color
The Jose Vilson - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson shares his experience at the Teaching and Learning Conference. His blog focuses on the realities facing teachers of color. “For many of us who sought to affect change in our schools, we’re immediately snapped out of our naiveté, staring directly at the outdated curricula, the flimsy laptops, and the antiquated infrastructure and think ’It’s worse than I thought.’ Thus, we leave.”

Teacher Quality - Still Plenty Of Room For Debate
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero reacts to a New York Times “Room for Debate,” which focused on improving teacher quality. “The problem is that there are important aspects of teacher quality that continue to be ignored in policy discussions, despite compelling evidence suggesting that they matter in the quality equation. In other words, I wasn’t disappointed with what was said, but rather, what wasn’t.”

Connecticut Union Offers Proposal to End Common-Core Tests
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk looks at a proposal from the Connecticut Education Association, which would do away with assessments administered by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and replace them with progress tests.

Leaders of Oakland, Dearborn and Washtenaw schools are finalists for [Michigan] state superintendent job
MLive - Kyle Feldscher

Kyle Feldscher reports on the finalists to be the next Michigan superintendent of public instruction. Long-time education leader Mike Flanagan is set to retire July 1, 2015. The next leader faces a diminished capacity, as Gov. Rick Snyder has threatened to remove the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) and other education reform efforts from the jurisdiction of the department of education. Michigan elects their board of education, and the board then appoints the superintendent. The superintendent is the only cabinet position in Michigan that is not appointed by the governor.

A Breakout Role for Teachers
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess shares excerpts from “The Cage-Busting Teacher,” a follow up book to his earlier “Cage-Busting Leadership.” He says, “In my new book, The Cage-Busting Teacher, I explore the reality that teachers inhabit a ‘cage’ of their own—but a very different one from that which ensnares school or system administrators. The teacher cage is all the routines, rules, and habits that exhaust teachers’ time and energy. Breaking free means being eager to champion excellence, identify important problems, offer concrete solutions, and bring those solutions to life.”

Do you have five minutes to understand whether TeachForAmerica is effective?
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig digs into results from a recent Mathematica study of Teach For America (TFA). “Is TFA really in alignment with a vision for providing every student a high quality teacher? Or do they, Mathematica et al. just keep telling us that they are?”

Presidents, Congress, and the Public Schools: The Politics of Education Reform
Harvard Education Press - Jack Jennings

Jack Jennings, founder and former CEO of the Center on Education Policy (CEP), has a new book out on federal efforts in education.

'Teach to the Test' Robbing Newcomer Students of Precious Language-Learning Time
NEA Today - John Rosales

John Rosales discusses newcomer students, English language learners, and issues related to testing. “[H]urried students are being put through a regiment of word drills, grammar exercises and rote memorization designed to arm them with basic facts and test-taking skills. This approach of teaching to the test – repetition without full comprehension – is designed to help students score well on federally mandated multiple-choice tests.”

Frustrated with the pace of progress in education? Invest in better evidence
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane makes the case more investment in education research, “we need more investments in evidence by state and local decision-makers.”

What Can Educators Learn From 'Bunkum' Research?
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares the Bunkum Awards for Shoddy Research, “recognizing the lowlights [sic] in education research” conducted by think tanks in 2014. The reviews used for the awards were funded in part by the Great Lakes Center.

It's Not Looking Good for ESEA Reauthorization
Education Next - Rick Hess

Rick Hess covers the rocky reauthorization process for NCLB/ESEA. “The bottom line is that it’s looking increasingly like Secretary Duncan is going get to keep on enjoying his waivers through January 2017.”

Turning Conflict Into Trust Improves Schools And Student Learning
Shanker Blog - Greg Anrig

Greg Anrig, vice president of policy and programs at The Century Foundation, discusses what makes successful schools work, five organizational features from work in Chicago, and labor-management collaborations.

There Is No 'How To' For Teacher Leadership
03/01/2015 - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson looks at why it’s difficult to create a step-by-step guide for becoming a teacher leader.

Conceptions of Equity, Equal Opportunity and Adequacy
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker dives into key questions regarding equal outcomes, equity, and opportunity in education. “The goal of school finance policy in particular is to provide the resources to offset pre-existing inequalities in the likelihood that one child has greater chance of achieving the desired outcome levels than any other.”

Building a Democratic School Community Around Issues and Values
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Deborah Meier

The so-called charter school "movement" needs to be stopped precisely so that its better parts can survive and inform school communities, says Deborah Meier in an exchange on changing the prevailing mindset around the purpose of schools.

Is it Groundhog Day for school choice?
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst and Ellie Klein

The Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings recently released the fourth iteration of the Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI). This blog by Russ Whitehurst and Ellie Klein discusses reaction to Senator Lamar Alexander’s keynote address at the release.

School funding should help all poor kids, not just some
Detroit Free Press Editorial Board

This Detroit Free Press Editorial discusses the revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which would take money intended to help poverty-dense districts like Detroit or Flint and send it to places where far fewer poor students live.

Dumb And Dumber In The Republican House Education Bill
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses HR5, the "Student Success Act," which offers the House GOP version of an ESEA rewrite.

New REL Report Demonstrates How Methodology Decisions Can Affect What Schools are Identified as Beating the Odds
IES - RELMidwest - Yasuyo Abe, Phyllis Weinstock, Vincent Chan, Coby Meyers, R. Dean Gerdeman, W. Christopher Brandt

A number of states and school districts have identified schools that perform better than expected given the populations they serve in order to recognize these schools or to learn from their practices and policies. To identify schools that seem to "beat the odds," states and school districts have adopted various methodological approaches. In partnership with the Beating the Odds Research Alliance, Regional Education Laboratory Midwest used data from Michigan to examine how the selection of statistical methods and technical specifications leads to variation in lists of schools identified as beating the odds. The purpose of this study was to examine how a list of BTO schools might change depending on the methodological choices and selection of indicators used in the BTO identification process.

Why we need to smash up the concept of the achievement gap in tiny little pieces
Hechinger Report - Andre Perry
Andre Perry lays out an agenda to alter the language of deficit as we discuss educational progress. “Scholars, this should be the last time you read or write anything with achievement gap in the title. Black men need more justice than comparisons and juxtapositions.”
Report Highlights Features of Districts' Differentiated-Pay Systems
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares a press release from the Center for American Progress, which recently released a report on alternative teacher-compensation systems. The report offers a rundown of districts that have moved to new systems for compensation. Sawchuk dismisses the value of experience and education in designing teacher compensation systems.

Slowing Down to Learn: Mindful Pauses That Can Help Student Engagement
KQED - MindShift - Patricia A. Jennings

The blog is a selection from the book “Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom,” by Patricia A. Jennings. This section is from the chapter entitled “Orchestrating Classroom Dynamics.”

Professional Capital as Accountability
Education Policy Analysis Archives - Michael Fullan, Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, Andrew Hargreaves
Michael Fullan, Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, and Andrew Hargreaves look to build internal accountability and the professional capital of teachers and leaders rather than accountability based on “superficial structural solutions (e.g., professional standards of practice).”
More than 500 researchers sign NCLB letter to Congress: stop test-focused reforms
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares information regarding a petition to Congress, which comes from university based researchers and calls for the end to test-focused school reforms. Update: the petition now includes more than 1000 names.

Teachers' Use of Assessment Data to Inform Instruction: Lessons From the Past and Prospects for the Future
Teachers College Record - Amanda Datnow and Lea Hubbard

Amanda Datnow and Lea Hubbard look into the available research on teachers' use of data for instructional improvement. “The article reviews research on the types of assessment data teachers use to inform instruction, how teachers analyze data, and how their instruction is impacted.”

Behind the curtain in Montgomery County
Washington Post - Opinion - Melinda Anderson and Frances Frost
Melinda Anderson and Frances Frost look into the realities behind the “curtain” of the Montgomery County Public Schools. “As Montgomery County Public Schools navigates its way through profound change, it needs stability and perseverance. That’s why the abrupt departure of Superintendent Joshua P. Starr is a major blow and a loss for the district’s 154,000 students and for parents and teachers.”
Doug Lemov Reveals His Secrets
Education Next - Kathleen Porter-Magee

Kathleen Porter-Magee shares remarks delivered as an introduction to Doug Lemov, who spoke at a recent Fordham Institute panel. Lemov is author of the popular book, Teach Like a Champion, which places a heavy emphasis on behavior modification in teaching practices.

Will Congress Learn from No Child Left Behind's Core Flaws?
National Education Policy Center - Kevin Welner & Bill Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder

Kevin Welner & Bill Mathis, National Education Policy Center, University of Colorado Boulder, have crafted a policy memo, which discusses the current policy debates regarding the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Replace Michigan's prep test for aspiring teachers
Bridge Magazine - Commentary - Robert Maxfield, Oakland University

Robert Maxfield, interim dean of education at Oakland University, reacts to a recent Bridge Magazine article on Michigan’s new Professional Readiness Exam (PRE).  Maxfield outlines his dream of a comprehensive assessment of teacher preparedness that ensures that candidates are highly qualified, and that they are supported throughout their careers.

What's the purpose of education in the 21st century?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Arthur Camins

Arthur Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology, looks at the varying purposes of education. Recently, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker attempted to shift the focus of education in Wisconsin toward workforce development.

Teacher Evaluations: Uncle Sam, Exit Stage Left
Education Next - Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick discusses the federal role in establishing teacher evaluation systems. “I think the work of teaching is so extraordinarily complex and teachers are so tightly woven into the fabric of school communities that any attempt by faraway federal officials to tinker with evaluation systems is a fool’s errand.”

Amidst all the challenges facing education today, teachers want you to know that they still #LoveTeaching
Eclectablog - Gary Abud

Gary Abud, a former Michigan Teacher of the Year, shares information about an online campaign to engage teachers to share why they love teaching.  “You are invited to join teachers everywhere and take part in this weeklong blogging and social media campaign to share using the #LoveTeaching hashtag across all social channels.”

Pearson's philanthropy entwined with business interests
Politico - Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon investigated how Pearson’s Charitable Foundation was intertwined with its business interests.

The Decade-Plus Teaching Career: How to Retain Effective Teachers Through Teacher Leadership
Teach Plus - Colleen McCann and Sasha Zuflacht

A recent report from Teach Plus makes the case for teacher leadership as a vehicle to retain effective teachers, reduce the high attrition rate, and increase the influence of teachers in policy decisions.

Improving Accountability in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski discusses the debate surrounding the reauthorization of ESEA, accountability under NCLB, and consequences regarding the future of testing and accountability.

Charters flood top and bottom of Academic State Champs rankings
Bridge Magazine - Ben Freed, MLive

The Center for Michigan, and its online publication, Bridge Magazine, released a statewide ranking system for schools, which was based on a combination of high-stakes test scores and socioeconomic percentages in school districts across Michigan.

'Choice' Denying Opportunity?
Learning First Alliance - Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director NSBA

Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the National School Boards Association, discusses National School Choice Week, community schools, vouchers, and charter schools. “It's time to debunk the myth of choice. It's time to reveal the profiteers who are funding the school choice movement to line their own pockets. It's time to look at real results, and see that student performance data does not support educational privatization. It's time to recognize that ‘real choice’ is in the public schools, not ‘out there.’”

The Cost of Stupid: Families for Excellent Schools Totally Bogus Analysis of NYC Schools
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker debunks a recent report from Families for Excellent Schools of New York, which he finds to be “an impossibly stupid analysis.”

Report Analyzes Teach For America's Growing Pains
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares a press release from Bellwether Education Partners, which released a paper on the growth of and challenges facing Teach For America. Teach For America funded the paper as part of a federally funded i3 grant.

The Persistent Misidentification Of 'Low Performing Schools'
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo uses Colorado education data to look at the misidentification of “failing” or “low performing” schools.

Educational Expertise, Advocacy, and Media Influence
Educational Policy Analysis Archives - Joel R. Malin & Christopher Lubienski

Joel R. Malin & Christopher Lubienski look at the efforts of “advocacy organizations to advance their preferred policies despite conflicting evidence of the effectiveness of these policies raise questions about factors that shape successful policy promotion.”

Group pushes for new Detroit schools commission
Detroit Free Press - Ann Zaniewski

Ann Zaniewski looks at a plan hatched by Excellent Schools Detroit, which wants to create a commission that would oversee school openings and closings, transportation and enrollment in Detroit [for public and charter schools].

More Money, More Money, More Money? Have we really ever tried sustained, targeted school funding for America's neediest children?
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker reacts to policymakers who argue that we "can’t throw more money" at schools and expect better results. Baker lays out a case that we need to change the discussion and look at targeted funding for America’s neediest children.  “We’ve never really tried. These districts and the children they serve have never – in the past 20 years been given a fair shot.”

The case against federal accountability mandates in education
Thomas Fordham Institute - Flypaper Blog - Michael Petrilli

Mike Petrilli discusses Congressional overhaul of the No Child Left Behind act and the role of the federal government in education.

Debunking one myth about U.S. teachers
Hechinger Report - Education by the Numbers - Jill Barshay

Jill Barshay attempts to debunk the myth that only the world’s top performing countries draw teachers from the best and brightest in their societies, while the U.S. selects from the bottom third. Recent research shows that the new wave of teachers is coming into the profession with higher scores on high-stakes standardized tests.

Why Detroit's new school leadership won't much matter
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey
Chastity Pratt Dawsey discusses Detroit Public Schools’ new emergency manager and school improvement in the city.
Michigan State study: Charter school opponents make less effective arguments than supporters
01/22/2015 - Kyle Feldscher

Kyle Feldscher reports on a recent study by Sarah Reckhow and Matt Grossman, Michigan State, who analyzed survey results related to school choice talking points. The findings indicate that charter school opponents [those who favor traditional public schools] have a harder time making arguments than supporters of charter schools [in favor of increased school choice].

Fixing Our Broken System Of Testing And Accountability: The Reauthorization Of ESEA
Shanker Blog - Stephen Lazar

Stephen Lazar, NYC teacher, testified before the United States Senate HELP committee’s hearing on ESEA reauthorization.

Parents Confront Obstacles as School Choice Expands
Education Week - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero discusses the plight of parents in high-choice cities. “Research shows that an abundance of school choice doesn't guarantee access, and many parents in high-choice cities struggle to find adequate information, transportation, and, ultimately, the right school for their children.”

Two Bush Brothers With Two Takes On School Accountability
01/20/2015 - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham shares two stories looking at how former president George W. Bush and his brother Jeb differ on education policy. Jeb Bush, former Florida governor, is considering a run for the White House in 2016.

Why Annual Statewide Testing Is Critical to Judging School Quality
The Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Matthew M. Chingos and Martin R. West

Matthew M. Chingos and Martin R. West discuss Congress moving to revise NCLB and make a claim that statewide testing is necessary.

Koch brothers/charter school nightmare: 'White kids get to go to a school with a Montessori approach while children of color get eye control'
Salon - Jeff Bryant
Jeff Bryant profiles charter school conversion in Nashville; a proxy for dangerous right-wing education ideas.
The Subgroup Scam & Testing Everyone Every Year
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker further discusses the misguided arguments for maintaining a system of annual standardize testing of all students.
The EAA: Past, present, and future
Metro Times - Curt Guyette

Curt Guyette, Detroit Metro Times, reviews ongoing controversy, personnel changes, and a recent research brief about Detroit’s controversial Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

Cutting through the Stupid in the Debate over Annual Testing
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker offers his thoughts on annual testing. “Here’s my quick run-down on a) the purposes of testing in schools, b) how to implement testing to best address those purposes, c) the right and wrong uses of testing with respect to civil rights concerns, and d) the role of common standards in all of this.”

U.S. education policy: Federal overreach or reaching for the wrong things?
The Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Arthur H. Camins

Arthur H. Camins explores the federal overreach in education, NCLB, ESEA reauthorization, and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). “The proper role for the federal government is to be the guarantor of justice and equity.”

Redesigning Teacher Evaluation: Lessons from a Pilot Implementation
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) - REL Northeast & Islands

REL Northeast and Islands conducted a study of the implementation of new teacher evaluation systems in New Hampshire’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools. Researchers identified several factors related to implementation: (1) capacity of administrators to conduct evaluations; (2) initial and on-going evaluator training; (3) the introduction and design of student learning objectives; and (4) the professional climate of schools, including the support of the new system by teachers and evaluators.

The Nonexistent Secret Sauce in Hiring Good Teachers
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan quickly reviews Jose Vilson’s new book, “This is Not a Test,” and suggests readers pick up a copy. Among her assorted thoughts, she discusses questionable assumptions that people make when hiring teachers: “choosing the right teacher matters more than the teaching, teachers should come into the work with a pre-packaged set of well-developed competencies that will never change, a ‘good’ teacher will deliver improved quantitative data under all working conditions.”

The Case for Annual Testing
Brookings Institution - Brown Center Chalkboard - Russ Whitehorse, Martin West, Matthew Chingos, and Mark Dynarski

Russ Whitehorse, Martin West, Matthew Chingos, and Mark Dynarski discuss things that need fixing under NCLB. They make the case for retaining the annual testing requirements under ESEA to produce information on growth in student achievement.

Study Questions Stock Teacher-Turnover Stat
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a new document from the Center for American Progress (CAP) about the oft cited claim that 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years.

Technology in the Classroom: Don't Believe the Hype
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares the results of a recent policy brief by Noel Enyedy of UCLA. “Enyedy believes that technology in the classroom has a valuable role to play in American education, but its potential has, to a large extent, been squandered by empty promises, ill-defined goals and outdated strategies.” Note: The Great Lakes Center funded this brief, which was produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC).

NPR Ed: What Schools Could Use Instead of Standardized Tests
National Education Policy Center - Best of the Edblogs - Anya Kamenetz, NPR

Anya Kamenetz, from NPR’s Ed team, discusses what’s missing in the debate over testing in the United States. She has a new book out, “The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing - But You Don’t Have to Be.”

Trouble grading teachers with test scores
The Washington Post - Jay Matthews

Jay Matthews looks at the New Year’s “hottest educational topic”: using test scores as a part of the teacher evaluation process.

Education 2015: The City's the Thing
Center on Reinventing Public Education - Robin Lake

Robin Lake discusses 2014 in review and previews what the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) has in store for 2015. In 2014, CRPE published several reports on a citywide plan for Detroit and a parent survey of eight "high-choice" cities.

Who's watching tax dollars for state voucher program?
Indianapolis Star - Stephanie Wang

Stephanie Wang reports on accountability issues in Indiana, where the state has implemented a statewide voucher program. Recently, private and parochial schools had to return nearly $4 million in public money overcharged for school choice. Unlike public schools, choice schools in Indiana are not audited by the State Board of Accounts.

Before Accepting the Portfolio Model, Shouldn't We Check to See if It Works?
Educarenow Blog - Bill Boyle

Bill Boyle discusses Michigan governor Rick Snyder’s upcoming education announcement. Snyder is widely expected to propose a portfolio model for Michigan. Former Louisiana schools chief Paul Pastorek has advised Snyder recently. You can also read more by Boyle here: No More Surprises

A Legal Argument Against The Use of VAMs in Teacher Evaluation
Teachers College Record - Mark Paige

Mark Page comments on the legal argument against the use of VAMs in teacher evaluation. “This paper argues for a complete reversal in policy course. To wit, state regulations that connect a teacher’s continued employment to VAMs should be overhauled to eliminate the connection between evaluation and student test scores. The reasoning is largely legal, rather than educational.”

Breaking the Cycle of Failed School Reforms
Harvard Education Letter - Anthony Bryk, Louis Gomez, Alicia Grunow, Paul Lemahieu

This excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter looks at using Networked Improvement Communities to “learn fast and implement well.” NICs are: "intentionally designed social organizations, each with a distinct problem-solving focus."

The Limitations of Self-Report Measures of Non-cognitive Skills
Brown Center Chalkboard - Brookings - Martin West

Martin West discusses the use of non-cognitive skills to contribute to the information gathered in schools. “As practice and policy race forward, however, research on non-cognitive skills remains in its infancy. There is little agreement on which skills are most important, their stability within the same individual in different contexts, and, perhaps most fundamentally, how they can be reliably measured.”

ESEA In 2015?
12/17/2014 - Andy Rotherham
Andy Rotherham discusses the possibility of ESEA reauthorization in 2015. With the GOP taking control of the Senate, Senator Lamar Alexander, a former secretary of education, will be the new education committee chairman.
The Disruptors
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to recent commentary by Michael Petrilli in the New York Times: “The school-to-prison pipeline is a real, substantiated thing. Schools that cannot accept students who bring the challenging conditions of their lives with them into the classroom should not be allowed to take public money. Because public money should be spent on building a better society, not isolating the easy-to-educate. And—disruption is not a cancer. It is a symptom. It's up to us to figure out the disease.”

A link to Petrilli’s piece can be found here.

Do you favor charter schools? Why are we still asking?
PDK International - Kappan Magazine - Erin Horvat and David E. Baugh

Erin Horvat, Temple University, and David Baugh, superintendent of the Bensalem (PA) Township School District, discuss changing the dialogue regarding schools. They push for a larger, more encompassing conversation about inequity: "Rather than discussing the merits of charter versus public schools, let’s ask if we favor good schools for all kids. Are we ready to talk about why it’s acceptable to provide a world-class public education to kids in well-funded suburban schools while city kids work to bootstrap into the American Dream in Third World conditions with far fewer resources than their suburban peers? Rather than discussing the merits of one organizational approach over another, a better conversation would untangle our tolerance for this inequality and generate solutions that level the playing field." This link requires a subscription.

The Road to Redemption: Ten Policy Recommendations for Ohio's Charter School Sector
Fordham Institute - Chad Aldis and Aaron Churchill

Chad Aldis and Aaron Churchill, Bellwether Education Partners, published a report that offers ten policy recommendations for stronger charter policy in Ohio. The report comes a week after the CREDO report from Stanford University found weaknesses in Ohio’s charter school policies and accountability.

Michigan's Education Achievement Authority [EAA] and the Future of Public Education in Detroit: The Challenge of Aligning Policy Design and Policy Goals
Michigan State University - Mary L. Mason and David Arsen

In this recent policy brief, MSU's Mary Mason and David Arsen take a closer look at Michigan’s Education Achievement Authority (EAA), portfolio districts, and public schools in Detroit.

Detroit schools coalition will hit books in a hurry
Crain’s Detroit Business - Kirk Pinho

Kirk Pinho looks into the work of a recently convened group, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, which is expected to advise Michigan governor Rick Snyder early in 2015.

Teachers' Needs Must Drive the Professional Learning Agenda
Education Week - Learning Forward - PD Watch - Stephanie Hirsh

Stephanie Hirsh responds to a research report commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Teachers Know Best: Teachers' Views on Professional Development.

Who's Really Failing Students?
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses testing mandates, NCLB, new standardized tests, and problems associated with test-based accountability.

Education Shouldn't be an Unfair Game!
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker dives into education finance, how money is spent in schools, and the decisions facing states regarding additional funding. Baker argues that school funding is an unfair game, much like major league baseball.

Constitution For Effective School Governance
Shanker Blog - Guest Post: Kenneth Frank

Kenneth Frank, professor in Measurement and Quantitative Methods at the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education at Michigan State University, has proposed a set of guidelines in the form of a constitution, “which would allow schools as a whole to regulate competing demands in order to facilitate coordination and cooperation among teachers.”

Charter School Cherry-Picking From Admission to Expulsion
New York Times - Room for Debate - Carol Burris

Carol Burris, principal at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, N.Y., participated in a recent NY Times Room for Debate, which discussed charter schools and suspension, expulsion of students: “When students are pushed out or leave their charter school, they enter the public schools discouraged and further behind.” Additional commentary from leading education reform leaders is also included.

CREDO issues another reality check for Ohio charters
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Ohio Gladfly Daily - Chad Aldis & Aaron Churchill

Chad Aldis and Aaron Churchill comment on a recently released report from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), which “found that Buckeye charters, taken as a whole, continue to produce mediocre results.”

Open letter to teacher unions professional organizations, and teacher education
Radical Scholarship - Paul Thomas
Paul Thomas, Furman University, shares his reaction to several presentations he has given to teacher organizations. He focuses on reclaiming the agenda: “It is time that teaching reclaim its rightful place as a profession, setting the table for how teachers teach, how students learn. It is time leaders in teachers unions, professional organizations, and teacher education lead by leading.”
Smart money: What teachers make, how long it takes and what it buys them
NCTQ - Nithya Joseph & Nancy Waymack

NCTQ recently shared Smart money: What teachers make, how long it takes and what it buys them, a report on teachers pay, factors that play a role in making decisions to become a teacher, and different approaches to compensation

Jeb Bush And Education
12/04/2014 - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham discusses a recent article about former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and what his candidacy could mean for education.

Testing: Can We Find the Rational Middle?
Homeroom - Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Education - Emily Davis

Emily Davis, Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education, discusses testing in schools. A recorded interview with Arne Duncan is included in the blog.

Michigan charter school law gets failing grade
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins covers a recent report by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), which found Michigan's charter school laws to be flawed because of accountability issues. "Michigan received only three out of a possible 27 points when its state policies were measured against the organization's own best practices."

EON Awarded For 'Questioning The Charter School Hype'
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

A 2014 article by Jeff Bryant, Education Opportunity Network, was recently awarded "one of the top 25 most censored or under reported news stories of 2014" by Project Censored. The original article, The truth about charter schools: Padded cells, corruption, lousy instruction and worse results, was originally published over at in January.

Moving Teacher Preparation into the Future
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski writes about teacher preparation: "The time has arrived for teacher preparation programs to use evidence and data. It is being pushed by government regulation, but that will take a while—the draft regulations call for full implementation by 2020. Programs can move more quickly if they want to, and let’s hope they do."

Principals' Group Latest to Criticize 'Value Added' for Teacher Evaluations
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a statement from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) on the use of 'value-added' systems for teacher evaluations.

How Parents Experience Public School Choice
Center on Reinventing Public Education - Ashley Jochim, Michael DeArmond, Betheny Gross, & Robin Lake

A recent report from CRPE examines parents’ experiences with public school choice across eight “high-choice” cities: Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

The Perils of Edutourism
Brookings - Brown Center on Education Policy Chalkboard - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless discusses edutourism - traveling the world to look for educational solutions. He sees three "perils" in this endeavor: (1) selecting on the dependent variable; (2) small, non-random sampling; (3) and confirmation bias. "The critique above is not meant to discourage edutourism, but to identify its vulnerability to misuse."

Does Better Observation Make Better Teachers?
Education Next - Matthew P. Steinberg and Lauren Sartain

Matthew P. Steinberg and Lauren Sartain look into the Excellence in Teaching Project (EITP), a teacher evaluation system in the Chicago Public Schools.

State education board [Michigan] urges Legislature to transform how schools are funded
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French discusses recommendations, commissioned by the Michigan State Board of Education to reform public school finance.

Teaching Residency Programs: A Multisite Look at a New Model to Prepare Teachers for High-Need Schools
Institute of Education Sciences - National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance - U.S. Department of Education

A recent report prepared by IES by Mathematica Policy Research looked at teacher residency programs that received funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Site to Help Researchers and Practitioners Build Partnerships
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares information about a new website, developed to share information supported by research partnerships. "The site was developed in part to help those developing partnerships understand 'they don't have to reinvent the wheel,' said Vivian Tseng, the vice president for programs at the Grant Foundation. 'There's a lot of resources and tacit knowledge that are available, regardless of the type of partnership they are developing.'"

Educational Management Turned on Its Head: Exploring a Professional Ethic for Educational Leadership
Teachers College Record - Marla Susman Israel

Marla Susman Israel reviews William C. Frick's new book: "Educational Management Turned on Its Head: Exploring a Professional Ethic for Educational Leadership."

Multiple Measures And Singular Conclusions In A Twin City
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo attempts to cut through the headlines in response to the release of school-level teacher evaluation results in Minneapolis.

If This Keeps Happening, The Teaching Profession Is Doomed
The JLV - José Luis Vilson

José Luis Vilson shares his reaction to an NPR piece, which shared his story along with 4 other teachers.

Can we Evaluate #Teachers Without Using High-Stakes #Testing?
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Professor Julian Vasquez Heilig shares his feelings on teacher evaluations. "When creating teacher evaluation systems, the primary data should be from veteran teachers that provide a variety of expert perspectives."

Jeb Bush Speaks Out
Education Next

The Education Next editors share a conversation with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the legacy of the Florida A+ package.

'Last Week Tonight' skewers lottery-education connection
Education Drive - John Oliver

"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver takes a look at education money associated with state lotteries.

Teachers Deserve Voice in Job Rules
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner reacts to the headline, "Teacher Unions Flunk Midterms," which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Personalized Learning may Boost Achievement, Charter Study Says
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Michelle R. Davis
Michelle Davis shares results from a new report completed by the RAND Corporation, released by iNACOL at their 2014 symposium. "Though the study could not conclusively say that personalized learning caused the achievement increases, researchers did find that the students in schools using data to customize learning had measurable improvements in reading and math over similar students in similar charter schools not using personalized instructional approaches."
The Coalition For An Education Agenda Just Isn't There, Yet
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses the role that education played, or didn't, in the 2014 election. "Advocates for public schools won’t reliably win elections until that they embrace that coalition and successfully push the party that direction."

Mixed Results for Arizona's Charter Schools
Brookings Institution - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Matthew Chingos & Martin West

Martin West and Matthew Chingos share recent results of their forthcoming paper, The Uneven Performance of Arizona’s Charter Schools, in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

The 'Public' Character of Public Schools
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Leo Casey

Leo Casey, executive director of the Albert Shanker Institute, replies to Deborah Meier in this recent Bridging Differences blog. " So we need to build a coalition, as broad and as deep as possible, to defend public education  What exactly is this public education that we are defending? Who do we envision as the constituent parts of this coalition that could successfully defend it?"

Bite Me: One Scholar's Response to Time Magazine's Attack on Teachers
Teachers College Record - Zoë Burkholder

Zoë Burkholder responds to Time magazine's recent rant on teachers. "Attacks that demonize teachers for ruining public education do more than just inflame political rhetoric, they also mask the real problems that plague American schools. Blaming teachers for the systemic failures of public education presents a modest and relatively inexpensive reform—if the problem is bad teachers, then the solution must be to identify and remove them."

Last Night's Implications for Education Reform
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli, Fordham Institute, discusses implications for education reform after the 2014 election.

How quality PD can boost teacher retention, increase student growth
11/05/2014 - Donald Fraynd

Donald Fraynd pens that increasing student growth is a very important, common goal that districts nationwide share. "What many schools don’t realize is that high-quality PD can actually lead to an increase in student achievement. High-quality, rigorous PD can and should be the driving force in meeting and exceeding their goals of increasing student growth by hiring and retaining more effective teachers."

Harvard Launches Fellowship Initiative to Prepare Seniors to Enter Teaching
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares information from a new program at Harvard University to launch a fellowship program to prepare seniors to become K-12 teachers.

What Makes Good Teaching? A Short Film by Harvard Ed Students
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Produced by three HGSE students, this short documentary, "Minds On Teaching," looks to understand what makes teaching good.

No, It's Not 'Nearly Impossible' to Fire Bad Teachers
Education Week - Stranger in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to a recent TIME magazine cover article on, which she describes as "a hail-Mary attempt to keep a wheezing magazine relevant for a few more months." More importantly, she attempts to correct the common belief that bad teachers are too hard to fire.

Do Value-Added Estimates Identify Causal Effects of Teachers and Schools?
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane discusses his reaction to the recent wave of new research in education. He looks into the evolving research around value-added and the need for more research in the area.

An incredibly revealing poll on teachers' views of Common Core
VOX - Libby Nelson

Libby Nelson shares results from a new poll from Gallup on teachers' opinions regarding the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Why teaching? Why now?
Michigan State University - Green & Write Education Policy Research Insights - Daniel Quinn

Great Lakes Center executive director Daniel Quinn authors a guest post on Michigan State's Green & Write education policy blog. He focuses on becoming a teacher, teacher turnover, and teacher retention.

This Is What Happens When You Criticize Teach for America
The Nation - George Joseph

George Joseph reveals how TFA's obsessive PR game covers up its lack of results in order to justify greater expansion.

Redefining the School District in Michigan
Fordham Institute - Nelson Smith

Nelson Smith examines the progress of Michigan's Education Achievement Authority (EAA). The EAA in Detroit shares basic features with Louisiana's RSD (Reform School District) and Tennessee's ASD (Achievement School District).

Bad Teachers Everywhere, All The Time, Even You
The José Vilson - José Vilson

José Vilson has an open and honest talk about bad teachers; a discussion that needs to be had, but one that requires nuance.

Why Do Americans Rate Their Local Public Schools So Favorably?
Brookings - Brown Center on Education Policy - Martin R. West

Martin West uses data from the PDK/Gallup poll and the 2014 EdNext survey to discuss why American's rate their local public schools so favorably.

Will Education Save The Democrats?
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant looks into new evidence that education is the top "turnout message" for the Democratic Party in the 2014 election.

Is Uncle Sam Ed Reform's Biggest Liability?
Education Next - Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick discusses growing "apprehension" in some ed reform circles.

Nation's Wealthy Places Pour Private Money Into Public Schools, Study Finds
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich discusses the growing clout for non-profits in support of local school funding. A new report highlights inequities in school funding, where some local communities are supplementing educational funding (which has been diminishing) with private money.

Linda Darling-Hammond Storified: Enough is Known for Action!
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig
At an event hosted by the NEA Foundation, Linda Darling-Hammond discussed what is known about school reform for a group of teachers convened by the foundation. Julian Vasquez Heilig shares her comments through Storify. "She argued research, best practice, and leadership is converging perhaps as never before on a set of policy and practice levers to ensure that equity and excellence can be achieved systemically."
Why To Change The Way We Talk About Education
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses how we rethink the nation's education agenda. "With a new way to think about education, with the language of learning as growth, we can get beyond today’s failed remedies. Let’s talk it up."

Teaching in Paradise
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan
Nancy Flanagan talks charter schools, traditional public schools, and union collaboration on her recent piece for Teacher in a Strange Land.
Evaluating the Recession's Impact on State School Finance Systems
Education Policy Analysis Archives - Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University

Bruce Baker looks into the Great Recession's effect on state school finance systems.

Can Students Learn Virtually? An Evaluation of the Florida Virtual School
Brookings - TechTalk - Joshua Blieberg

Joshua Blieberg writes about new research on the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) from Matthew Chingos and Guido Schwerdt.

Let's Measure What No One Teaches: PISA, NCLB, and the Shrinking Aims of Education
Teachers College Record - David Larabee

David Larabee examines two current and prominent systems of comparative measurement that are at far remove from individual classrooms: (1) the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA); and (2) the array of state-level systems of educational accountability in the U.S. that are assembled under the umbrella of the federal law No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Redesigning Florida's School Report Cards
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo reports on the Florida Formula and a recent "competition" from the Foundation for Excellence in Education (Jeb Bush) to redesign Florida's state school report cards.

Smartest kids: Ignoring outcry, Massachusetts leaders chose excellence
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey looks at education reforms in Michigan and Massachusetts. Bridge Magazine has been profiling states that are making faster gains than Michigan.

Experts Discuss Public School Funding Inequities
Harvard Crimson - Zara Zhang

Zara Zhang reports on the Askwith Forum at Harvard's Ed School. The forum included a panel with Bruce Baker, Rutgers University, David G. Sciarra, Education Law Center, and Andres Alanso former CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. "American public schools rely on a funding system that is rife with inequalities, experts said during a panel at the Graduate School of Education on Thursday."

Teacher evaluations, Americans skeptical?
MSU College of Education - Green & Write - Daniel Quinn
Daniel Quinn, executive director of the Great Lakes Center, has a guest post on Michigan State University's new ed policy blog, Green & Write. Using recent public opinion data, Daniel provides insights into teacher evaluation and high stakes testing.
Testing and Accountability: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares his new report in the Urban Review, which was co-authored with Barbara L. Pazey, Heather A. Cole, and Meagan Sumbera. The authors investigated  how students of similar characteristics were experiencing NCLB-style policies in the same urban school in two different decades.

Faculty, alumni ask EMU board to end partnership with EAA
MLive - Ann Arbor - Matt Durr

Matt Durr reports on a recent Eastern Michigan University (EMU) board meeting, where faculty, alumni asked the EMU board to end its partnership with the EAA (Detroit's controversial Education Achievement Authority).

Linked Learning
Center for American Progress - Monica Almond and Tiffany Miller

Monica Almond and Tiffany Miller discuss Linked Learning, an approach to creatively prepare students for college and career. "A California-led initiative called Linked Learning offers a promising systemic approach to reform that is designed to address these challenges and has been touted as a suitable complement to implementing the Common Core State Standards."

Building Better Teachers: Advances in Teacher Preparation
Learning First Alliance - Sharon Robinson

Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), discusses Elizabeth Green's new book (Building A Better Teacher) and highlights several promising practices at colleges around the country. "In programs around the country, teacher educators have been rolling up their shirtsleeves to redesign training and evaluation methods to boost novices’ effectiveness."

The Plot Against Public Education
Politico - Bob Herbert

Politico shares a portion of Bob Herbert's new book, which discusses the role that millionaires and billionaires are playing in school reform. This is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the corporate reform movement in schools.

'Deeper Learning' improves student outcomes. But what is it?
Hechinger Report - Alexandria Neason

Alexandria Neason reports on a recent report on the benefits of deeper learning, which was published by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) with support from the Hewlett Foundation.

The Challenges of Promoting Equal Access to Quality Teachers
Brookings - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski discusses the effectiveness of promoting equal access to quality teachers and policy limitations. "The evidence suggests that simply moving teachers around is not likely to do much to address this failure, if it can even be done, and that instead we should be thinking more about policies to enhance skills of teachers and leaders."

'Schools of Opportunity' - a new project to recognize schools that give all students a chance to succeed
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares a new project, Schools of Opportunity, managed by Carol Burris and Kevin Welner. "The project will recognize public high schools that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to equity and excellence by giving all students the opportunity to succeed."

MSU Launches Education Policy Blog
Michigan State University - MSU Today - Nicole Geary, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Andy Henion

Scholars from the College of Education at Michigan State University have launched a new blog to share research-based insights on today's policy issues in K-12 and higher education.

Building And Sustaining Research-Practice Partnerships
Shanker Blog - Bill Penuel

Bill Penuel shares work on research-practice partnerships. "One way to think of a research-practice partnership is that it’s the foundation for a new infrastructure for relating research and practice. It may be small and local, but it is rich in relationships and commitment to solving big problems of education."

When the Digital Divide Meets a Systems Approach
Learning First Alliance - Tarsi Dunlap
Tarsi Dunlap discusses a new brief from Stanford's SCOPE and the Alliance for Excellent Education, Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students' Learning.
Ending Teacher Tenure Would Have Little Impact on its Own
Education Next - Matthew Chingos

Matthew Chingos reacts to recent calls for tenure reform in K-12 schools. Chingos counters that any strategy designed to improve teacher quality should be match with programs to keep the best teachers in schools. "Tenure reform should balance the benefits of using this protection to attract and retain good teachers with the costs it imposes by making it more difficult to eliminate bad teachers."

Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools
Teachers College Record - Kara S. Finnigan

Kara Finnigan reviews Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools. She describes Improvement by Design as a valuable contribution to the knowledge base "by showing that even comprehensive, research-based designs will falter without the right level of support."

What You Need To Know About Misleading Education Graphs, In Two Graphs
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di CarloMatt Di Carlo looks at two misleading graphs, one from ASCD and the other from CATO. "Instead of promoting a discussion about finding better ways to spend money or the importance of tracking and understanding the factors that influence growth and productivity, these graphs seem intended to start a conversation by ending it, right at the outset, in a manner that typically is compelling only to those who already agree with the conclusions."
Teacher Retention Varies Across and Within Districts
Education Next - Leslie Kan

Leslie Kan looks at teacher retention based on a recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). The NCTQ report tracked teacher retention in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (Florida).

Why Teachers' Unions & Due Process Matter
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Leo CaseyLeo Casey, director of the Shanker Institute, shares his thoughts with Deborah Meier. "I share your passion, Deb, for schools that are strong democracies, where educators are empowered and make all of the important educational decisions."
Bill Clinton: Charter Schools Must Be Held To 'The Original Bargain'
The Huffington Post - Joy ResmovitsFormer President Bill Clinton, in a speech, called out low performing charter schools and says they aren't living up to their promise.
Charter School Law & Authorizer Practices Need Upgrades & Strengthening to Address Rapid Growth & Expansion
Annenberg Institute for School Reform

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University recommends updates and adjustments to states' charter legislation and charter authorizer standards to eliminate policies that result in student inequities.

Ed Next Book Club: Dana Goldstein on The Teacher Wars
Education Next - Mike Petrilli

In this edition of the Education Next Book Club podcast, Mike Petrilli talks with Dana Goldstein about her best-selling book, The Teacher Wars.

Big-City School Reforms: Lessons from New York, Toronto, and London
Teacher College Record - David M. Moss

David M. Moss reviews "Big-City School Reforms: Lessons from New York, Toronto, and London" by Michael Fullan and Alan Boyle.

Poll: Public Rejects Teacher Evaluations Based on Student Test Scores
NEAToday - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares recent results from the second release of results of the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup poll on the Public's Attitude Toward Public Schools.

'Fadeout' in Early Childhood: Does the hype match the research?
National Institute for Early Education Research - Megan Carolan

Megan Carolan shares a report from the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), which addresses some frequent questions regarding the lasting impact of pre-K.

Standing Up for Public Education
American Association of School Administrators - School Administrator - John M. Kuhn

John Kuhn, superintendent of Perrin-Whitt School District in Perrin, Texas, raises his voice to lead a push back against education reform in Texas.

Anatomy of Educational Inequality & Why School Funding Matters
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker discusses why education funding and finance reform matters. "It’s just that simple. Sufficient, stable state revenue systems are required for supporting equitable and adequate funding."

Fatal Attraction: America's Suicidal Quest for Educational Excellence
Zhao Learning - Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao shares the introduction to his latest book, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World.

Commentary: We Need Teachers of Color
Education Week - Jacob Murray & Jackie Jenkins-Scott

Jacob Murray and Jackie Jenkins-Scott discuss the need for and the challenges of increasing the number of talented teachers of color in Boston, and around the nation.

American Teachers Spend More Time In The Classroom Than World Peers, Says Report
The Huffington Post - Rebecca Klein

Rebecca Klein reports on this year's education report from the Organsation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

High-stakes testing, lack of voice driving teachers out
Michigan State University - MSUToday - Andy Henion

Andy Henion shares two recent reports by MSU education professor Alyssa Hadley Dunn. Dunn's work looks at the factors that lead to teachers leaving the profession.

Pedagogy First (A Note on Elizabeth Green's Building A Better Teacher)
The José Vilson - José Luis Vilson

José Vilson reviews Building a Better Teacher, a recent book by Elizabeth Green.

Education and health have improved for US children, says annual report
Christian Science Monitor - Progress Watch - Caroline Kelly
The Christian Science Monitor reports that child-wellness indicators like education and health came off better in the most recent Kid's Count Data Book report, which was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. However, the number of children living in poverty rose between 2005 and 2012.
10 School Reform Phrases That Should Trigger Your BS Detector
Education Next - Rick Hess

Rick Hess shares 10 phrases that "should cause listeners to ask the speaker to explain what he or she means, using words that actually mean something."

Why Teachers And Researchers Should Work Together For Improvement
Shanker Blog - Bill Penuel
Bill Penuel, professor of educational psychology and director of the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder, discusses recent work in research-practice partnerships. 
Districts Weigh Pros and Cons of Year-Round Schools
NEA Today - Luke Towler
Luke Towler shares reactions to the pros and cons of year-round schools.
On Honest and Civil Conversation (Simmer Down Now)
09/03/2014 - José Luis Vilson

Reacting to the news of a new group supported by education reformers, José Luis Vilson takes on civil discourse in education policy and reform discussions.

The Public View of Public Schools: Are the Nation's Policymakers Listening?
Learning First Alliance - Thomas Gentzel

Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director for the National School Boards Association (NSBA), further discusses the results of the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll.

Why Do Americans Love to Blame Teachers?
The Atlantic - Noah Berlatsky
Noah Berlatsky discusses Dana Goldstein's recent book, "The Teacher Wars." Goldstein's book covers 200 years of education policy and reform.
Back to school 2014-15 - by the numbers
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares recent statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics housed at the U.S. Department of Education.

Research And Policy On Paying Teachers For Advanced Degrees
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo looks at research related to teachers' advanced degrees.

Poaching Students the Publishers Clearing House Way
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses a recent "mix up" by the Education Achievement Authority, a recovery school district in Michigan, to mislead parents into thinking students were reassigned to the reform district.

Cracking the Code of Effective Teaching
Education Next - David Steiner

David Steiner reviews Elizabeth Green's new book, Building a Better Teacher.

Charter Schools Don't Need An Ad Campaign, They Need Regulation
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses accountability for charter schools, a public relations campaign from charter school advocates, and results from the latest PDK/Gallup survey.

A Quick Look At The ASA Statement On Value-Added
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo discusses a statement by the American Statistical Association (ASA), which released a statement on the use of Value-Added for teacher evaluations (in April).

Is Arne Duncan's Teacher Evaluation Moratorium Unnecessary?
08/26/2014 - Chad Aldeman and Carolyn Chuong

Chad Aldeman and Carolyn Chuong react to a speech last week by Secretary Arne Duncan.

PDK/Gallup Poll: When Answers Mean More Questions
Learning First Alliance - Parents for Public Schools - Anne Foster

Anne Foster, executive director of Parents for Public Schools (PPS), shares her thoughts on the 46th annual PDK/Gallup poll a survey on what the public thinks about schools.

Comparing PDK and Education Next Polls
Education Next - Paul E. Peterson

Paul E. Peterson, who works on the EdNext Poll, used results from the EdNext Poll and contrasted his results with those of the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll.

Is doing less harm enough for Education Secretary Duncan?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry looks into steps by the Education Department to offer flexibility on student test scores for teacher evaluations.

Poll: Parents Want an End to the Testing Obsession
NEA Today Online - Richard Naithram

Richard Naithram shares recent results from the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Survey.

Get Out of the Way, Uncle Sam?
Learning First Alliance - Anne O'Brien

Anne O'Brien reacts to the first results from the 2014 PDK/Gallup Poll: The Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

No Teacher Is An Island: The Role Of Social Relations In Teacher Evaluation
Shanker Blog - Alan Daly and Kara Finnigan

Alan Daly and Kara Finnigan, authors of Using Research Evidence in Education: From the Schoolhouse Door to Capitol Hill, discuss alternatives around teacher evaluation.

Education in Two Worlds: Year-Round-Schools? Is Anybody Really Interested in That Any More?
NEPC - Best of the EdBlogs - Gene V. Glass

Gene V. Glass takes a look at the history of year-round-schooling and questions the motives behind a recent push.

Seven things teachers are sick of hearing from school reformers
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Ian Altman

Ian Altman, a Georgia teacher, shares what he and his colleagues are "really sick" of hearing from reformers. "Teachers didn’t choose this fight. It has been imposed on us by a misguided and deeply conservative 'reform' movement. It’s time for reformers  to back off because I, and my colleagues, will do a better job if you just get out of the way."

The Age-Old Question. Teaching: Art or Science?
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to a soon to be released book by Elizabeth Green on teaching.

Surveying the Common Core Battleground
Education Next - Paul DiPerna

Paul DiPerna shares several results from the Friedman Foundation's recent Schooling in America Survey.

As New School Year Begins, Teachers Cope With Education Changes
NPR - State Impact Indiana - Claire McInerny

Claire McInerny discusses the evolving landscape of Indiana education policies, which dropped the Common Core standards, created new standards, and seeks to evaluate teachers on a yet to be determined standardized test.

Differences In DC Teacher Evaluation Ratings By School Poverty
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo
Matthew Di Carlo digs into data issued by the D.C. Auditor, which show teachers in the lowest-poverty schools received higher IMPACT scores than teachers in schools with higher poverty rates. Di Carlo finds it difficult to determine a clear distinction behind the causes.
Book Review: Teachers versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them
Teachers College Record - David Reid

David Reid reviews "Teachers versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them," by Paul Peterson, Michael Henderson, and Martin West.

'Better Than Republicans,' Not Good Enough For Education
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant takes a swing at the gulf between educators and politicians when it comes to policy. "When it comes to the education policy arena, 'the game' has played into a disaster for the nation’sschoolteachers, parents, and students."

Evaluating the Teacher Evaluators
National Institute for Early Education Research - Preschool Matters - Michelle Horowitz

Michelle Horowitz shares findings from a recent report on qualifications for early childhood education evaluators. While most school administrators have certification in areas they evaluate, Horowitz discusses the need to have certified early childhood educators evaluating teachers in these classrooms.

In Teacher-Tenure Battles, a War for Public Opinion Can Obscure the Nuances
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk
Stephen Sawchuk discusses several celebrity attacks on teachers, most notably Whoopi Goldberg and Campbell Brown. Brown has become a high-profile opponent of teachers and due process rights.
Soothsaying in Iowa, a state investing in students by elevating teachers
Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry brings attention to "Iowa's smart approach to education policy." Most specifically, he highlights Iowa's teacher leadership system, which raises the status of the profession.

Personalization Depends On The Person
The JLV - Blog - Jose Vilson
Jose Vilson comments on so-called innovators and personalized learning. According to Vilson, "Personalization looks different across race, class and gender lines."
Rational and Evidenced-Based Responses to Standards Advocates and Critics
Radical Scholarship - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas calls attention to the education agendas of Democrats and Republicans, which are "essentially indistinguishable," leaving educators without a party. "We re left with being rational, with calling upon evidence in the wider public debates, and to be honest, those are significant uphill battles in the U.S. where the irrational and unmerited thrive."

Fact-checking Campbell Brown: What she said, what research really shows
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Alyssa Hadley Dunn

Alyssa Hadley Dunn debunks claims made by former CNN correspondent Campbell Brown on The Colbert Report. "Whatever Ms. Brown’s intentions are, they lack an understanding of both the current landscape of teaching in high-needs schools and of educational research. It’s time to get some facts straight."

Chetty, et al. on the American Statistical Association's Recent Position Statement on Value-Added Models (VAMs): Five Points of Contention
Teachers College Record - Margarita Pivovarova, Jennifer Broatch & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Margarita Pivovarova, Jennifer Broatch & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley respond to  five points of contention by Chetty, et al. regarding a statement from the American Statistical Association.

The Truth About The New Orleans School Reform Model
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares an exchange with Zoey Reed, executive director of communications for the Recovery School District in New Orleans. Reed had responded to a recent piece posted by Bryant for Salon. Bryant's original piece was highly critical of the reforms enacted in New Orleans post-Katrina. For a review of the research, Dr. Barbara Ferguson has compiled a series of research papers over at Research on Reforms.

Race to the Top Wasn't
Education Next - Rick Hess

Rick Hess reacts to the fifth anniversary of Race to the Top, the Obama administration's signature education initiative. "The result: the sugar high that Race to the Top used to fuel reform in 2009 is likely to be undone, and then some, by the legacy of half-baked, federal compulsion. What President Obama termed 'the most meaningful education reform in a generation' has proven, for my money, to be more a cautionary tale than a model." Also worth a read is Nancy Flanagan's piece: Race to the Top: A Five-Year Marathon Slog With No End in Sight.

The Politics of Teacher Evaluation Formulas
Education Next - Chad Aldeman

Chad Aldeman of Bellwether Education Partners reacts to a series of changes to teacher evaluation systems. Aldeman attempts to use data from the 2013 MET project, which prescribed weighting student growth between 33 and 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation score. Reviews of the MET project data have been critical of such recommendations.

An open letter to my son's second grade teacher
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer puts his own touch on a viral post from a parent to a kindergarten teacher. Spencer's letter is very teacher focused and encouraging. "This letter is mostly just a heads-up ahead of time to say, 'Thanks for what you do everyday.' It's pretty amazing."

Don't Trust Charters More than a Sweaty Used Car Salesman (A Citizen Research Template)
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig creates a citizen research template to empower communities to study and evaluate charter schools. "Gather the quantitative data and also qualitative data by talking to parents of students, teachers and administrators who are currently located at the school AND who have left the school to get a full picture of a charter school’s context."

Value-added Modeling (VAM) is pseudoscience, but profitable pseudosciences persist
Schools Matter - Robert Skeels

Robert Skeels discusses VAM assertions and reacts to a statement by the American Statistical Association on the use of VAM. He tracks down a profitable stream of income for one statistical company banking on VAM.

The Myth of Teacher Tenure
Teachers College Record - Diana D'Amico

Diana D'Amico highlights historical responses to teacher tenure laws. "Using history as a lens, this commentary explores the origination of tenure policies and the debates that surrounded them. This commentary argues that embedded in the tenure debates is a much larger problem that should concern us all."

From Caps to Closures: Six Growing Charter School Policy Trends
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero
Arianna Prothero shares six policy trends in school choice, based on a report from the Education Commission of the States. "As part of the project, the Education Commission of the States created an online database on how policies line up or vary from state to state."
UARK Study Shamelessly (& Knowingly) Uses Bogus Measures to Make Charter Productivity Claims
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker discusses a recent "report" by the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, which compares the relative productivity and efficiency of charter schools. Baker reviewed a previous report from theWalmart group for the Think Twice think tank review project, produced by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Accountability Shouldn't Stifle Teacher Creativity and Best Practices
Learning First Alliance - Amber Jimenez
Amber Jimenez, ELL teacher in Colville, WA, shares her thoughts on teacher creativity and accountability.
9 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: A Practical Guide to Personal Development
Teachers College Record - Lynnette Mawhinney
Lynnette Mawhinney reviews 9 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: A Practical Guide to Personal Development by Jacqui Turnbull. "9 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers: A Practical Guide to Personal Development (2nd Edition)is a welcome and timely reminder that professional development and ongoing reflecting on teaching practice is just as, if not more, important than the plethora of scripted professional development courses offered to teachers. This book, suited for novice and veteran teachers, grounds the professional back into the importance of reflective work on teaching practice."
Don't blame teacher tenure for students' poor performance
Indianapolis Star - - Op-ed - John R. Staver
In this op-ed from the Indianapolis Star, John R. Staver digs into research evidence and corporate reform. His letter investigates the headline, "Abolishing teacher tenure would boost student performance."
The 'Test and Punish' Trap
07/21/2014 - Sara Mead
Sara Mead discusses the concepts "support and improve" & "test and punish," two concepts in the education reform debate. Mead, and her employer, Bellwether Education Partners, continue to advocate for "objective" measures to improve schools, teachers, and teaching quality.
On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers
Alliance for Excellent Education - Mariana Haynes

The Alliance for Excellent Education released a report last week on the high cost of teacher turnover. The report makes several policy recommendations to increase retention and build a sustainable quality teaching force.

The (Il)logic of Teacher Evaluation
Education Week - Top Performers - Marc Tucker

Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, shares his recent commentary on teacher evaluation. "Let's get real, for a change.  Teacher evaluation is not going to get us a supply of great teachers.  And an oversupply of great teachers is the only thing that is going to fill our schools with great teachers.  The logic of test-based teacher evaluation is deeply faulty, a strategic dead end."

Waking Up To Our Broken Education Policies
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares his thoughts on what he calls the "education spring" - a rising voice of educators in opposition to the policies of the education "reform" movement.

How Music Education Powers the STEAM Movement
NEA Today Online - Richard Naithram

Richard Naithram shares information on an event sponsored by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), which discussed music education policy. "The day after the briefing, more than 150 music education leaders and supporters visited Capitol Hill for NAfME Hill Day 2014 and shared with elected officials the urgent need to ensure the continued preservation of school-based music programs across America."

The Splintering School Reform Movement
Education Next - Mike Petrilli

Mike Petrilli discusses the splintering education reform movement. "One of the great misconceptions in education is that the reform movement is monolithic. There have always been competing camps, often defined on ideological grounds. Conservatives and libertarians tend to stress school choice, for example; liberals are much more comfortable with an intrusive federal role."

Five Strategies for Surviving a Hard Year of Teaching
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer offers five suggestions to "survive" a hard year of teaching.

Eliminating Teacher Tenure Versus Improving Teacher Hiring: Why Improving Teacher Hiring Is a Better Bet
Harvard Education Publishing - Dale S. Rose
Dale Rose shares his thoughts on teacher tenure, teacher turnover, and the importance of hiring strong teachers. Rose recently authored, Hire Better Teachers Now: Using the Science of Selection to Find the Best Teachers for Your School, which digs into the notion that better teachers get better outcomes for students and so improving teacher quality is ONE [emphasis added] critical way to improve schools.
Christie reduces impact of student test scores in teacher evaluations
07/14/2014 - Hannan Adely

Hannan Adely reports on the Cristie administration's rollback of new standardized tests as a measure for teacher evaluations.

The Language Of Teacher Effectiveness
NEPC - Best of the EdBlogs - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo of the Shanker Institute discusses the conflation of terms associated with teacher effectiveness and teacher performance. "Regardless of one’s views on value-added and its policy deployment, however, there is a point at which our failure to define terms can go too far, and perhaps cause confusion."

What does the Research Say about the Effects of Increased Learning Time on Student Outcomes?
Institute of Education Sciences - REL Appalachia - Yael Kidron & Jim Lindsay

REL Appalachia conducted a systematic review of the research evidence on the effects of increased learning time. After screening more than 7,000 studies, REL Appalachia identified 30 that met the most rigorous standards for research. A review of those 30 studies found that increased learning time does not always produce positive results. However, some forms of instruction tailored to the needs of specific types of students were found to improve their circumstances.

Democratic Party's Divide On Education Policy Gets Worse
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant addresses the growing gap between factions of the Democratic Party on education policy. "The frustrations teachers feel from these policies – while they grapple with the budget cuts imposed by conservative state governments – have been building for some time. And now they’re boiling over. Should Democrats care?"

Classroom Craft Before Classroom Keys: Changing Paradigms with Teacher Preparation
Learning First Alliance - Future Educators Association - Dan Brown

Dan Brown, executive director of the Future Educators Association, discusses edTPA and the changing scope of teacher preparation.

Breaking Down 'The Chartered Course'
Education Next - Paul DiPerna

Paul DiPerna, research director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, discusses ways in which private school leaders can use the road map provided by the charter sector to expand school choice and vouchers. "We must think creatively about how best to expand the supply of schooling options, both private and charter." This blog covers a new report (also funded by the Friedman Foundation), "The Chartered Course: Can Private School Choice Proponents Learn from the Charter School Sector?" by Andy Smarick.

How to Read Education Data Without Jumping to Conclusions
The Atlantic - Jessica Lahey and Tim Lahey

Jessica Lahey and Tim Lahey provide four questions to answer when looking at educational data. "With research findings widely available on websites and Twitter feeds, it's easier than ever to oversimplify the results—and risk bringing half-formed ideas into America's classrooms."

The Importance Of Relationships In Educational Reform
Shanker Blog - Kara S. Finnigan & Alan J. Daly

Kara Finnigan and Alan Daly share a segment of their recent book - Using Research Evidence in Education: From the Schoolhouse Door to Capitol Hill, which explores the use and diffusion of different types of evidence across levels of the educational system.

Worth A Read will return next week
Great Lakes Center - Worth A Read - Daniel Quinn
The Great Lakes Center wants to wish our readers a happy and productive 4th of July holiday. Worth A Read, a weekly selection of thought-provoking research and commentary focused on education reform, will return next week. Until then, we invite you to visit us on the web, follow us on Twitter, or 'Like' us on Facebook.
When Statistical Significance Hides More Than it Reveals
Teachers College Record - Jeanne M. Powers & Gene V. Glass

Jeanne Powers and Gene Glass argue that focusing on statistical significance is potentially misleading. "Summaries generated from research studies should provide an accounting of findings that allows practitioners to assess their practical importance. When these and similar reports are hard to understand and misleading, they run the risk of eroding practitioners’ trust in research and increasing rather than bridging the gulf between research and practice."

Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: What Really Matters for Effectiveness and Improvement
Teachers College Record - Morgan Polikoff and Shauna Campbell

Morgan Polikoff and Shauna Campbell review Linda Darling-Hammond's recent book "Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: What Really Matters for Effectiveness and Improvement."

Implementing Common Core: Curriculum Part 2
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless continues his analysis of the curriculum's role in implementing CCSS. He discusses key curricular decisions that will be encountered as CCSS makes its way through the school system, and potential controversies that the process may provoke. You can also read Part 1 here. Loveless concluded in May: "The CCSS implementation process will involve several decision points, with each one leaving the CCSS vulnerable to bad decisions by officials, who have scant evidence on which to act, and to the efforts of political opponents." 

Is Money spent on Public #Education Equitable?
Cloaking Inequity - Rebecca Wolf

Rebecca Wolf shares excerpts of her recent doctoral study on spending patterns in public education. "So what’s the bottom line? Teachers and students are non-randomly sorted within schools, and this sorting may result in schools spending inequitable amounts of money to educate various students, in addition to other inequities in teacher experience, class sizes, high-achieving peers, and academically rigorous curricula."

Will Anyone Stop Charter School Corruption?
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant covers charter school corruption in Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida. "Certainly, faced with such a growing calamity, it’s not being 'negative' or 'oppositional' or a 'status quodefender' to stand in the pathway and yell, 'Stop!'"

Survey: Teachers Worldwide Seek More Opportunities for Collaboration
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares results of OECD's 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey. "Secondary school teachers from the United States to Singapore value collaboration with their peers, but the vast majority are still largely isolated in their classrooms, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development."

A Policy Playbook for Personalized Learning: Ideas for State and Local Policymakers
Bellwether Education Partners - Sara Mead & Carolyn Chuong

Sara Mead and Carolyn Chuong from Bellwether Education Partners released a "playbook" for policymakers seeking to implement personalized learning opportunities.

What Kindergartners Might Teach Us About Test-Based Accountability
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo discusses educational testing for kindergartners. "My personal opinion about whether this is a good idea depends on several factors, such as how good the tests will be and, most importantly, how the results will be used (and I cannot say that I am optimistic about the latter)."

Detroit Education Achievement Authority veers out of control
Metro Times - Curt Guyette

Curt Guyette covers the controversy surrounding Detroit's EAA, a controversial state takeover district that continues to raise concerns, even after the departure of its embattled "chancellor."

Michigan Charter Schools Perform Low at High Cost, Newspaper Investigation Finds
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares excerpts from an ongoing Detroit Free Press investigation into corruption in Michigan's charter schools. You can read the week long report on the Detroit Free Press website: - "A yearlong Free Press investigation of Michigan’s charter schools found wasteful spending, conflicts of interest, poor performing schools and a failure to close the worst of the worst."

Why Meetings Matter
Harvard Education Letter - Kathryn Parker Boudett and Elizabeth City

Kathryn Parker Boudett and Elizabeth City share an excerpt from their book "Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators." Regarding meetings, they summarize: "A good meeting, like a good classroom experience, has a clear purpose, a thoughtful strategy for achieving it, and a group working together to achieve that purpose."

F is for frustrated - disorganization at Detroit EAA schools leaves students scrambling to graduate
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey shares several problems associated with Michigan's Education Achievement Authority (EAA). This article focuses on paperwork issues facing students are seeking transcripts for higher education. "The state-run reform district has run into problems almost from the moment it was created in 2011, including low state test scores, high teacher turnover, declining enrollment and controversies over discipline, transparency and profligate travel spending by administrators and teachers."

The Becoming Radical: Guest Post by Peter Smagorinsky: Response to the New NCTQ Teacher Prep Review
NEPC - Best of the Ed Blogs - Peter Smagorinsky

Peter Smagorinsky, University of Georgia, critiques a new report from NCTQ, which claims to evaluate teacher prep programs. "The NCTQ appears to have little understanding of the relation between an engaging curriculum and student engagement."

The Good Teacher-Bad Teacher Debate
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner chimes in on the Vegara verdict and implications for policy. "Before reformers extol the Vergara verdict, I wish they would spend a few weeks in a public school classroom.  I think the experience would help them to understand just how difficult it is to evaluate teachers fairly."

There Is No War on Teachers
Education Next - Eric A. Hanushek

Eric Hanushek claims that there is no war on teachers and that student achievement should be the central policy issue. Regarding a war on teachers, Hanushek says: "But there is no such war. These laws protect just a very small minority of teachers who are harming children and who should not be in the classroom."

Shaky Methods, Shaky Motives: A Recap of My Critique of the NCTQ's Review of Teacher Preparation Programs
A "Fuller" Look at Education Issues - Ed Fuller

Ed Fuller shares a portion of his recent study published in the Journal of Teacher Education NCTQ's teacher preparation program ratings. He also provides a free link to the article (available for one month). "If NCTQ wants to truly help improve student outcomes by improving teacher preparation, they should stop using incredible weak methods, unsubstantiated standards, and unethical evaluation strategies toshame programs and start working with programs to build a stronger research base and information system that can be used by programs to improve practice."

Public or Private School? It Shouldn't Matter
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski shares his thoughts on a recent book released by Christopher and Sarah Lubienski, The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools.

Dogs, Ponies and Teacher Evaluation
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses teacher evaluations and the appearance of "dog and pony shows." She argues that we should not take the human element out of teacher evaluation.

What Makes a Leader?
Learning First Alliance - Helen Janc Malone

Helen Janc Malone, director of Institutional Advancement for the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), discusses 10 lessons for educational leadership.

A silver lining in the Vergara decision?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner

Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, highlights the legal issues involved in the controversial Vergara decision in California.

Op-Ed: Making it easier to fire teachers won't get you better ones
LA Times - Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider, assistant professor at Holy Cross College, explains the downside of making it easier to 'fire' teachers. "Instead of imagining a world in which teachers are easier to fire, we should work to imagine one in which firing is rarely necessary. Because you don't put an effective teacher in every classroom by holding a sword over their heads. You do it by putting tools in their hands."

The Problem Isn't Just Common Core, but the Entire Reform Agenda
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas highlights why the dominant reform agenda in education today is failing. Moving beyond the standards, Thomas addresses the evidence base, which shows how achievement and equity are being left beyond by standards-based reform.

The day Michigan killed public schools (and then created the system we have today)
Michigan Public Radio - State of Opportunity - Dustin Dwyer

Dustin Dwyer highlights the decisions that have been made regarding Michigan's funding of public education. Proposal A, passed 20 years ago, has had a dramatic impact on the current state of public education in Michigan.

A Moral Panic Over Real Accountability?
Shanker Blog - Leo Casey

Leo Casey, executive director of the Shanker Institute, discusses a recent essay by Stanford's Linda Darling-Hammond and AFT's Randi Weingarten, which provoked a strong reaction from several 'status quo' reform organizations. "While the defenders of the accountability status quo may not appreciate it, an honest conversation has begun about what accountability in American education is, should be and should do. I am not alone in believing that this is all for the good."

Save the date: Partnership for Music Ed. Policy Development to host a Music Education Policy Summit on June 14th
Eclectablog - Chris Savage

The Partnership for Music Education Policy Development will host a Music Education Policy Summit from 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (Saturday, June 14, 2014) on the campus of Michigan State University at the Cook Recital Hall in the MSU Music Building. "The purpose of the Summit is to examine the most pressing needs regarding music education policy in the state of Michigan."

The education question we should be asking
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn attempts to answer the question of what is worth learning. Kohn is responding to a recent essay by Daniel Willingham that looks at the teachers' ability to increase students' self-control.

Facing the Union Challenge
Education Next - Terry Moe
Report: Time to End Harmful, Exclusionary School Discipline Policies
NEA Today Online - Mary Ellen Flannery

Mary Ellen Flannery shares a recent report produced by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. "The data shows [sic] clearly that change is needed: Black, Hispanic, and American Indian students are suspended at sometimes double the rate of their White peers; 20 percent of students with disabilities were suspended in a single school year, compared to 10 percent of students without disabilities; and LGBT students are three times more likely to be harshly disciplined than their heterosexual peers, according to the report."

In Memoriam: Teachers College's Maxine Greene from Inside the Academy
Teachers College Record - Noelle Paufler & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Noelle Paufler & Audrey Amrein-Beardsley profile Dr. Maxine Greene, distinguished philosopher and professor emerita at Teachers College. Greene recently passed away at the age of 96. "Dr. Greene will be remembered as an exemplary scholar, inspirational educator, and visionary in educational research and practice."

'Network routers': a new proposal to put education research into practice
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Jack Scheider

Jack Schneider proposes a path to help bridge the gap between education research and practice.

On Teacher Effect vs. Other Stuff in New Jersey's Growth Percentiles
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker estimates a series of models to evaluate variation in New Jersey's school median growth percentile measures (SGP).

In Kentucky, Moving Beyond Dependence On Tests
NPR Ed - Anya Kamenetz

Anya Kamenetz discusses a school district in Kentucky, which is moving toward performance assessment while deemphasizing standardized testing.

The Condition of Education 2014
National Center for Education Statistics

The National Center for Education Statistics released The Condition of Education 2014. The 42 indicators presented in The Condition of Education 2014 provide a progress report on education in America and include findings on the demographics of American schools, U.S. resources for schooling, and outcomes associated with education.

'Urban' Schools and Other Euphemisms
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Deborah Meier

Deborah Meier squares off with blogger and educator Mike Klonsky in this post about 'urban' schools. Her blog discusses the evolution of the term 'urban' school and addresses the challenges still relevant today.

Raising the Bar for Early Education
National Institute for Early Education Research - Jim Squires

Jim Squires calls for an examination of early childhood education as a profession. "Until the field of early education and care comes to agreement on criteria for its 'profession' and commits to meeting exemplary standards differentiating it from a 'job' or “occupation,” we are destined to be viewed by the public as a lesser profession and reap commensurate benefits. It’s time for us to raise the bar."

Education Accountability We Can Believe In
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant calls for an end to the federal government's rolling out more new and unproven outcome-based accountability systems - including new teacher evaluation systems tied to student test scores.

Is Personalized Learning Meeting Its Productivity Promise? Early Lessons from Pioneering Schools
Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) - Larry Miller, Bethany Gross, & Robin Lake

This report from CRPE provides a fiscal analysis of eight new charter schools that implemented personalized learning (defined as blending computer-based and teacher-led instruction) this year finds that early difficulty in forecasting enrollment and revenue can undermine implementation of the model.

Excellence in Urban Schooling - Traditional DCPS Schools Shine
Learning First Alliance - Cheryl S. Williams

Cheryl Williams shares her reaction to a day-long tour of three traditional public schools in the District of Columbia (DCPS). "These are the examples of public education that need to be widely shared and celebrated as we work collaboratively to support educators and the communities they serve."

Teacher Dismissals Under New Evaluation Systems
Education Next - Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst and Katharine Lindquist

Russ Whitehurst and Katharine Lindquist discuss bias in classroom observation systems that derives from some teachers being assigned much more able students than other teachers.

Teacher Education Leaders Speak Out: Kevin Kumashiro on Teacher Preparation, edTPA and Reform
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody shares an interview with Kevin Kumashiro, Dean of the University of San Francisco's School of Education. The blog concludes, "What do you think? Is it time for schools of education to become more active in the debate over education reform?"

Teachers are the real reformers
New York Daily News - Michael Mulgrew

Michael Mulgrew, UFT president, says teachers can make things right for kids now that Bloomberg is out of the way. "Teachers, administrators and parents working together have a chance now to make New York City’s public schools the best large urban system in the nation. But we’ll only get there with real cooperation and innovation, not with stale and discredited ideas."

Segregation in Michigan schools prevails despite some progress
The Detroit News - Jesse Holland and Kim Hefling

Jesse Holland and Kim Hefling share recent research from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. "Among states with the largest percentage of black students in majority minority schools, Michigan made a slight drop from No. 3 (51.5 percent) in 1980 to No. 4 (at 50.4 percent) in the 2011-12 survey."

How Do Teachers Learn to Teach?
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

In her recent EdWeek blog, Nancy Flanagan asks some really interesting questions about teaching and learning: "How do teachers really learn to teach--to teach well, cooking on all disciplinary burners, deftly handling mini-crises of apathy and frustration, creating--on the fly--engaging new ways to absorb and apply important content and skills?"

Report: School Schedules Crowding Out Valuable Teaching Time
NEA Today - Brenda Alvarez

Brenda Alvarez discusses a new report from the National Center on Time and Learning, which detailed six practices that allow educators to strengthen their instruction; all involve crating time for teaches to learn.

Does Culture Eat Strategy for Lunch?
Learning First Alliance - Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director, Learning Forward

Stephanie Hirsh discusses the role that organizational culture plays in implementing school change initiatives. "What does a continuous improvement culture look like?"

Array of Factors Drives Students From School
Education Week - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the results of a large-scale study by America's Promise Alliance, which focused on the experiences of students who drop out of school.

National Study Finds Overwhelming Support Among Teachers and the Public for Greater Teacher Roles in School, the Classroom and Beyond

A whopping 91 percent of Americans believe teachers should have greater influence over decisions that affect student learning, with 81 percent of Americans indicating they trust teachers to make "schools run better," according to a first-of-its-kind national opinion study.

Student Assessment Merry-Go-Round
Citizens Research Council of Michigan - Craig Thiel

This blog from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan discusses the current testing debate in Michigan, where the legislature is debating CCSS (specifically whether to move forward with Smarter Balanced assessments) or continue the MEAP (Michigan's current assessment program).

The Absurdity of Teacher Evaluation Systems
The Art of Teaching Science - Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard discusses several items, including a recent column by Maureen Downey, NCTQ, and teacher evaluations. "The system of teacher evaluation that is prevalent in most states is absurd."

An Open Letter to Teach for America
Huffington Post - Mercedes Schneider

Mercedes Schneider discusses her new book on education reforms and provides a comparison with Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America. Schneider has a new book out: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who's Who in the Implosion of American Public Education.

California School Board Rejects Rocketship Charter School
Economics Policy Institute - Working Economics - Gordon Lafer

Gordon Lafer writes about a California school district, which rejected a charter school to be managed by Rocketship. Lafer recently released a report that was critical of Rocketship. "There are good and bad schools of every type, including charter schools. But all schools must be held accountable. Education policy must not be based on the assumption that there are different definitions of quality education for poor and privileged students, and should not promote a model for poor children that wealthier parents reject as substandard for their own families."

Instead of getting ready for the tech revolution, schools are scaling back
Hechinger Report - Sarah Garland

Sarah Garland investigates the digital divide in many schools across America, where students cannot access the Internet with current technology resources.

Evaluating Teachers with Classroom Observations: Lessons Learned in Four Districts
Brown Center for Education Reform at Bookings - Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst, Matthew M. Chingos and Katharine M. Lindquist

A new report from Brookings examines new teacher evaluation systems in four urban school districts. The report calls for improvements in how classroom observations are measured. It also states that outside observers are more valid than observations conducted by school administrators. And finally, the report cautions against the inclusion of school value-added components of teachers' evaluation scores.

2013 State Preschool Yearbook Finds Need for Renewed Investment
National Institute for Early Education Research - Steven Barnett

NIEER released its 2013 State Preschool Yearbook - this year’s report found states still struggling to recover from the economic downturn that did so much damage to preschool programs in the previous year. Steven Barnett noted, "Our nation has emerged from the recession, but preschool-age children are being left to suffer its effects. A year ago, our data showed a half-billion-dollar cut in funding for state pre-K and stalled enrollment. For 2012-2013, we find that enrollment is down and funding per child, while up slightly, remains stalled at near-historic lows."

Teaching and Leading While Black (On My Visit To The White House)
Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson, author of This is Not a Test, responds to a blog by Nancy Flanagan on teacher leadership. Moreover, Vilson shares his recent trip to the White House, where he asked some probing questions of Arne Duncan and Dr. Jill Biden. "Even though he has about five inches on me, it felt good to meet Secretary Duncan eye-to-eye, not in deference, but as equal in importance. That’s the type of respect we ought to fight for." Nancy Flanagan's piece, Ten Years After: Is Genuine Teacher Leadership Dead in the Water?, is another must read - LINK.

Good teaching, poor test scores: Doubt cast on grading teachers by student performance
Washington Post - Lyndsey Layton

Lindsey Layton shares a new report, the first large-scale analysis of new systems that evaluate teachers based partly on student test scores, two researchers found little or no correlation between quality teaching and the appraisals teachers received. The report was produced by Morgan Polikoff (USC) and Andrew Porter (UPenn). Polikoff said policymakers should rethink how they use VAM models. "We need to slow down or ease off completely for the stakes for teachers, at least in the first few years, so we can get a sense of what do these things measure, what does it mean," Polikoff said. "We’re moving these systems forward way ahead of the science in terms of the quality of the measures."

One Piece of the Whole: Teacher Evaluation as Part of a Comprehensive System for Teaching and Learning
American Educator - Linda Darling-Hammond

Stanford's Linda Darling-Hammond calls for a comprehensive, coherent system of teacher development and evaluation, which exist in high-quality education systems. Work needs to support ongoing professional learning opportunities that are part of a career continuum that encourages teachers to gain and share expertise.

Supporting New Teachers: What Do We Know About Effective State Induction Policies?
Center on Great Teachers & Leaders - Amy Potemski and Lauren Matlach

This report from the Center on Great Teachers & Leaders at AIR investigates the importance of state induction policies for new teachers. "A systematic approach to induction ensures that new teachers have the resources and supports they need to be effective in the classroom."

Forget traditional schools vs. charters; quality must grace all schools
Bridge Magazine - Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins, former Michigan state superintendent of schools, discusses the "false debate" in Lansing [Michigan] among traditional public schools, charter and other educational options. He calls for moving beyond the rhetoric and pushing for the discussion to move to what's best for kids, regardless of the type of school organization. "False ideological debates never educated a single child. Quality teachers and quality schools – both traditional and charters – do."

Effective PD Mirrors Effective Teaching
ASCD Express - Sara Gammack

Sara Gammack discusses effective professional development aimed at improving student learning and teacher instruction. "We must let go of a one-size-fits-all model and move toward differentiated, personalized professional development. That is professional learning reimagined."

New Book: From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse
Harvard Education Publishing - Jack Schneider

Education historian Jack Schneider seeks to answer this familiar and vexing question -- "Why do so many promising ideas generated by education research fail to penetrate the world of classroom practice? -- by turning it on its head." 

The Education Iron Triangle
Education Next - Paul E. Peterson, Michael B. Henderson, and Martin West

This Education Next piece is an excerpt from "Teachers Versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them," a new book by Paul E. Peterson, Michael Henderson and Martin R. West for Brookings Institution Press.

Charter Schools Fail: New Reports Call Their 'Magic' Into Question
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses federal legislation aimed at expanding charter schools. "Despite these urgent and well-founded calls for a change in direction on charter schools, public officials still seem intent on pursuing bad policy."

ESEA Waivers and Teacher-Evaluation Plans
Center for American Progress - Kaitlin Pennington

The Center for American Progress released a report that uses detailed case studies to look at four states: Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, and Ohio and studies development of teacher evaluation systems. This report identifies key takeaways—or best practices—for state departments of education and school districts to consider as they head into full implementation of their teacher-evaluation systems.

Center for Teaching Quality

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5-9), CTQ [Center for Teaching Quality] is launching #TeachingIs, a social media effort to challenge stereotypes and recognize teaching as the complex work it is. Set the record straight.

Study to measure cost of education unlikely in election year
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey discusses HB 5269, which called for an adequacy study to determine the cost per pupil to provide an education that would enable a student to meet state standards in Michigan.

A 'Divergent' Path: Tips on Becoming a Teacher Leader
Education Week - CTQ Collaboratory - Cheryl A. Redfield

Cheryl Redfield uses Divergent (a book by Veronica Roth) as a backdrop for explaining the paths to teacher leadership. She profiles five "divergent" qualities that teacher leaders possess: (1) selflessness; (2) intelligence; (3) courage; (4) honesty and peace; (5) and a threat to the status quo.

The Pursuit Of The Magic Education Metric
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses the Obama administration's obsession with standardized test scores.

Catholic Schools Benefit From Converting to Charter Schools, Study Finds
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Gina Cairney

Gina Cairney shares a recent report from the Friedman Foundation, an organization which strongly supports school choice preferences, which found that student enrollment in former Catholic schools increased when they became charter schools.

We Can't Just Raise Expectations
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero asks: What exactly is a culture of high expectations and how is it created? "In this post I explain why I think the idea of 'raising expectations' — when used carelessly and as a slogan — is meaningless. Expectations are not test-scores."

Teaching: The Next Generation
Third Way - Tamara Hiler and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky

This report takes a close look at "outdated policies" that deter talented Millennials from entering the teaching profession and offers prescriptions for "modernizing the career" to attract them.

Bruno: What If Teacher Evaluation Isn't Actually Broken After All?
This Week in Education - Paul Bruno

Paul Bruno discusses teacher evaluations in Indiana, where a vast majority of teachers continue to be rated "effective."

Superheroes and Transformers: Rethinking TFA's leadership models
Kappan Magazine - Tina Trujillo and Janelle Scott

Tina Trujillo and Janelle Scott write about the disconnect in school policies preferred by TFAers and investments that would address broader social and educational inequalities. TFAers tend to believe that achievement gaps can be handled with mostly managerial solutions or alterations to teacher expectations. According to Trujillo and Scott: "Public education needs leaders who embrace broader goals for children and who advocate for less popular but sustained investments in schools and communities."

Do Poor Kids Deserve Lower-Quality Education Than Rich Kids? Evaluating School Privatization Proposals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Economic Policy Institute - Gordon Lafer

Gordon Lafer investigates school choice policies in Wisconsin and a series of bills aimed at closing low performing schools, replacing them with privately run charter schools. Lafer profiles Rocketship's chain of schools - "a low-budget operation that relies on young and inexperienced teachers rather than veteran and expensive faculty."

Parental Advice To Education Policy Makers
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares links and commentary on parental involvement in schools. This blog focuses on reaction to a series of articles on the negative impact of parental involvement in schools. Bryant counters that parents need to be more involved and empowered: "Instead of empowering parents to feel they are part of their children’s education and engaging them in school governance, we are making parents feel that their input doesn’t matter and their children’s education destinies are no longer in their control…We know there is a better way forward."

Status Quo on State Bans on Affirmative Action
Inside Higher Ed - Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik discusses a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of Michigan Prop. 2 - barring public colleges and universities in Michigan from considering race in admissions.

Group to Develop Model Ethics Standards for Educators
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares news that the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) will draft a model code of ethics for educators.

Gridlocked on change, state [Mich].may bring back reviled MEAP next fall
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French updates readers on the debate in Michigan over testing, evaluation, and Common Core. Michigan is supposed to use Smarter Balanced assessments starting in spring 2015, however there is a push in the state legislature to require schools to administer the MEAP test - Michigan's outdated education test, which is not aligned to the new standards and invalid for use on evaluations.

Will The SAT Overhaul Help Achieve Equity?
Shanker Blog - Burnie Bond

Burnie Bond looks at the changes made by the College Board to overhaul the SAT test. "Will the new SAT – or, for that matter, the new Common Core State Standards, which David Coleman also had a large hand in crafting – lead us toward this vision of educational opportunity? That is yet to be seen, but I would have much more confidence in the outcome if each state department of education had begun with a focus on teaching to the new standards, rather than just testing them."

Prepping Teacher Prep for Teacher Leadership
Center for Teaching Quality - Brad Clark and Mike Paul

Mike Paul and Brad Clark comment on the need for teacher leadership training embedded in teacher preparation. "As teacher leaders pioneer the new roles and responsibilities that serve to reshape and elevate our profession, we must turn our attention toward teacher prep programs."

Quit Bashing Theory
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer calls on practitioners to stop "bashing" theory. In his blog, Spencer identifies the disconnect between theory and practice. "If we want to be seen as professionals and respected for our collective intellectual capacity, we need to quit bashing theory. In fact, we should know theory inside and out and perhaps even contributing to the research that is out there. We are already the contextual experts. Why aren't we also the theoretical experts on pedagogy?"

Teachers are losing their jobs, but Teach for America's expanding. What's wrong with that?
The Hechinger Report - Alexandra Hootnick

Alexandra Hootnick discusses Teach For America and the dilemma facing TFA when it displaces teachers instead of filling a need in a high-need area - something that doesn't fit well with the mission of the program.

On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle Against Resegregation
Teachers College Record - Nicholas D. Hartlep

Nicholas Hartlep reviews a new book by Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre School District in New York. Her book, "On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-first Century Struggle Against Resegregation," looks into de-tracking and "intellectual prejudice." Regarding "On the Same Track," Hartlep says the book: "is a rallying cry for desegregationist scholars, schoolteachers, and practicing school administrators. In my estimation, this book is consequential in relation to what is currently being practiced as well as to what is proposed for the future."

At Shanker: Are Americans (and Texans) as Stupid as the Media Tells Us We Are?
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig was a participant in a "Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education" conversation at the Albert Shanker Institute. His blog post includes video conversations with Leo Casey (Shanker Institute), Tom Loveless (Brookings Institution), Richard Rothstein (EPI), and Heilig (University of Texas).

The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation: Where We Stand - and Where We Need to Go
AFT - The American Educator - Angela Minnici

Angela Minnici shares common missteps to avoid in planning and implementing teacher evaluations.

Speaking Out: Changing the Poverty to Prison Paradigm
Principal - Melissa Nixon

Melissa Nixon discusses the poverty to prison paradigm and the role that schools and school leaders play in the system. "Making courageous decisions and believing that all children can learn are the tasks for today’s forward-thinking leaders who see a future defined by equal opportunities for all."

D.C. are you listening?: A New Local, Community-Based Approach for Accountability
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses the idea of "Community-based Accountability" - this new form of accountability would allow for a district to drive a locally based approach that focuses on the process of education for its one-year, five-year, and ten-year goals.

Delaware's Teacher Preparation is Setting a Higher Bar
Homeroom Blog - The official blog of the U.S. department of education

This blog from the U.S. department of education shares information on Delaware Senate Bill 51, which raises the bar for teacher preparation programs.

Katherine Bassett on 'Banning Hope'
Education Week - Straight Up - Katherine Bassett

Rick Hess shares a piece by Katherine Bassett, CEO of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Regarding a new leadership initiative outlined by Arne Duncan, Basset says: "We do not hope this will happen - we intend that it shall. We will hold Secretary Duncan and his team accountable for making teacher leadership a reality, rather than an idea. We will act and we will expect that action will result in real roles for teacher leaders. We will work zealously to make this happen - but we will not hope."

A Flexner Report on Teacher Preparation
Education Next - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane urges for an in-depth study of the teaching profession, similar to the Flexner report, which studied medical education in the United States and Canada (1910).

Good Teaching Really Matters! Who Knew?
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses the ongoing debate about acceptable pedagogy in college classes. "How do we define good pedagogy? Does it cross developmental levels? Can you be too old (or too intellectually stiff) to learn from play? How does good teaching differ from entertainment? And how do we get more of it?"

The Civil Rights Act at 50: Racial divides persist on how much progress has been made
Pew Research Center - Bruce Drake

Bruce Drake responds to a survey conducted last year by the Pew Research Center. The report found that 45% of all Americans said that the U.S. had made substantial progress toward racial equality. A larger share of blacks than other racial and ethnic groups said that black in their communities were still treated less fairly than whites.

Almost 70% of teachers are not engaged. Here's why that matters so much
Hechinger Report - Digital/Edu - Anya Kamenetz

Anya Kamenetz covers the Gallup report on the State of the American Schools. "Gallup’s study found that principal talent had a powerful impact on teacher engagement, which in turn affects student engagement.  They recommend that principals adopt a more collaborative management style and help new teachers acclimate by putting them together to form partnerships with more experienced teachers."

WMU Researchers Examine Online Education
WMUK 102.1 - Gordon Evans

Two Western Michigan University researchers contributed to a recent report on the growth of virtual schools. Gary Miron, a Professor of Evaluation, Measurement and Research and Brian Horvitz, Professor of Education Technology in the Education Leadership Program, at Western Michigan University, contributed to the report released in March. 

New York City: The Mississippi Of The Twenty-First Century?
Shanker Blog - Leo Casey

Leo Casey, executive director of the Shanker Institute, reacts to a new report on New York's extreme school segregation issued by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Chicago charters do no better than traditional public schools, new study finds
The Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valeri Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares results from a Chicago Sun-Times and Medill Data Project that looked at charter schools in Chicago.

Recommended Reading - Using Research Evidence in Education: From the Schoolhouse Door to Capitol Hill
Editors - Kara S. Finnigan and Alan J. Daly

This book includes a set of rigorous and accessible studies on the topic of "research evidence" from a variety of levels and educational vantage points. It also provides the reader with thoughtful commentaries from leading thinkers in the field.

We're Not No. 1! We're Not No. 1!
Daily Kos - TeacherKen

Ken Bernstein (@teacherken) deconstructs an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. 

Time For A 'Fair Shot' Agenda For Education
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant outlines a populist agenda for education. "If Democrats can envision what a 'fair shot' at economic success looks like for every American worker, what’s keeping them from seeing what a fair shot would look like for education?" The plan calls for: (1) high quality early learning for all; (2) fair and sufficient school funding; (3) personalized plans; (4) recruitment of well-prepared, well-resourced, and highly qualified teachers and school leaders; and (5) replacing discriminatory discipline practices (among others).

This Is Not a Test (This Is a Review of Jose Vilson's New Book)
Hack Education - Audrey Watters

Audrey Watters reviews José Vilson's new book. "In This Is Not A Test, José Vilson writes a personal narrative that counters folks like [David] Coleman’s concept of education, literacy and language, their valuation of people’s voice and experience. This Is Not a Test is a refusal to be silent. It’s a refusal to capitulate or conform."

The EAA: How a policy package created Michigan's statewide district
04/02/2014 - Allie Gross

Allie Gross looks at Michigan's Education Achievement Authority (EAA).  "While the EAA is a unique situation, it is also a cautionary tale to the rest of the nation, and specifically brings to question what education reform really means." Wayne State professor Tom Pedroni has provided an analysis of the performance of this statewide failing district.

Using the Arts to Turn Schools Around
Harvard Education Letter - Suzanne Bouffard

Suzanne Bouffard writes in the Harvard Education Letter that evidence builds in favor of integrating arts for positive outcomes. "A new national initiative is betting that a full embrace of the arts can be an effective core turnaround strategy for schools with low achievement."

Collaboration of Professional Community Required to Address Shameful Issue of Hard-to-Staff Schools
Learning First Alliance - American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education - Sharon P. Robinson

Sharon Robinson asks if there is a better way to staff high-need schools. She calls for increased support for novice teachers. "If we could reduce the churn of novice teachers, even by 30%, how might that positively impact student achievement—and reallocate the financial savings for learning needs?"

Is School Reform Needed or Not?
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Robert Pondiscio

Robert Pondiscio summarizes his recent letter exchange with Deborah Meier with a question that Grant Wiggins asked of Diane Ravitch - Is reform need or not? "What I found most compelling about his open letter was his observation that quality, 'unlike poverty ... is in our control as educators.' Too much commentary on teaching and learning elides this simple fact." Read Meier's response: We Need Changes Beyond School, Too.

US students rank better internationally on new problem solving test than they do on conventional math and reading exams
The Hechinger Report - Education by the Numbers - Jill Barshay

Jill Barshay shares recent numbers on a new problem solving math test. "On a new creative problem-solving test taken by students in 44 countries and regions, U.S. 15-year-olds scored above the international average and rank at number 18 in the world. That’s much better than the below-average performance of U.S. students on the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) reading and math tests conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)."

Focus on the Opportunities Ed Tech Brings, Not the Hype
Education Next - Frederick Hess

Rick Hess unbundles current commentary on education technology: "Doing better requires that we approach technology in a different way…The trick to is to stop focusing on the technology and to instead focus on the learning…The bottom line is that getting ed tech right isn't about bandwidth, devices or cool graphics, but solving problems for students and educators."

The one reform education in Michigan needs (and it has NOTHING to do with money)
Eclectablog - Gary Abud, Jr.

2014 Michigan teacher of the year Gary Abud, Jr. discusses his views on education reform and trust for teachers. "Education doesn’t need fancy reforms and policies, it needs your trust."

What the new OCR early childhood data do and do not tell us
Preschool Matters - NIEER - Steve Barnett

Last week, the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education released a report on early childhood education. The report included information on access to programs and suspension of preschool children that received significant media attention. In this blog, NIEER Director Steve Barnett discusses the limitations of these data and urges consideration and caution in their application.

Who should decide who is college material and who isn't?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner & Carol Burris

Kevin Welner and Carol Burris discuss school tracking, career and technical education (CTE), and California's Linked Learning model. "College, of course, isn’t for everybody, but who should decide — and how and when — which students should go and shouldn’t?"

What Professional Development Should Be
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan shares her recent experience at a "fabulous" conference hosted by the Ann Arbor Open School on progressive education.  "What made this conference experience what professional development should be?"

13 miles to Marshall: Tough times lead very different high schools to merge
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French, in a four-part series, writes about the merger of two Michigan high schools. Because of school choice, Albion High School was forced to shut its doors and consolidate with neighboring Marshall High School. Albion public schools now operate K-8.

Social media gives professional development a long tail
SmartBlog on Education - Kristen Swanson

Kristen Swanson writes about the advancing power of social media to transform learning for adult learners. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter chats, "have sprung up like wildfire among educators the last few years."

Teaching as a Second Act, or Maybe Even a Third
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich writes about second career teachers in her latest piece in the New York Times.

Special report: Taxpayers fund creationism in the classroom
Politico Pro - Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon writes about taxpayer bankrolled tuition for private schools.

2014 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning?
Brown Center at Brookings - Tom Loveless
The Brown Center compiled a recent report on three topics that warrant attention in American education. Part 1 summarizes who is tested in Shanghai-China; Part 2 focuses on homework in schools; and Part 3 is on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
50 myths and lies about public schools
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss
Valerie Strauss writes about a new book written by David Berliner and Gene Glass.
The Defunding of Public Education and the Creation of a Permanent Underclass
Huffington Post - Julia Meszaros
Julia Meszaros, a doctoral candidate at Florida International University, penned a recent piece on the defunding of public education. "As an academic, we are often told to be critical but are rarely encouraged to offer solutions. However, in this case I would like to propose a solution. My solution is to work to convince our local congressmen to repeal the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as Race to the Top, and work with teachers to write a new educational bill that does not measure success based entirely upon test scores."
A Primer for Engaging Teach For America Supporters
Cloaking Inequity - Chad Sommer
"Have you ever found yourself trapped in the insufferable position of having to tolerate a Teach For America true believer relentlessly bombarding you with justifications for Teach For America’s placement atop the corporate org chart of educational excellence?" This Cloaking Inequity blog offers some suggested replies for eight of Teach For America's most tried arguments.
High suspension, expulsion rates driven by ineffective school policies, not 'bad kids'
Indiana University - Russell Skiba
Russell Skiba, director of the Equity Project at CEEP (Center for Evaluation & Education Policy) at Indiana University, heads a group that identifies promising initiatives to address discipline gaps by race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. The collaborative effort compiled and analyzed a large body of research on suspensions and expulsions.
The Failure of Test-Based Accountability
Daily Kos - Teacherken - Kenneth Bernstein

Ken Bernstein reacts to a blog by Marc Tucker, CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy. "I urge you to read both all of this blog entry by Tucker, as well as the previous one to which he points. They are powerful."

This took Teach For America 24 years to figure out?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares her thoughts on Teach For America's decision to expand training to nearly 2,000 college juniors - moving beyond the 5 weeks in traditional TFA training programs.

SIG And The High Price Of Cheap Evidence
Shanker Blog - Matt Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo breaks down recent data on School Improvement (SIG) programs. "These data — consisting solely of changes in proficiency rates — were widely reported as an indication of 'disappointing' or 'mixed' results. Some even went as far as proclaiming the program a complete failure."

What really matters? Equitable & Adequate Funding!
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker shares his recent work regarding school finance in preparation for a presentation. "On balance, it is safe to say that a significant and growing body of rigorous empirical literature validates that state school finance reforms can have substantive, positive effects on student outcomes, including reductions in outcome disparities or increases in overall outcome levels."

Can Professional Environments in Schools Promote Teacher Development? Explaining Heterogeneity in Returns to Teaching Experience
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis - Matthew Kraft and John Papay

A recent analyses shows that teachers working in more supportive professional environments improve their effectiveness more over time than teachers working in less supportive contexts. "On average, teachers working in schools at the 75th percentile of professional environment ratings improved 38% more than teachers in schools at the 25th percentile after 10 years."

How education reform drives gentrification
Aljazeera America - Arun Gupta

Arun Gupta discusses contract negotiations in Portland, OR and the demands of school reformers and business alliances. "The success of Portland teachers in fighting off misguided educational policies could help counter the swelling inequality that is pulverizing the city’s neighborhoods."

Why Do State and Local School Agencies Underinvest in Evidence?
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas Kane

Harvard professor Thomas Kane advocates for more local investment in research to inform decision making. "Locally derived evidence will be more influential in local policy debates.  Moreover, the impact of any intervention will depend on local conditions."

The Curriculum Wars Live On: Two Contemporary Flash Points
Education Next - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless discusses how two contemporary issues are shaping the future of education: (1) technology; and (2) Common Core.

Performance Assessment Re-Emerging in Schools
Education Week - Ross Brenneman

Ross Brenneman discusses a movement toward performance assessment and away from traditional forms of assessment in schools; performance tasks that involve problem-solving to communicate comprehension. (This article requires paid access).

New Orleans goes all in on charter schools. Is it showing the way?
The Christian Science Monitor - Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

Nine in 10 students attend charter schools in New Orleans, which sought to transform failing public schools after hurricane Katrina. No other US city has gone so far down the charter path.

Why preschool critics are wrong
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Steven Barnett

Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers, takes on critics of early education. He takes former Grover Whitehurst, Brookings Institution, to task for recent claims that the evidence does not support benefits from preschool.

Five Reasons EdCamps work
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer shares his thoughts on the recent trend in teacher learning: EdCamps - self-selected professional development.

TFA answers my FOIA-like request
Teach For Us - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein shares attrition rates and research related to Teach For America and finds their data to be skewed.

Wait, What? Educators Highly Satisfied With Classroom Autonomy, Morale
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares reaction to a recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) regarding educator job satisfaction and autonomy.

Will better evaluations and more training help Michigan's teachers improve?
Michigan Public Radio - State of Opportunity - Dustin Dwyer

Dustin Dwyer discusses teacher evaluations in Michigan. Two bills are currently before the Michigan legislature, the bills call for a revamping of teacher and principal evaluations.

Common Core in the Districts: An Early Look at Early Implementers
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Katie Cristol and Brian Ramsey

A new study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute explores Common Core implementation in four school systems.

A Better Option Than TFA
Center for Teacher Quality - Jon Eckert
Jon Eckert posts a follow up to a guest post from Megan Thornton and Derrick Rohl, two pre-service teachers at Wheaton College, who chose a Master of Arts in Teaching over Teach For America (TFA). They list five reasons for choosing the MAT route. "Will we grow a great deal as first-year teachers? Will we spend a significant amount of time preparing for eventual entry into our own classrooms? Sure, but we wouldn’t have it any other way."
Primary Sources - Third Edition
02/25/2014 - Scholastic

The third edition of Primary Sources, a survey of over 20,000 public school teachers, investigates views about teaching in an era of change.

Critical pedagogy: schools must equip students to challenge the status quo
The Guardian - Tait Coles

Tait Coles says teachers should embrace radical pedagogy and provoke students to demand equality for themselves and others. "Education has the power to change social inequality by nurturing a generation with an educated mistrust of everything that has been indoctrinated before. This educational stance is one that we must all strive for as the moral purpose of education."

Navigating Policy and Trying out New Ways of Teaching: Teachers and Children Becoming Experts
The New Educator - Lisa Kuh & Christy Nelson

How can teachers engage in new ways of teaching that demonstrate student achievement beyond required standardized testing? This article by teachers for teachers shares one team's experience engaging in documentation with children via ongoing projects. Teachers shifted how they viewed assessment, used assessment tools and negotiated the curriculum and standards to which they must adhere in their district. (This article requires paid access).

From a Managerial Imperative to a Learning Imperative: Experiences of Urban, Public School Principals
Educational Administration Quarterly - Aimee LaPointe Terosky

This article examines the experiences of urban, public school principals noted for their instructional leadership and highlights a leadership approach grounded in a learning imperative.

Having it both ways: How charter schools try to obtain funding of public schools and the autonomy of private schools
Emory Law Journal - Preston C. Green III, Bruce D. Baker, Joseph O. Oluwole

This Article discusses how charter schools have used their hybrid characteristics to obtain the benefits of public funding while circumventing state and federal rights and protections for employees and students that apply to traditional public schools. 

Florida Releases 'Value Added' Data on Teachers
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Florida has become the latest state, after New York and Ohio, to release "value added" data on its teachers to news outlets, after losing an open-records battle in the courts to the Florida Times-Union.

To Whom does Teach For America Give Power and Influence?
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

A new peer-reviewed article, Mapping the Terrain: Teach For America, Charter School Reform, and Corporate Sponsorship (Kretchmar, Sondel, & Ferrare, 2014) in the Journal of Education Policy reveals the relationships between Teach For America (TFA) and federal charter school “reform” to interrogate how policy decisions are shaped by networks of elite individuals, organizations, and private corporations.

To save the Common Core, don't fear the moratorium
Fordham Institute - Flypaper - Morgan Polikoff

Morgan Polikoff discusses a "brewing backlash" by the teachers' unions as a threat to the Common Core. "Given all of these concerns, in the forced choice between teacher evaluation and high-quality, common standards, common standards should win. Policymakers shouldn't be afraid of the high-stakes moratorium for teacher-accountability purposes. In fact, they should embrace it. Delaying questionable teacher-evaluation policies for a couple years won't cause massive disruption."

The Waive of the Future? School Accountability in the Waiver Era
American Educational Research Association - Educational Researcher - Morgan Polikoff, Andrew McEachin, Stephani Wrabel, and Matthew Duque

The authors describe and critique the approved waiver accountability plans from No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Findings reveal a "mixed bag - some states have made large improvements and others have not."

States Struggle to Hash Out Funding Formulas for Virtual Charter Schools
Education Week - Charters and Choice - Katie Ash

Katie Ash discusses a new report on virtual schools published by the Education Commission on the States.

The Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship
Education Next - Timothy J. Bartik and Marta Lachowska

Timothy J. Bartik and Marta Lachowska at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research share the results of their study of the Kalamazoo Promise. The Kalamazoo Promise provides college scholarships to graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS).

Qualitative research as policy knowledge: framing policy problems and transforming education from the ground up
Education Policy Analysis Archives - Michael Dumas and Gary L. Anderson

The authors suggest that notions of research’s relevance to policy and practice may be too narrow a way of thinking about how qualitative scholarship might enter policy discourse.

Kane Unable
Teach For Us - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein reacts to Harvard professor Tom Kane's testimony in a California case regarding teacher tenure process and LIFO layoff procedures. Kane's work relies heavily on value-added calculations that have limitations, are imprecise, and are heavily disputed.

Which winning ideas could the U.S. steal from Singapore?
Hechinger Education - Sarah Butrymowicz

Sarah Butrymowicz shares her recent experiences in Singapore and discusses lessons for the United States. "Not everything Singapore does would apply to our much larger, decentralized education system and not everything they do should be emulated. But there are some inspirations we could draw from the country, such as trying to get more high-performing students into the classroom as teachers or being more explicit in the character qualities we want students to develop – without obsessing over how to measure them."

Tale of Two Schools
Learning First Alliance - Phi Delta Kappa International - Joan Richardson

Joan Richardson, editor-in-chief, Kappan magazine (PDK International), explains her perspective on the charter school debate. "In spite of the benefit to individual students, I still wonder whether charter schools are ultimately good for the country."

Political posturing, multimillion dollar contracts and the future of student testing in Michigan
State of Opportunity - Michigan Public Radio - Dustin Dwyer

Dustin Dwyer discusses the debate over Michigan's next generation standardized tests. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has called for adoption of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, while other interest groups are pushing for alternatives, such as Aspire from the ACT.

Supporting Principals in Implementing Teacher Evaluation Systems
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) - National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) released recommendations to assist principals with new teacher evaluation systems. "Principals face many challenges in the teacher evaluation process, including insufficient training, unclear rubrics, poor feedback mechanisms and inadequate time to complete them."

Matching Up Teacher Value-Added Between Different Tests
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses a recent report from the U.S. department of education, which compared value-added (VAM) estimates using two different tests in Indiana.

What does the future of learning look like?
Learning First Alliance - ISTE - Kecia Ray

Kecia Ray, President of the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE), shares her thoughts on a new report by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy. Fullan and Langworthy published "A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning." This report reflects on the impact technology has had on the way we learn.

Rightsize this! When simple, ignorant solutions & simulations just don't cut it
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker reviews a recent Fordham Institute report by AIR's Michael Hansen. "Rightsizing the Classroom" suggests that "great" teachers could be given larger classes, reducing students exposed to "bad" teachers.

Teaching and Learning from Within: A Core Reflection Approach to Quality and Inspiration in Education
TC Record - Douglas Larkin

Douglas Larkin reviews a recent book by Fred A. J. Korthagen, Younghee M. Kim, & William L. Greene (eds.). Larkin has this to say about the usefulness of this work, "What will make this volume valuable to teacher educators is its focus on helping individuals resolve inner problems in order to solve external ones. Perhaps even more significantly, this book pushes back against the notion of quick fixes in teacher education by reinforcing the idea that improving one’s teaching is a complex, personal, and intrinsically time-intensive process."

Speaking up: Extra reading on education reform
The Capital Times - - Pat Schneider

Tim Slekar, dean of education at Edgewood College, shares his thoughts on education reform. Slekar points to evidence supporting his opinions on education issues.

Ravitch unloads on school 'deform'
The Washington Post - Lindsey Layton

Diane Ravitch was in Washington on Tuesday and spent some time with AFT president Randi Weingarten on Capitol Hill. "The two spent some time on Capitol Hill Tuesday, meeting with lawmakers,including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)"

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card
Education Law Center -

Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card is co-authored by Bruce Baker of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education; David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center (ELC); and Danielle Farrie, ELC Research Director.

Opportunity To Churn: Teacher Assignments Within New York City Schools
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo shares his thoughts on a recent working paper by Allison Atteberry, Susanna Loeb and James Wyckoff, which was presented at the CALDER conference.

How The Debate Over Charter Schools Makes Us Dumber
Talking Points Memo (TPM) - Opinion - Conor P. Williams
Conor P. Williams, senior researcher in New America's Early Education Initiative, attempts to redirect the conversation about charter schools. Citing the research of "pure charter triumphalism" and "denialism," he urges for a reframing of the argument - "productive conversations beat unproductive ones any day of the week."
Which Student Growth Method Should Policymakers Use to Evaluate Schools?
Education Next - Mark Ehlert, Cory Koedel, Eric Parsons, and Michael Podgursky

Authors Mark Ehlert, Cory Koedel, Eric Parsons, and Michael Podgursky examine three evaluation approaches that represent the range of options available to policymakers. This study examines three competing approaches to measuring growth in student achievement. The report "Choosing the Right Growth Measure," identifies and advances a two-step value-added technique.

Teacher autonomy and teaching quality: Putting more think into the think tank
Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry responds to a recent report of the Center for American Progress (CAP), which questions "long-standing evidence" about teacher job satisfaction and autonomy. "Let’s not allow one thinktank’s shallow analysis of data to distract us from the problems at hand - issues well-documented by researchers over time and that can be confirmed by frank conversation with nearly any teacher you know."

De Blasio says he won't allow co-locations for charter schools
New York Post - Aaron Short and Yoav Gonen

This NYPost article discusses recent actions by NYC mayor Bill De Blasio regarding capital improvement funding for charter schools and co-location agreements, which allow for charters and public schools to operate at the same location.

Superintendent on school reform: 'It is not working'
The Washington Post - Valerie Strauss

Madison Schools (CT) Superintendent Tom Scarice shares his thoughts with Connecticut legislators and Gov. Daniel Malloy on recent efforts to "pause" accountability measures. He calls on the state to "revisit" the substance of recent reforms and the rigidity of recent teacher evaluation guidelines.

Obama's approach to education in the 2014 State of the Union
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig reflects on the 2014 State of the Union. This piece was cross-posted by The Conversation UK, an independent news commentary website produced by "academics and journalists in collaboration, sourcing news, commentary and the latest research from the academic community."

PISA: A Clarion Bell for American Education?
Learning First Alliance - AACTE Committee on Global Diversity
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Committee on Global Diversity calls the new PISA results a clarion bell for the teaching profession: "They provide us valuable information on where American learners stand in comparison to other nations in academic performance and in the ability to think critically, and they add to the evidence base in educational research. Of two possible visions for American education—the current one with unequal distribution of educational resources, or one with more balanced and equitable opportunities for all learners—for a stronger America (and world), we support the latter vision."
An Urgent Need for Short-Cycle Clinical Trials in Education
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane offers some ideas about rapid cycle feedbacks as a way to foster research and development in education. "We are not lacking innovation in U.S. education.  We lack the ability to learn from our innovations."

What Could Be Wrong With 'School Choice'?
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses parental choice and the run up to School Choice Week. "All the parental choice in the world, after all, is useless without the guarantee to the availability of good schools everywhere for all students. Until politicians and education advocates start showing they will fight for that, proclamations about “school choice” ring hollow."

A Tale of Two (Charter) Cities
CRPE - Robin Lake

Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), discusses her recent trip to Detroit. She contrasts the lack of quality school choice that abounds in Detroit with new laws in Washington state. Choice has been "unleashed in Detroit" and "tightly harnessed" in Spokane, Washington. Regarding school choice, she had this to say: "Unregulated school choice is a nightmare for parents and very difficult to fix. It is not enough for choice advocates to simply acknowledge bad actors and bad laws, sigh with disapproval, and move on."

Bill to Offer an Option to Give Vouchers
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich covers a new school choice plan rolled out by Sen. Lamar Alexander, former secretary of education. "Mr. Alexander’s bill would take about $24 billion — or about 41 percent — of current federal spending on elementary and secondary public schools, and allow states to decide whether to give the lowest-income families the money as individual scholarships to pay for private school tuition, or to attend a public school outside the child’s traditional neighborhood zone, or a charter school."

Poverty and the education opportunity gap: Will Obama step up in SOTU?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner

Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), previews the State of the Union address. Specifically, Welner tackles the president's theme of inequality in the United States. "The way to reduce wealth inequality is to do just that: reduce wealth inequality. Our public schools can help, but they cannot do it alone." Welner recently co-edited, along with Prudence Carter,  "Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance."

Putting Growth and Value-Added Models on the Map: A National Overview
Teachers College Record - Clarin Collins and Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

This recent TCRecord article synthesises qualitative and quantitative themes related to state implementation of growth and value-added models used in teacher evaluation accountability. Findings of this study provide a one-stop resource on what each state has in place in development regarding growth or value-added model use.

Extended School Time Proposals And Charter Schools
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses "extended learning time" - expanding the day and/or year to give students more time in school. He considers extended learning time an example where public schools could learn from successful implementation programs in some charter school networks.

In the Quest to Improve Schools, Have Teachers Been Stripped of Their Autonomy?
Center for American Progress - Ulrich Boser and Robert Hanna

Ulrich Boser and Robert Hanna discuss teacher autonomy, freedom, and satisfaction. This report from the Center for American Progress seeks to dispute the claim that loss of teacher autonomy is causing teachers to lose job satisfaction and leave the career. The report contends that teachers already have substantial autonomy and freedom. They counter that a bigger problem might be the need to provide teachers with opportunities and supports that they need to build a true profession. They call for creating a common knowledge base and incentive teachers with financial rewards.

School-Based Instructional Rounds
Harvard Education Letter - Lee Teitel

Lee Teitel, author of the book School-Based Instructional Rounds, shares his thoughts on instructional rounds in practice. Harvard's EdCast (podcast) also shared Dr. Teitel's work and how schools were implementing rounds and what schools have learned from the process.

The Education Department's strange new report on teaching
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares teacher and blogger Larry Ferlazzo's thoughts on a new report on effective teaching from the U.S. Department of Education.

How Do You Make a Good Teacher?
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reacts to changing requirements and tests for Michigan's aspiring teachers. The Michigan Department of Education recently rolled out a new test for pre-service teachers, and test scores fell substantially from previous years.

Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Teachers
Teach For Us - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein shares his thoughts on advice to students considering teaching as a career. Rubinstein shares his doubt about the future of teaching, current trends in educational reform, and the drivers behind an impending mass exodus of teachers from schools.

Educational Gerrymandering?
Harvard Educational Review - Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
Genevieve Siegel-Hawley illuminates the challenges and opportunities posed by demographic change in suburban school systems.
Teacher Turnover In DCPS
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses teacher turnover, teachers leaving the profession. The Washington, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) loses about 25 percent of its teachers every year, with 19 percent leaving the profession. In the highest poverty schools, 40 percent of teachers leave every year.

Come with me...if you wanna go to Kansas City? Thoughts on BBQ, Baseball and Reformy BS
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker reviews a proposal from a group called Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, in collaboration with the school reform group Public Impact, to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education about Kansas City's public schools. The report proposes to replace the district with an "under-regulated, loosely governed confederation of benevolent non-profit actors." Baker discusses relevant research on chartering school districts.

A new day for Michigan teaching programs
Bridge Magazine - Donald Heller

Donald Heller, dean of the college of education at Michigan State University, responds to changes made by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to the Professional Readiness Examination (PRE). Changes to Michigan's initial test for teacher certification resulted in drastically lower scores across all universities in Michigan. "It is difficult to argue against the concept of wanting to have strong students going into the teaching profession, but relying on these tests may not be the best method for ensuring this outcome."

Why the U.S. Results on PISA Matter
Education Next - Eric Hanushek

Eric Hanushek on the 2012 PISA scores. "Other countries have shown that it is possible to improve. While changing achievement might be difficult, there is ample evidence that it is critical to the U.S. future."

Cultivating Collaboration
American Educator - Greg Anrig
Greg Anrig studies collaboration and the science behind thriving labor-management relationships. The Winter 2013-14 edition of American Educator is dedicated to collaboration, read more here.
Should principals stop visiting classrooms?
The Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Daniel Willingham

Daniel Willingham discusses the varying roles of school principals and recent research on time spent informally visiting classes in schools. He addresses the key question of whether or not an administrator needs to be an 'instructional' leader.

Evidence Refutes TFA Expansion
At The Chalk Face - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas shares his thoughts on a new brief, Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence, by Julian Vasquez Heilig and Su Jin Jez.

Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence (The Sequel)
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig uses his blog to update his readers on his new policy brief, Teach For America: A Return to the Evidence, co-authored by Su Jin Jez. This brief, along with a previous brief, Teach For America: A Review of the Evidence, were produced by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Policy and Practice.

What's the Matter With Kansas' Schools?
New York Times - The Opinion Pages - Op-Ed - David Sciarra and Wade Henderson

David Sciarra and Wade Henderson offer commentary on a lawsuit before the Kansas Supreme Court regarding the state's support for public education. Kansas has severely cut spending on K-12 education, which some critics argue violates the state's constitutional responsibility to provide public education.

Revisiting The Issue Of Charter Schools And Special Education Students
The Shanker Blog - Matt Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses the issue of charter schools who selectively "counsel out" special education students.

Michigan has only one option for student testing, education officials say
MLive - Brian Smith

Brian Smith discusses a recent report from the Michigan Department of Education to the Michigan Legislature, which advocates using Smarter Balanced exams instead of other commercially available tests to meet new Common Core State Standards.

This Is What Could Close The Achievement Gap Among Young Kids, Study Says
The Huffington Post - Rebecca Klein

Rebecca Klein shares recent research on early childhood intervention programs and their ability to eliminate achievement gaps.

Time for a New Approach to Professional-Development Research?
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares information on a recent brief published in Education Researcher. Professional Development Research: Consensus, Crossroads, and Challenges was authored by Heather Hill, Mary Beisiegel, and Robin Jacob.

NNSTOY's Report on Teacher 'Career Pathways'
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess considers teacher voice in response to a recent report from the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), which calls for "Sustainable Teacher Career Pathways." He poses a thoughtful question: What do teachers do when they get a seat at the table?

2014: The Year of Universal Proficiency
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli discusses "universal proficiency" within the controversial NCLB law. Petrilli further discusses establishing empirical proficiency goals based on NAEP scores in Massachusetts, which traditionally scores above the U.S. average.

Exogenous Variables and Value-Added Assessments: A Fatal Flaw
Teachers College Record - David Berliner

In this recent TC Record article, David Berliner discusses the use of value-added assessment of teachers. "This literature review first focuses on the confusion in the minds of the public and politicians between teachers’ effects on individual students, which may be great and usually positive, and teachers’ effects on classroom mean achievement scores, which may be limited by the huge number of exogenous variables affecting classroom achievement scores."

Thousands of black and Latino kids lost their schools in 2013
MSNBC - Trymaine Lee

Trymaine Lee discusses the impact of school closings on black and Latino communities across the U.S. Across the country, 1,929 schools were closed during the 2010-11 school year.

U.S. education officials lobbied against Starr for New York City schools post
The Washington Post - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares information on reported efforts by the U.S. department of education to lobby against Joshua P. Starr, currently Montgomery County Schools Superintendent, from becoming the next Chancellor of the NYC public schools.

The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course
NPR - Around the Nation - Eric Westervelt

Eric Westervelt discusses online education, MOOCs, and trends in higher education.

Michigan's school recovery district at crossroads
The Detroit News - Jennifer Chambers

Jennifer Chambers discusses Michigan's controversial recovery district, the  Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

Why Teachers of Color Quit
The Atlantic - Amanda Machado

Amanda Machado looks at the drivers behind higher teacher turnover among black and Latino teachers.

Worth A Read
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice - Worth A Read

Worth A Read will return January 3, 2014. Thank you for following our weekly rundown of education commentary and research. Did you know that the Great Lakes Center also funds policy briefs and reviews of research? Visit our website to learn more. Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

Leaders of teachers union, business group join to support Common Core standards
The Washington Post - Lyndsey Layton

Lyndsey Layton writes about a joint plea from Randi Weingarten, current AFT president, and John Engler, the former Michigan governor who leads the Business Roundtable, for governors to stand behind the Common Core standards.

School Reform: Learning from Around the World
Stanford University - Ann Lieberman

Stanford's Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) shares Ann Lieberman's recent work in "Leading Educational Change," a new book by Helen Janc Malone. Malone's book is a collection featuring original essays from "international superstars." Lieberman says, "Learning from other countries is giving us some innovative and important ways that this is happening. Will teachers be given the time and support to create schools whose policies will enhance the commitment of teachers to be full partners in the changing practices?"

Public schools beat private schools: A pair of education researchers have a new take on which schools work - and why
The Boston Globe - Amy Crawford

Amy Crawford shares the findings of a recent book by Sarah and Christopher Lubienski. Their new book takes an in-depth look at nationwide standardized test data and compared scores from public, private, and charter schools.

Better teachers mean better education for your children
Detroit Free Press - Helen F. Ladd

Duke researcher Helen Ladd shares her comments on teacher churn, teacher retention, and the impact of market-based reforms in education.  "Schools pay a high price for too much teacher turnover. Surely, America can do better. The all-important starting point is to recognize the value of teacher experience and learn how to develop and reward it."

Even when test scores go up, some cognitive abilities don't
MIT News - Anne Trafton

MIT neuroscientists find even high-performing schools don’t influence their students’ abstract reasoning.

John Thompson: Time is Right for 'Principles that Unite Us'
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - John Thompson

John Thompson discusses "The Principles that Unite Us," a call from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to unite in a new era of reform. Thompson shares, "Now is the time for teachers, unions, parents, students, and persons who respect the principles of public education and our constitutional democracy to launch a counter-attack."

Charter Schools Continue Dramatic Growth Despite Controversies
Huffington Post - Joy Resmovits

Joy Resmovits covers a new report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools that showed increased "market share" in key U.S. cities.  79 percent of New Orleans students are in charter schools, 51 percent in Detroit, and 43 percent in Washington, D.C.

Predictions about Technology in K-12 and Higher Education for 2024
School Reform and Classroom Practice - Larry Cuban

Larry Cuban updates his annual education technology predictions. In this version, he discusses technology in K-12 and higher education.

It's PISA Time! (And We Suck)
National Journal - Education Insiders - Fawn Johnson

Fawn Johnson declares last week "National Flog Ourselves Week," in response to the release of PISA scores from 2012.  She asks, "What can the United States learn from countries like Poland, Switzerland, or Canada that rank higher but have more similar cultures to us than China?"

Time To Change The Way We Ensure Quality Teachers
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares information about a new document from the Opportunity to  Learn campaign "Excellent Teachers for Each and Every Child: A Guide for State Policy." The policy document calls for recruiting a diverse pool of teachers to the profession, preparing teachers to be ready for the classroom and leadership, support ongoing professional development, develop evaluation systems that improve student learning, address teaching and learning conditions, fund a sustainable teaching force, and promote comprehensive teacher quality strategies.

Charter Schools Survive a Biting 'Rain of Terror'
Education Next - Paul E. Peterson

Paul E. Peterson writes about the growth of charter schools in the United States. He concludes, "Despite the drenching antireform downpour, charter schools are gaining in respect, numbers, and political adherents, mainly because they are digging deep roots in local communities."

For-Profit Charter Management Organizations Expand Reach, Report Says
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Sean Cavanagh

Sean Cavanagh discusses a recent report from the National Education Policy Center which found rising rates of "commercialism" in the charter school management market.

A Few Additional Points About The IMPACT Study
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo
Matt Di Carlo comments on DC's IMPACT, teacher evaluation, program and a recent working paper which attempted to study the effectiveness of changing the way teachers are evaluated.
Presumed Averageness: The Mis-Application of Classical Hypothesis Testing in Education
The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas J. Kane

Tom Kane, Harvard Professor, discusses estimated value-added models for teachers and the disagreement in how to use/interpret the findings.  "Measures of the effectiveness of individual teachers are sufficiently 'noisy' that only a few percent of teachers will have measured effectiveness 'statistically significantly' different from average."

U.S. private school students not much better than public school students in math
Hechinger Report - Education by the numbers - Jill Barshay

Jill Barshay compares recent PISA scores in public and private schools.

Graph of the Day: My contribution to PISA Palooza
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker responds to recent international test scores compiled by OECD.  Using 2012 PISA math literacy scores, Baker plots them against percentage scores of children living below 50% median income.

Let the Best Practices Rorschach Test Begin
Education Next - Jay P. Greene

Jay Greene shares how recent PISA test scores were interpreted by various stakeholder groups.

ESEA Waivers And The Perpetuation Of Poor Educational Measurement
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo shares a recent paper by Morgan Polikoff, Andrew McEachin, Stephen Wrabel, and Matthew Dugue which studies states that received ESEA flexibility waivers — Di Carlo in his review finds, "most states are still choosing their lowest performing schools based largely on a measure that should not be used as an indicator of school performance."

Why Milwaukee Voucher Students are Returning to Public Schools
NEA Today Online - Mary Ellen Flannery
Mary Ellen Flannery shares information from Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), which shows students leaving voucher schools and returning to the traditional public schools.  The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association (MTEA) participated in an organizing campaign to help parents become more informed of their choices for schools.
Recruiting Stars to Teaching
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner responds to a recent roll-out of a public service campaign to recruit the best and brightest to teaching.

Responding to an Uninformed Critique
Economic Policy Institute - Working Economics - Martin Carnoy & Richard Rothstein
Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein respond to criticisms of their recent work on international test scores and American schools by Marc Tucker, National Center on Education and the Economy.
Reframing the Refrain: Choice as a Civil Rights Issue
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig investigates the "false choice" created between traditional public schools and charter schools in many urban communities around the country. Reformers and school choice advocates often conflate school choice with civil rights.

Who Considers Teaching and Who Teaches?
NCES - Sandra Staklis and Robin Henke

This Statistics in Brief examines the teaching status of 2007-08 first-time bachelor’s degree recipients one year after graduation. Among these recent graduates, the analysis compares four groups with respect to their teaching experiences or interest in teaching: those who taught either before or after receiving their bachelor’s degree, those who prepared to teach but had not taught, those who considered teaching, and those who did not consider teaching.

Right-sizing the Classroom: Making the Most of Great Teachers
Fordham Institute - Michael Hansen

Right-sizing the Classroom: Making the Most of Great Teachers attempts to study class-size issues where the most effective teachers are assigned more students and weaker teachers are assigned fewer students.

A Quick Look At The DC Charter School Rating System
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo provides a quick overview of the school rating system used by charters in the District of Columbia.

Great Teachers Don't Always Want to Become Principals
The Atlantic - Liz Riggs

Liz Riggs discusses a common problem in the teaching profession, professional advancement (career development) at the expense of leaving the classroom. She explores the concept of teachers keeping one foot in the classroom, while exploring opportunities for leadership and development outside the classroom.

Examining High-Stakes Testing
Education Next - Joshua P. Starr and Margaret Spellings

Joshua Starr, superintendent of schools in Montgomery County, MD, makes the case for a three-year hiatus from high-stakes accountability testing while new standards and tests are implemented.Margaret Spellings, U.S. secretary of education from 2005 to 2009, defends the testing as a critical source of information, for educators as well as the public, and argues for holding the line.

Talent Transfer Initiative: Attracting and Retaining High-Performing Teachers in Low-Performing Schools
Mathematica Policy Research

Mathematica Policy Research recently released the results of a complex merit pay study. It studied financial incentives for high-performing teachers to transfer to selected low-performing schools in their district.

Variance Among The States, How Much Is Too Much?
11/12/2013 - Andrew Rotherham

Andy Rotherham discusses the multiple interpretations on NAEP scores, and how they can be used to show "just about anything." He goes on to discuss the successes and failures of NCLB and RTTT.

When policymakers don't understand basic statistics
A Sociological Eye on Education - Aaron Pallas

Aaron Pallas writes about common mistakes and logic applied to the recently released scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Montgomery schools chief: Close achievement gaps, expand innovation
The Washington Post - Donna St. George

Donna St. George shares information from Montgomery County (MD) Superintendent Joshua P. Starr and his yearly "State of the Schools" address.

Take Me Out [of the VAM] Game
Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) - Rob Kriete

Rob Kriete compares his VAM score to baseball statistics in this blog published on the CTQ website. "I’m confident the sharing of my Value-Added Model score does not help anyone understand the effectiveness of my classroom teaching; yet, if given the opportunity to observe my classroom, that young adults are thinking, learning and collaborating would be evident.  Transparent classrooms will improve teaching, not a “magical” number."

The Principal: The Most Misunderstood Person in All of Education
The Atlantic - Kate Rousmaniere

Kate Rousmaniere discusses the task of reforming schools from the principal's office. "A single individual acts on a daily basis as the link between a large bureaucratic system and the daily experiences of a large number of children and adults."

Effects of Inequality and Poverty vs. Teachers and Schooling on America's Youth
Teachers College Record - David C. Berliner

David Berliner investigates how rising income inequality, poverty, and segregation have had negative consequences for American education. "Finding solutions to America’s economic problems, and the reduction in social problems that are sure to follow, is much more likely to solve the educational problems our nation faces than any of the other approaches currently offered by our nations’ state and federal governments." This work was also shared by Worth A Read in October 2012.

Voucher Battles Continue Across the Country
NEA Today Online - Rita Zeidner

Rita Zeidner discusses an ongoing dispute between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Louisiana over the use of vouchers. Plus, you can find a Policy Memo authored by Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center here.

What kind of education do you get if you spend $12,000 per student?
NPR - State of Opportunity - Jennifer Guerra, Michigan Radio

Jennifer Guerra looks at educational funding in Michigan, where districts spend as little as $7,000-$8,000 per pupil in some districts, while others are spending as much as $12,000.

Civil Rights Investigation Finds Virtual Charter Violating Special Ed. Laws
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Katie Ash
Katie Ash reports on a civil rights violations by the Virtual Community School of Ohio. An investigation of the civil rights office of the U.S. Department of Education found that the Ohio virtual school does not provide appropriate services for students who are covered under Section 504 plans.
From 'Living for Teaching' to 'Teaching for a Living'
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer shares a post on the different views of teaching as a profession. How teachers see themselves matters in how they advocate for their profession.

Why Are American Schools Still Segregated?
The Atlantic - Eleanor Barkhorn
Eleanor Barkhorn shares the results of a new study that finds that schools are becoming more segregated.
In Public Education, Edge Still Goes to Rich
New York Times - Eduardo Porter

Eduardo Porter dives into economic data on schools in the United States. The U.S. is one of the few nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students. Read more.

Jal Mehta Nails the Reasons Why School Reform Has Failed
Schools Matter - John Thompson

John Thompson responds to Jal Mehta's "From Bureaucracy to Profession: Remaking the Education Sector for the Twenty-first Century." Worth A Read previously shared Mehta's work from the Harvard Education Review. Mehta's work seeks to examine the problem with holding teachers accountable for a broken education sector.

Getting Teacher Evaluation Right
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero discusses her reactions to "Getting Teacher Evaluation Right," a recently released work by Stanford researcher Linda Darling-Hammond. Quintero summarizes several of the books main arguments and ends with a series of probing questions on how we can or should evaluate teachers.

Report Sees 'Seismic Shift' in State Teacher-Evaluation Policies
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Liana Heitin

Liana Heitin discusses a recently released annual study on teacher evaluation policies by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). The report offers a glimpse into the teacher evaluation policy changes that have taken place across the nation.

Wisconsin Vouchers, Cyber Charters Come Under Scrutiny
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Katie Ash

Katie Ash reports on a study by the Associated Press that found low performance in Wisconsin voucher schools and virtual charter schools.

The Facts, Not the Spin, about Washington D.C.'s IMPACT Evaluation System
Schools Matter - John Thompson

John Thompson reacts to the recent working paper by James Wyckoff and Thomas Dee on the IMPACT teacher evaluation system in Washington, D.C. Thompson also shares the thoughts of UCLA's Samuel Culbert.

Gains in Teacher Quality
Education Next - Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch
Using several datasets, Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch investigate trends in academic proficiency for teachers.
Union-District Teams Agree Collaboration is Key to Student Success
NEA Today Online - Edward Graham
Edward Graham shares information about a recent event hosted by the NEA Foundation, which comprised district-leadership teams. The topic of the conversation was collaboration for school district success.
“This is really about figuring out what happens when passionate people, talented people, and committed people put all their energy in the same direction,” says Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation.
Better teacher training equals better schools
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Jim Larson

Jim Larson, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, discusses the profession of teaching and attracting new talent. He points to areas for improvement, and calls for a change in the way that we think about teaching.

Evaluation of Teacher Preparation Programs: Purposes, Methods, and Policy Options
National Academy of Education (NAEd) - Michael Feurer, Robert Floden, Naomi Chudowsky, and Judie Ahn
The National Academy of Education (NAEd) released Evaluation of Teacher Preparation Programs: Purposes, Methods, and Policy Options, a report that aims to provide clearer information and direction around evaluation measures and systems in educator preparation.
Climate Change and Value-Added: New Evidence Requires New Thinking
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Thomas Kane

Tom Kane, professor of education and economics at Harvard and director of the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, compares the polarized debate on VAM to climate change.

The Global Search for Education: School Performance
Huffington Post - C.M. Rubin

Cathy Rubin shares a new report, Data-driven Improvement and Accountability, authored by Boston College professors Andy Hargreaves and Henry Braun. "The authors claim the flawed use of data-driven improvement and accountability (DDIA) in much of U.S. Education has significant ramifications, since the system has become 'driven' versus 'guided' by test scores. In these circumstances, educational accountability that is intended to contribute to student improvement can actually impede improvement for students." This report, from the National Education Policy Center, was funded by the Great Lakes Center and the Ford Foundation.

In Response To 'Don't Teach For America'
Teach For Us - Serge Vartanov

Serge Vartanov responds here to Sandra Korn's op-ed piece in the Harvard Crimson "Don't Teach For America." Korn's piece is also shared as part of Worth A Read.

Seven States Agree to Pilot Teacher-Prep Changes
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk highlights seven states who have agreed to a pilot program created by the Council of Chief State School Officers to adopt reforms aligned with recommendations from a report issued last December. States include: Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Washington.

Six principles for using data to hold people accountable
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Andy Hargreaves and Henry Braun

A new policy brief released this week by National Education Policy Center, with funding from the Great Lakes Center and the Ford Foundation, examines the linkage between data-driven improvement and accountability in education. It was written by Andy Hargreaves and Henry Braun, professors in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, who in this post introduce the brief, which you can read in full here.

Don't Teach For America - 'Education reform' that only helps your resume
The Harvard Crimson - Sandra Y.L. Korn

Sandra Korn shares her thouhts on Teach For America and recruitment at Harvard University. "I don’t mean to vilify students who’ve chosen to recruit for TFA—I’m sure they have only the best intentions of helping underserved students—but I would like to call on my classmates and current TFA corps members to reconsider their decision to be part of this program."

Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K
The New York Times - Mokoto Rich

Mokoto Rich writes about new research from Ann Fernald at Stanford, which reaffirms previous studies on language gaps in children as young as 18 months.

From Bureaucracy to Profession: Remaking the Educational Sector for the Twenty-First Century
Harvard Educational Review - Fall 2013 - Jal Mehta

Harvard professor Jal Mehta examines challenges of American schools and explores reasons for persistent failure of school reforms. You can also watch a recent presentation on the topic.

Why Do Teachers Quit?
The Atlantic - Liz Riggs

Liz Riggs includes the work of Richard Ingersoll in her discussion on factors driving teachers from the education profession. Richard Ingersoll, UPenn, is the foremost expert on teacher turnover in the United States. "To improve the quality of teaching," Ingersoll says, you need to "improve the quality of the teaching job." And, "If you really improve that job… you would attract good people and you would keep them."

More Thoughts on Interpreting Educational/Economic Research: DC Impact Study
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker adds to the dialogue about recent results from an impact study on the effectiveness of teacher evaluation reforms in DC. Read more in the Washington Post, New York Times, Bellwether, and from Stanford.

Baker says this about the study, "Put simply, what this study says is that if we take a group of otherwise similar teachers, and randomly label some as 'ok' and tell others they suck and their jobs are on the line, the latter group is more likely to seek employment elsewhere. No big revelation there and certainly no evidence that DC Impact 'works'."

Howard Gardner: 'Multiple intelligences' are not learning styles'
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner, author of the 1983 book "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences," explains the uses of his theory and the ways in which his work is misinterpreted.. He has a new book out, "The App Generation," with Katie Davis, which explains how life for young people today is different than before the dawn of the digital age.

Charter Boom May Have Negative Fiscal Impact on Districts, Report Says
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Katie Ash

Katie Ash shares a report released this week by Moody's Investor's Services, which found that there is a negative impact of school choice in school districts with economically challenged populations.

Cities Are Trying to Fix Their Schools by Luring the Middle Class: It Won't Work
The Atlantic - Maia Bloomfield Cucchiara

Maia Bloomfield Cucchiara investigates efforts in cities to lure middle class residents into neighborhoods. She found that these initiatives cannot address the root causes of concentrated poverty, and in some cases created more segregation within school populations.

The debate over teacher seniority
WHYY - Radio Times Interview - Richard Ingersoll

Richard Ingersoll explains the roots of the seniority system and why it is such a hot-button issue when it comes to education policy and reform.

Teacher Leadership in an Era of Change
ASCD Express - Leveraging Teacher Leadership - Christy Guilfoyle

Christy Guilfoyle asks: Is it time to reshape teacher leadership in the United States? She discusses ways that teachers can respond to recent changes to teacher professionalism through hybrid roles, teacher-led schools, and career ladder programs.

New report shows how school closings, charters lead to more racial segregation
SmallTalk Blog - Mike Klonsky

Mike Klonsky shares a new report from the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, which finds that changes to Chicago's schools have resulted in increased segregation.

Notes on the Seniority Smokescreen
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker looks into the research on seniority and effectiveness. "While seniority is a seemingly arbitrary and imperfect measure for retaining teachers, replacing it with a roll of the dice is likely to have serious negative consequences for retaining high quality senior teachers and recruiting teachers into high need districts."

With Deadline Approaching, A-F Panel Still Discussing How To Measure Growth
State Impact Indiana - NPR

Elle Moxley reports on a panel rewriting Indiana's A-F accountability system.

Thoughts On Using Value Added, And Picking A Model, To Assess Teacher Performance
Shanker Blog - Dan Goldhaber

Dan Goldhaber, Director of the Center for Education Data & Research and a Research Professor at the University of Washington Bothell, discusses the use of value-added to assess teacher performance.

Choice and Special Education
Education Next - Jay P. Greene

Jay P. Greene shares a new study by Marcus Winters on charter schools and special education.

Michigan superintendent salutes partnership between OU, Avondale Schools
Detroit News - Shawn D. Lewis

Shawn Lewis, the Detroit News, shares the reaction of Michigan's top education official to a "revolutionary" partnership between Oakland University and Avondale Public Schools (Michigan). "The partnership school is organized as a clinical teaching model where the Avondale teaching staff joins with the research and best practices of OU’s faculty to build a bridge between educational theory and practice. Oakland University faculty will teach their classes at Auburn Elementary."

K-12 Leaders Shift From Protectors of Status Quo to Change Agents
Education Week - Katie Ash

Katie Ash discusses the changing role of a superintendent in the current era of education reform.

End. The Broad Prize. Now.
Education Next - Andy Smarick
Andy Smarick calls out the Broad Prize and reviews recent results from urban school districts. "We must build The Urban School System of the Future, not double down on the failed urban district of the past." *Smarick has recently published a book calling on the elimination of large urban school districts.
Questions for Teachers, and Answers from Mexico
NEPC - Best of the EdBlogs - David Berliner

David Berliner poses some challenging questions to teachers, calling on them to step up to save the profession. "Are you willing to go along with the destruction of a profession that, more than any other, helps to preserve our democracy and ensure our economic growth?"

Underlying Issues In The DC Test Score Controversy
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo responds to recent reports in the Washington Post by Emma Brown on test scores in DC Public Schools.

10/01/2013 - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham discusses recent critical stories from Politico on online schools. His comments discuss the debate over how the education reform movement is framed in the media and by policymakers. "In other words, it’s a confusing and fluid time and one that doesn’t lend itself to many sweeping – and also accurate – generalizations."

Charter Schools and the Future of Public Education
Rethinking Schools - Stan Karp

Stan Karp discusses the origin of charter schools, the effectiveness of charters, increased segregation, the impact of poverty, and parental involvement.

Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results
The Wall Street Journal - Joanne Lipman

Joanne Lipman discusses "tough" teachers and their impact on education — calling for a return to strict rules governing our schools and students. Education writer Nancy Flanagan response here.

How State Education Agencies Acquire and Use Research in School Improvement Strategies (Policy Brief)
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - Margaret E. Goertz, Carol Barnes, and Diane Massell

As a result of two decades of state and federal accountability laws, states are required to manage and acquire information for school improvement. In a policy brief supported by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, researchers explore how state education agencies (SEAs) search for and coordinating research, whether staff uses research to design, implement and refine state improvement policies, and how SEAs are organized to manage and use the information.

Using alternative student growth measures for evaluating teacher performance: What the literature says
REL Mid-Atlantic - Mathematica Policy Research - Brian Gill, Julie Bruch, and Kevin Booker

This research brief compiled by Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) explores alternatives to state tests for measuring teachers' contributions to student learning. They address statistical value-added methods (VAM) and teacher developed student learning objectives (SLO).

My Transition from the Classroom to Amplifying Teacher Voice
09/24/2013 - Xian Barrett

Andy Rotheram shares his space with Xian Barrett, a former Chicago Public School teacher who was fired last spring. Barrett has  joined the team at New Voice Strategies (NVS), which created the VIVA Idea Exchange "to let the expert voices of those on the frontlines lead policy development."

America's toxic culture of testing
Salon - Luba Vangelova

Luba Vangelova discusses the "culture of testing" in America and the associated costs involved in the testing industry.

Arne Duncan's Muddled Line on Testing
Education Next - Fordham's Flypaper Blog - Andy Smarick and Chad Aldeman

Andy Smarick and Chad Lademan discuss the policy implications of education secretary Arne Duncan allowing states flexibility to avoid double-testing students. As states move from state-based standardized testing to PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments, decisions will have to be made on how to handle the transition. "All students will be required to take tests, but individual students won’t know how they did, the public won’t know how schools performed, and nothing will happen as a result of poor performance. Testing for testing’s sake will make no one happy."

I Quit Teach for America
The Atlantic - Olivia Blanchard

After a lengthy explanation, Olivia Blanchard shares her decision to leave Teach For America. "Five weeks of training was not enough to prepare me for a room of 20 unruly elementary-schoolers."

Michigan charter school teachers often less experienced
Detroit News - Jennifer Chambers

Jennifer Chambers writes about teacher churn at Michigan charter schools. "According to data for the 2011-12 school year from the state’s Center for Educational Performance and Information, 31 percent of teachers in charter schools have taught for less than one year. Three percent of traditional public school teachers have taught for less than one year."

Teaching in Windsor: A few miles away, a world apart
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French interviewed a Michigan couple now teaching in Windsor, Ontario. The article compares and contrasts teacher training in the United States with Ontario. "After one year, 17 percent of new teachers in the United States leave the profession; In Ontario, annual attrition is 2 percent."

The hidden truth behind Teach for America's political empire
Salon - James Cersonsky

James Cersonsky discusses the growth of Teach For America. "Nationally, TFA’s mission has evolved from filling teacher shortages in underserved areas to hiring out recruits based on their teaching effectiveness (an endlessly debated subject) and building “a growing movement of leaders.” Its growth parallels its entrenchment in the movement to replace district schools with charter schools and peg teachers’ jobs to their students’ standardized test scores."

From Bureaucracy to Profession: Remaking the Educational Sector for the Twenty-First Century
Harvard Educational Review - Jal Mehta

Jal Mehta examines the challenges faced by American schooling and the reasons for persistent failure of American school reforms to achieve successful educational outcomes at scale.

Mehta also authored Professionalization 2.0: The Case for Plural Professionalization in Education, which was presented at the American Enterprise Institute earlier in September.

Chicago Teacher: Inhumane Working Conditions are Inhumane Learning Conditions
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Sarah Chambers

Sarah Chambers, a teacher on Chicago's southwest side, shares her concerns for working conditions in Chicago.

"Every child in every school deserves safe learning conditions. When a parent sends their child to school, they expect their child to come home in one healthy piece, not gushing blood or vomiting from heat exhaustion. Schools, the anchors of the community, should always be the safest place for our children, no matter if it's the $30,000-a-year lab school, a franchise charter school or the free public school down the street."

Flawed Diagnoses and Inappropriate Cures in Education
Economic Policy Institute - Working Economics - Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein "picks on" Joel Klein, former NYC chancellor of schools, and recent attacks on K-12 education in the United States. The myth of failing schools is deconstructed in this blog, which shared on the Working Economics page for the Economic Policy Institute.

What it's like in school to have principal after principal
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Jane O'Halloren

Jane O'Halloren shares her thoughts on the revolving door for principals and school leaders. Teacher attrition is a big concern in the United States, but leadership matters as well.

U.S. ED To Collect Data on Alternative-Certification Patterns
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk explores a new effort by the U.S. Department of Education to collect information from states on teachers participating in alternative-route programs. A 2012 congressional spending bill included a requirement for the department to present a report on alternative certification.

A Path To Diversifying The Teaching Workforce
Shanker Blog - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson, a teacher in New York City, discusses efforts to diversify the teaching force in the United States. "Fortunately, I’m not the only teacher of color in my school, but, in the grand scheme of things, I still have to fight to get my voice heard, because I’m not inclined to leave."

Mismatches in Race to the Top Limit Educational Improvement
Broader, Bolder Approach to Education - EPI

A new report by the Economic Policy Institute with the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education finds big flaws in the Race to the Top program and questions how much the $4 billion spent to spur education improvements in the states will actually narrow achievement gaps and improve student outcomes. Read more at Politics K-12.

What does 'quality teacher' mean anyway?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Mike Rose

Mike Rose attempts to answer the title question: what does ‘quality teacher’ mean anyway? The blog is critical of the recent National Council on Teacher Quality report, which was released earlier this year.

The Effectiveness of Secondary Math Teachers from Teach For America and the Teaching Fellows Programs
Institute of Education Studies - National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance

A new NCEE evaluation brief discusses lessons learned from two recent IES studies: one that evaluated teachers from two highly selective alternative routes--Teach For America and the Teaching Fellows programs--and one that evaluated teachers from less selective alternative routes that accept nearly all applicants.

What Should Be the Federal Role in School Research?
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Sarah Sparks

Sarah Sparks discusses the reauthorization process for the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 - which funds the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Fix Schools by Not Fixing Schools
Education Next - Jay P. Greene

Jay P. Greene offers his thoughts on a new path for school reform, opting for slow, gradual changes. He proposes avoidance of imposing changes on 'traditional' schools, instead focusing on 'alternatives' to 'traditional' schools. "It’s better to make gradual progress than inflict considerable damage in a rush to fix everything now."

Promoting Access and Equity: Changing the Discussion on Incentives (Reader Response)
Center on Great Teachers & Leaders - Daniel J. Quinn

Daniel J. Quinn, executive director of the Great Lakes Center, responds to recent blogs on the website of the Center on Great Teachers & Leaders at American Institutes for Research. Quinn's blog references recent research on teacher incentives and research on teacher turnover and churn.

Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express To Fat City
Forbes - Addison Wiggin

Addison Wiggin shares recent findings on for-profit charters. This Forbes piece shares information on investor meetings for charter schools. “Wealthy individuals from as far away as China, Nigeria, Russia and Australia are spending tens of millions of dollars to build classrooms, libraries, basketball courts and science labs for American charter schools,” says a 2012 Reuters report.

WWC Review of the Report 'Impacts of Comprehensive Teacher Induction: Final Results from a Randomized Controlled Study'
US Department of Education - IES - What Works Clearinghouse

A What Works Study Review reported on the effectiveness of a recent study on Comprehensive Induction. Comprehensive Induction involves full-time mentorships for induction programs. The original study was supported by ETS and the New Teacher Center.

National Board to Revise Certification Process to Meet Needs of Today's Educators
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which offers National Board Certification for teachers across the country, announced an update to its certification process. The standards had not been updated since 2001. NBPTS says that it will incorporate the latest research on effective teaching, provide greater flexibility for teachers, and drive down the cost of certification. Currently the cost is approximately $2,500.

"Board certification should be the natural next step for all teachers after the novice phase of their career, but there are some parts of the current process that create obstacles that have nothing to do with whether or not a teacher is accomplished," said Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board.

The Wrong Kind of Education Reform: Three new books decimate the case for charter schools and vouchers
Slate - David Kirp
David Kirp reviews three new books on school choice and education reform. The list includes: Diane Ravitch's Reign of Error, The Public School Advantage by Christopher and Sarah Lubienski, and Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better schools by David Cohen, Donald Peurach, Joshua Glazer, Karen Gates, and Simona Goldin.
'I Was a Bad Teacher': Five Months In a Corporate School Reform Nightmare
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker interviews John Owens who has a new book out, "Confessions of a Bad Teacher: The Shocking Truth from the Front Lines of American Public Education." Owens writes about his teaching career, which lasted all of five months.

Calling Black Men To The Blackboard
Shanker Blog - Travis Bristol

Travis Bristol, a former high school English teacher in NYC and a Ph.D. candidate at Teachers College, shares recent research on Black male teachers. "If we are ever to get a handle on this issue, more research is needed, exploring how organizational conditions, characteristics, and dynamics in schools affect the career choices and trajectories of Black male teachers."

BLOG: Nashville Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Charter Schools
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Robin Lake
Why charter schools need better oversight
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Jeff Bryant
Jeff Bryant offers his case for reining in the freedom that charter schools enjoy in many states with lax accountability rules. "The most recent comparison of charter school performance to traditional public schools nationwide found that more charter schools are doing better. But a careful analysis of the study showed only a tiny real impact on the part of charter schools."
The renewed war on the veteran teacher
Daily Kos - Steve Singiser

Steve Singiser shares his thoughts on the war against veteran teachers.

On Charter Churn, Stable School Communities, and Resume Boosts
Teach For Us - Emmanuel Parello

Emmanuel Parello discusses a recent New York times story which profiled a model where charter schools are moving toward two to five years of teaching as a normal career, changing the teaching profession.

Learning From The 1963 March On Washington For Jobs And Freedom
The Shanker Blog

The Albert Shanker Institute has published a series of lesson plans on the anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Find more here.

Misconceptions of Teacher Summer Vacation
08/28/2013 - Katelyn Stukenberg

Katelyn Stukenberg, 7th grade ELA teacher in Charlotte, NC, writes about the realities of how teachers spend their summers. "Although we may be stepping out of the classroom, our minds never really get to go on vacation. Our hearts are tied to our classrooms in a yearlong commitment to becoming better educators for our students and to improve the education system they depend on."

Back To School Season Reveals Education Policy Disconnect
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant writes about a disconnect in education between policy and public opinion. "So with this year’s Back to School Season revealing widespread evidence that lack of resources – rather than lack of accountability – is the foremost problem troubling the nation’s schools, let’s see if any of the education reform crowd mounts a well-funded campaign to reform that."

UTD President Ingram: Focus on testing not the best path to reform
Miami Herald - Education Reform - Fredrick Ingram

Fredrick Ingram discusses a new book Closing the Opportunity Gap, edited by Kevin Welner and Prudence Carter. Ingram argues for a focus on inputs as well as outcomes for students.

At Charter Schools, Short Careers by Choice
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich discusses teacher retention, charter schools, and teacher turnover. Her focus on YES Prep, whose teachers have an average of two and a half years of experience.

Seven Thoughts on Education Policy
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer attempts to answer several important questions about teachers and their advocacy for and against policy. "Should teachers advocate for or against policy? Is teaching inherently political? What do we gain and lose from political neutrality? Is it okay for teachers to talk politics in the staff lounge? In a staff e-mail?"

PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools
Phi Delta Kappa International - Kappan Magazine - Bill Bushaw and Shane Lopez
The PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools is an annual poll that allows educators and policy makers to track public opinion about one of this nation’s most important institutions: its public schools. You can read the highlights here.
Building Positive Relationships in Truly Disadvantaged Schools
Center for Great Teacher Leaders - David Osher

David Osher, VP American Institutes for Research, discusses research on building relationships in schools. His blog focuses on the supports for teachers and leaders, developing new successful strategies for conditions of learning.

EWA Hangout with Bill Bushaw
EdMedia Commons - Glen Baity

The Education Writers Association shares a live video chat with Bill Bushaw, executive director of PDK, who spoke about some of the surprising findings, including public awareness of the Common Core State Standards, attitudes toward high-stakes testing, and parental concerns about school safety.

Poll: Majority of Americans Reject Testing, Have Not Heard Of the Common Core Standards
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares several results of the PDK/Gallup Poll. Included in the article are comments by 2013 Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbonneau - Charbonneau agrees that all stakeholders have to play a larger role in educating the public. "There is a real and significant need to increase awareness and knowledge of the standards among all citizens,” Charbonneau said. “Our society has a vested interest in educational goals that we set for our students."

Americans' confidence rising in public school teachers, poll finds
The Christian Science Monitor - Patrik Jonsson

Patrik Jonsson discusses America's attitudes towards public school teachers from the PDK/Gallup Poll. "Americans remain largely critical of the US education system as a whole, but parents, especially, are increasingly pleased with their neighborhood schools and more displeased with the rising use of standardized, multiple choice tests to evaluate, and potentially punish, teachers, a new Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll suggests."

Triple Crown Of Education Opinion Research
08/21/2013 - Andrew Rotherham

Andy Rotherham, Bellwether Education Partners, has written about three recently released education polls - including the AP-NORC, Education Next, and PDK/Gallup. "My take? Clearly there is a backlash against some of today’s reform policies. Movement on some questions in the PDK survey across the last few years makes that clear. But it’s not nearly as large a backlash as some would like too see or claim.  The Ed Next poll remains very solid on probing on some of this and AP did a nice job in the same vein via a lot of questions – resources matter!"

Can Education Polls Be Scientific? Or Is It All Interest Group Politics?
Education Next - Paul Peterson

Paul E. Peterson, who is the editor-in-chief of the Education Next Journal and a fellow at the Hoover Institution, has compared three recently released education polls.

Polls Reach Different Conclusions on Teacher Evaluations Tied to Scores
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk compares varying opinions on teacher evaluations tied to test scores from the AP-NORC Poll and the PDK/Gallup Poll, both released this week.

Americans Support Charters, Oppose Vouchers, Poll Finds
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Katie Ash

Katie Ash shares the PDK/Gallup Poll on American attitudes toward public schools, which found strong opposition to vouchers. However, the survey showed strong support for charters.

The 2013 Education Next Survey (7th)
Education Next - Michael Henderson and Paul E. Peterson
The Education Next survey finds opposition to Common Core education standards is growing, an overwhelming majority of Americans remain supportive of these standards. A majority also backs government funding of preschool education for disadvantaged children. Education Next is a journal published by the Hoover Institution.
Poll: Most Americans unfamiliar with new Common Core teaching standards
Washington Post - Emma Brown

Emma Brown of the Washington Post reports on the 45th annual PDK/Gallup poll, which surveys America's views on key education issues. The survey, conducted by the Gallup polling organization and Phi Delta Kappa International, a professional society of educators, repeats many questions year after year, offering some insight into how perspectives can shift.

AP-NORC Poll: Race, income divide views of schools
08/19/2013 - Philip Elliott and Jennifer Agiesta

Philip Elliott and Jennifer Agiesta report on the most recent findings of the AP-NORC Poll (supported by the Joyce Foundation).

Building a Strong Teacher Work Force
Learning First Alliance - Cheryl S. Williams

Cheryl Williams shares her thoughts on a recent presentation by Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the University of London, who addressed the topic of "Teacher Expertise: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How We Can Get More of It."

Do Not Operate Unless Trained
Center for Teaching Quality - Jon Eckert

Jon Eckert, Wheaton College, uses the "Fire Extinguisher Principle" to analyze teacher preparation. He uses four driving forces in education today to make his point: 1) Teach For America; 2) Charter Schools; 3) Policymakers Driving Education Reforms; and 4) College Professors. "When it comes to educating kids, maybe we should pay more attention to the Fire Extinguisher Principle: Do not operate unless trained."

New York City Issues Teacher-Preparation Data
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk writes about the recent rankings issued for NYC teacher preparation programs.

New York State Of Mind
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt DiCarlo further discusses the results of New York's Common Core-aligned assessments.

Study Shows Triple Segregation Persists in Texas Schools
The University of Texas Austin - College of Education - Julian Vasquez Heilig & Jennifer Jellison Holme

Julian Vasquez Heilig and Jennifer Jellison Holme analyzed school-level Texas Education Agency (TEA) data to determine the level of school segregation experienced by the rapidly growing English Language Learner (ELL) population in Texas, which is now the second largest in the nation.

Changing course toward more effective public schools
Bridge Magazine - Bob Sornson, Early Learning Foundation

Bob Sornson, the Early Learning Foundation, considers actions that are needed to move public education in a 'new direction.'

Here's a sample: "Inch by inch, degree by degree, we can create schools that will help our kids become lifelong learners, innovators, with the character and values to build great lives in the information society."

What do those test scores mean?
08/11/2013 - William J. Mathis

Bill Mathis, managing director fro NEPC, discusses NCLB, test scores, and Vermont against the backdrop of our nation's education reform problems.

Mathis concludes: "Educational and economic improvement depends on a virtuous circle where income equality encourages better parenting, our schools provide for unmet needs, our graduates learn higher academic and personal skills, and these, in turn, provide for a stronger society and economy."

Districts make their choices on evaluation methods
EdNews Colorado - Todd Engdahl

Todd Engdahl writes about Colorado's school districts and their choices for teacher evaluation models. Information on the state model are shared along with links to local evaluation systems.

Winning the Common Core
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan discusses the ongoing "war" concerning the Common Core State Standards. She concludes: "When it comes to the Common Core, the conversation shouldn't be about winning. It should be about what to do next. Because guess what? Kids keep coming back to school, wanting to learn."

Punishing kids for adult failures
NY Daily News - Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch discusses the massive drop in test scores for New York. She argues: "The scores should not be taken seriously. There is no science involved in setting the passing mark on a test. It is a judgment call. It is subjective."

How Governance Reforms Can Outlast the Reformers
Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) - Paul Hill

Paul Hill discusses how changes to school governance systems can expand even after leadership changes in "reform" school districts. "Reform leaders need to build a leadership bench, by involving others in their work and visibly grooming successors."

Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards
Center on Education Policy

The Center on Education Policy has released two more reports on Implementing the Common Core State Standards. One report focuses on "States' Progress and Challenges" and the other look at "Professional Development for Teachers and Principals."

Lecture Hall: Assistant Professor David Deming
ED. The Magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education - Lory Hough

Lory Hough interviews David Deming in his search to investigate long-run outcomes of education, focusing on things other than test data. His research focuses on this key question: "Does school accountability improve how students fare long after they’ve graduated (or not graduated) from high school?" Deming intends to "dig deeper" in his studies.

Moving Toward Equitable Access: New Teaching Roles Attract Great Teachers
Center for Great Teacher Leaders - Jiye Grace Han & Sharon Kebschull Barrett

Jiye Grace Han and Sharon Kebschull Barrett write about Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools "LIFT" project, a $55 million public-private partnership to improve academics at historically low-performing, high-poverty schools in Charlotte, NC.

Fostering Good Learning Experiences, Starting with High School
The Blog of Harvard Education Publishing - Robert Halpern

Robert Halpern, author of 'Youth, Education, and the Role of Society: Rethinking Learning in the High School Years," writes about the pressures placed on schools and the disconnect with the goals to improve student learning at the high school level.

Under The Hood Of School Rating Systems
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

The Shanker Institute's Matt Di Carlo investigates state evaluation systems in the wake of the Tony Bennett scandal in Indiana/Florida. "In addition to the obvious long-term need to develop additional measures that go beyond state math and reading tests, this calibration of measures and how they’re used is arguably the most important issue that must be addressed if these systems are going to play a productive long-term role in education policy."

Education 'Reform' with David Sirota
YouTube - David Sirota

Originally shared on March 20, 2013, David Sirota, a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and best-selling author, discusses the politics of education reform in this video commentary. "What's really happening in education politics? Would you believe it's a battle between greedy school teachers and corporate CEOs who want what's best for the children?"

8 Ways Privatization Has Brought Pain and Misery to American Life
Alternet - Paul Buchheit
Paul Buchheit looks at how privatization in several key areas of the American economy has impacted American Life. Regarding education, he had this to add: "Just as with prisons and hospitals, cost-saving business strategies apply to the privatization of our children's education. Charter school teachers have  fewer years of experience and a higher turnover rate. Non-teacher positions have  insufficient retirement plans and health insurance, and much lower pay."
Inexperienced in New Orleans: Thoughts on Owen Davis's Critique
Teach For Us - Emmanuel Parello

Emmanuel Parello discusses a recent blog on Teach For America alumni resistance and problems facing districts with large numbers of inexperienced teachers. "I think it is evident though that overwhelming a city with inexperienced teachers who have weak ties to the community and who leave after several years is not beneficial to a school district. School needs to be a place of stability for students, and this kind of extreme revolving door is the opposite of stable."

Making (up) the grade
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette [Ind.] - Editorial

This Fort Wayne Journal Gazette editorial tackles the ongoing scandal concerning inflated grades for Christel House (charter school) by former state education leader Tony Bennett. A series of emails have been uncovered, which implicate Bennett in a quest to improve the state grade for a popular charter school. "Indiana voters already have spoken on Bennett’s performance as superintendent of public instruction. Should his clearly compromised work be allowed to stand?"

Messages About Public Education That Don't Sell Well (And Ones That Will)
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses a recent talk at a meeting of the Young Elected Officials. Bryant uses five messaging points to frame his discussion on public education in America.

Who benefits from closing city schools? Not the kids
PDK International - Learning on the Edge Blog - Jessica Shiller

Jessica Shilleran, assistant professor of instructional leadership and professional development at Towson University, offers her thoughts on school closings in places like Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit. She further discusses the role that educational choices have on the market place. Regarding market forces in public education, she had this to say: "Every marketplace has shoppers who can take advantage of the market’s choices and those who can’t. This isn’t good enough. We can’t leave urban public education to the whims of the market. We need a system that guarantees a great education for all students."

WWC Quick Review of 'National Charter School Study 2013'
Institute of Education Sciences - What Works Clearinghouse

Mathematica Policy Research completed a review of the CREDO "National Charter School Study 2013" for the What Works Clearinghouse, funded by the US Dept. of Education. The "quick" review found that the study met standards, however with reservations. "Although the charter school students were matched with traditional public school students on test scores and demographic characteristics, there may be other differences between the groups that were not accounted for in the analysis." You can also find WWC review from 2009 here: WWC Quick Review of the Report “Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States.”

The GLC also funded a Think Twice review, produced by the National Education Policy Center.

As North Carolina Goes, So Goes the U.S.
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner offers his thoughts on the state of public education in North Carolina. The legislature in NC has recently cut funding for public schools, abolished teacher tenure, and removed pay increases for increased educational attainment, among other changes damaging to public schools in the state.

Am I a Scab?
Teach For Us - Jersey Goes South

A current TFA (Teach For America) teacher discusses her role in education and provides dialogue to support and challenge common conceptions of TFA. "All I want to do is teach my kids in good faith. And I feel like that’s being taken from me because of Teach For America."

What's Driving Teachers Away From High-Poverty Schools?
Center on Great Teachers & Leaders - John Papay, Brown University

John Papay, Brown University discusses recent research on hard to staff, high-poverty schools. "Teachers who leave high-poverty schools serving minority students tend to move to schools attended by whiter, wealthier, and higher achieving students. But why do they go? What’s the underlying cause of the turnover in these high-need schools?"

Teach for America's Mission in Chicago
Jacobin Magazine - Kenzo Shibata

Kenzo Shibata, an activist who writes and teaches in Chicago, discusses teacher layoffs in Chicago and the role that Teach For America is playing in educational policy. "TFA is in crisis mode. With the organization losing true believers within its rank-and-file, it doubled down on recruitment and doubled down on marketing. It’s just a shame that none of this has anything to do with improving teaching and learning."

Trusting Teachers Is a Means to Authentic Parent Engagement
Education Week - Of, By, For: In Search of the Civic Mission of K-12 Schools - Kim Farris-Berg

Kim Farris-Berg asks the question: Would trusting teachers with authority to collectively make the decisions influencing school success be at odds with authentic parent engagement?  Her blog discusses research from Debbie Pushor, associate professor at the Univeristy of Saskatchewan. "Trusting teachers with school success is not an assertion that families must be protected by educators. Instead, it is an innovative approach to the structuring and managing of schools that puts the professionals who are closest to school community in the position to call the shots. In this approach, education leaders who are outside of schools havea supporting role; not a controlling one."

Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: State Education Agencies' Views on the Federal Role
Center on Education Policy - Diane Stark Rentner

Diane Start Rentner investigates implementation of the Common Core. This report, based on a winter/spring 2013 survey of 40 Common Core State Standards-adopting states, examines state education agency (SEA) officials’ views on the federal role in implementing the standards.

MCEE Releases Final Recommendations
Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness

The Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness has released its final report and recommendations for educator evaluations in Michigan. The report and recommendations have been submitted to the governor and state legislators. 

Deborah Loewenberg Ball, the council's chair and dean at the University of Michigan, had this to say about the report, "Every child in Michigan deserves skillful teachers, not just some of the time but each and every year. And every teacher deserves the opportunity to develop and continue to refine his or her professional skill — to receive targeted feedback and professional learning opportunities to improve instruction. We believe a fair, transparent and rigorous teacher evaluation system can help transform the culture of the teaching profession and benefit the state's 1.5 million schoolchildren."

The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals provided a quick summary of the recommendations.

Education Trust Midwest, a school reform advocacy organization in Michigan, responded with this statement: Quality Teaching for All Students: A Top Priority for Michigan

Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward
ETS - Richard J. Coley & Bruce Baker

A recent report, Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward, was written by Richard J. Coley, Executive Director of the Center for Research on Human Capital and Education at ETS, and Rutgers University Graduate School of Education professor Bruce Baker. They provide an overview of how poverty is measured, describe how various levels of government attempt to address poverty through education, and review the relationship between poverty and student outcomes.

Charter School Market Share And Performance
Shanker Blog - Matt Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo attempts to clarify the wide variation in charter schools' test-based impacts and market share.

What Parents Want For Education Policy
The Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant writes about a survey released by the American Federation of Teachers on parental opinion. He writes that what parents really want is more aligned with what teachers have been advocating for. "The reality, of course, is that neither teachers nor parents are determining education policy these days. Instead, we have a system mostly aligned to adults who are at the periphery of the real consequences of “reform” measures."

Is Public Education on Its Death Bed? Should It Be? Seven Points of Argument, Leverage and Change.
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan shares seven points of friction that are defining the way we talk about schools. "They're not controversial programs or mandates (like the Common Core). They overlap and impact each other. They represent places where the educational system might shift, if public opinion shifted."

Testing More, Teaching Less: What America's Obsession with Student Testing Costs in Money and Lost Instructional Time
American Federation of Teachers - Howard Nelson

The American Federation of Teachers released a report that examines test and test preparation costs. The report looks at tests and test preparation costs combined with lost instruction.

"Test preparation and testing absorbed 19 full school days in one district and a month and a half in the other in heavily tested grades, making clear that cutting that amount in half would restore needed instructional time and provide additional funds for other instructional purposes, the report found."

How Can Teach For America Stop Making Enemies?
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - John Thompson

John Thompson evaluates Teach For America's co-CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard's recent address to alumni.

An Illustrative Case of the Numbskullery of Evaluating Teacher Preparation by Student Growth Scores
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker debunks the assumption that a good teacher preparation program is one that produces teachers who students achieve higher test score gains. "No secret sauce here… just a boatload of bogus policy assumptions creating perverse incentives and taking our education system even further in the wrong direction."

What's your strategy for learning?
OECD Education Today - Marilyn Achiron
Marilyn Achiron, Editor - Directorate for Education and Skills, discusses the uses of PISA. The OECD education today blog discusses existing and emerging issues in education, including international student performance (PISA), skills for the 21st century, developments in higher education and early childhood learning, and more.
"Teachers, particularly those who work in schools with large proportions of disadvantaged students, can focus some of their reading lessons on the best strategies for summarizing information. After all, knowing how to learn from the earliest age equips a student for a lifetime of learning."
Organize The Team, Then Train The Teachers
Education Next - Michael Horn

Michael Horn discusses the difficulty implementing technology initiatives in schools. "No amount of teacher training by itself will help teachers use technology to personalize learning to its fullest. Instead, organizing the right team to lead a technology implementation is the necessary first step."

Bill Gates expands influence - and money - into higher education
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss writes about a recent series of articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and how how Bill Gates is influencing higher education. "In a package of stories, the Chronicle makes clear how Gates has used his money to change higher education."

BREAKING: Funders Have Agendas
Inside Higher Ed - Matt Reed
Matt Reed reacts to a set of articles published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which were critical of Bill Gates' influence.
You can read his reaction here: "It turns out that...hold on to your hats, people...the Gates Foundation is using money to encourage colleges to help students complete degrees. Shocking, I know.  Next we’ll discover that money influences politics, too."
Left Behind in the Race to the Top: Realities of School Reform
Information Age Publishing - Julie A. Gorlewski & Brad J. Porfillo, editors

A new book out this year profiles the realities of school reform. "This book examines and uncovers the effects of standardization and privatization on public education. Contributors consider the how of standardized curriculum and assessment, coupled with philanthropic and corporate pressure, have influenced the experiences of students, parents, and teachers." The work of Larry Cuban, Anthony Cody, Susan Ohanian, Wayne Au, P.L. Thomas, and others are included.

High-Quality Professional Development for Teachers
Center for American Progress - Jenny DeMonte

Jenny DeMonte authors a recent brief on the state of professional development and teaching. "This paper is the first of a periodic series of reports and briefs by the Center for American Progress looking at professional learning—what states and districts are doing that is working, and what policies are in place to support effective teacher-training activities."

The Import of the CREDO Charter School Study
Education Next - Rick Hess

Rick Hess offers his thoughts on the recently released charter school study by CREDO. Hess states that the evaluation is a "terrific contribution," and also says, "It also illustrates why “school choice” is not a panacea but (like any market-based reform) an intervention whose effects are contingent on what entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, and families actually choose to do."

Never too early to join the rat race...
OECD Insights - Brian Keeley

Brian Keeley looks into the research on summer learning, the opportunity gap, and how much well-off and poorer families spend on their children.

Boston District Refuses Newspaper's Evaluation-Results Request
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on the struggle between the Boston Globe and the Boston School District over the release of teacher evaluation data, similar to New York and Los Angeles.

A new round of segregation plays out in charter schools
The Hechinger Report - Sarah Butrymowicz

Sarah Butrymowicz looks at charter school segregation and school data.

TFA: Yup, still an Industry
All Things Education - Rachel Levy

Rachel Levy reviews an earlier commentary about Teach For America, with research from Barbara Miner, Julian Vasquez Heilig, and Su Jin Jez. More importantly, she discusses how TFA has changed/not changed in the two years since she penned her original piece. "Most of what I wrote is still relevant. TFA continues to grow and accumulate great wealth. It is particularly hard to see TFA in a flattering light now given sequestration, severe post-stimulus budget cuts, and the amount that TFA charges school districts despite their own robust financial health."

Debunking the Myths of School Closures
National Opportunity to Learn Campaign - Infographic
The National Opportunity to Learn Campaign has shared an infographic debunking the myths of school closures.
"In cities across the country, education officials are closing public schools en masse, impacting thousands of students, disproportionately those from communities of color or low-income families. Officials use a variety of justifications to defend the closures, citing everything from budget concerns to promises of better opportunities for students. But as this new infographic from the OTL Campaign illustrates, these justifications don’t hold up to scrutiny."
Radical Scholarship: Blinded by the Stereotype Spotlight
NEPC Best of the Ed blogs - P.L. Thomas

Paul Thomas writes about the blinding power of stereotype focused on people and children living and learning in poverty. "The blinding power of the stereotype spotlight fails even among advocates seeking, in earnest, to help people and children living in poverty."

Quality, Clinical Preparation is Nonnegotiable - Let's Figure This Out
GTL Blog - Dan Brown

The Center on Great Teachers & Leaders (GTL) shared a recent blog by Dan Brown, National Board Certified Teacher. "I’m looking forward to seeing the GTL Center take up a solution-oriented discussion that gets into the nitty-gritty of teacher prep. What are the barriers to pairing preservice interns with great cooperating teachers—and how do we overcome them?"

It's Test Score Season, But Some States Don't Release Test Scores
Shanker Blog - Matt Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo looks into the reporting of test scores in New York City and Washington, D.C. "A quick scan of state/district websites suggests that many do release actual scores (though they are sometimes difficult to find), but it seems that a fair number fail to do so."

CAEP Standards Recommendations
CAEP - Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation - James Cibulka

The CAEP Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting has completed its work. It has developed a set of path-breaking standards and recommendations around accreditation processes for educator preparation providers, which the CAEP Board of Directors will consider later this summer.

The Gallup Blog - Brandon Busteed

Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, writes about our obsession with standardized testing and grade point averages. "As a parent, I want my kids to be uncommon, not common. I want them to be unique, not the same. I want them to discover different solutions to the problem, as opposed to the same answer. As an education expert, I want my country to espouse the same."

Teach For America's Civil War
The American Prospect - James Cersonsky

James Cersonsky writes about a summit to organize resistance against Teach For America - "Its mission is to challenge the organization’s centrality in the corporate-backed, market-driven, testing-oriented movement in urban education."

Do our children know how to be citizens?
CNN - Robert Pondiscio

Robert Pondiscio, executive director of Citizenship First based at Harlem's Democracy Prep Public Schools, writes about creating citizens. "But we send kids to school not just to become employees and entrepreneurs, but citizens capable of wise and effective self-government in our democracy. This public dimension of schooling was a founding principle of American education. We have all but forgotten it in the current era of education overhaul."

Charter School Study: Much Ado About Tiny Differences
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless dives into the different interpretations of the data between charter schools and traditional public schools in the 2013 CREDO study. "These competing interpretations obscure the CREDO studies’ main finding: achievement differences between charters and TPS are extremely small, so tiny, in fact, that they lack real world significance."

15 summaries of research for elementary teachers
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) - Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)

This publication, with accompanying podcasts, is a joint project of ETFO and OISE, summarizing current research findings relevant to teaching in elementary schools. Each issue, written by university researchers focuses on a body of research within a particular domain.

Finland's education ambassador spreads the word
The Guardian - Peter Wilby

Peter Wilby profiles Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg on education reform. "He is an odd, diffident sort of ambassador, spreading the message about 'the Finnish miracle' but not really believing in the data that supposedly proves that it works. His fear now is that Finland's educational success is breeding complacency."

Decision to halt state's first online charter schools draws criticism from parents, praise from pols
The Star-Ledger - - Jessica Calefati

Jessica Calefati writes about New Jersey's decision to slow down the expansion of full-time virtual charter schools.

Grad students oppose potential University of Minnesota and Teach For America partnership
TC Daily Planet - Sarah Lahm

Sarah Lahm shares concerns of graduate students at the University of Minnesota as they consider a partnership with Teach For America. Graduate students at U-M crafted a statement of opposition.

Worth A Read Will Return 7/12/13
Great Lakes Center

Knowledge is power, but how to keep up with education news and research during a crazy, busy week? Worth A Read, a project supported by the Great Lakes Center, is a weekly selection of thought-provoking research and commentary focused on education reform. WAR will return on Friday July 12, 2013. Until that time, we invite you to follow us on Twitter, 'Like' us on Facebook, and check out our excellent collection of research briefs and reviews of research on the web at Put the walk into your talk!

'Amplifying' Education's Value
Inside Higher Ed - Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden shares recent information from a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The "Education at a Glance" report highlights the relationship between educational attainment and employment.

The Role of Comprehensive Induction
Learning Forward

Learning Forward Announces Release of Meet the Promise of Content Standards: The Role of Comprehensive Induction: In a new brief, Learning Forward examines how states, districts and schools can use a more comprehensive educator induction process to build the capacity of teachers and principals to successfully implement the new college- and career-ready content standards, as well as the related student assessments and educator effectiveness systems.

Big Takeaways from CREDO's 2013 Charter Study
Education Next - Andy Smarick

Bellwether's Andy Smarick shares his thoughts on the 2013 CREDO charter school report.

Lack of time and money as educators launch new teacher evaluations
The Hechinger Report - Sarah Garland and Rita Giordano

Sarah Garland and Rita Giordano write about efforts to overhaul teacher evaluations in Philadelphia and statewide in Pennsylvania. "Pennsylvania educators have major questions about whether the system will be both fair and rigorous, and how schools will balance the demands of the new evaluations with other challenges like budget cuts and new standards."

Pitt research takes new approach to student engagement
Pittsburgh Business Times - Justine Coyne

Justine Coyne shares recent research that suggests that student engagement is malleable, and can be improved by promoting a positive school environment. The study was co-authored by Ming-Te Wang at the University of Pittsburgh and Jacquelynne S. Eccles of the University of Michigan. "Enhancing student engagement has been identified as the key to addressing problems of low achievement, high levels of student misbehavior, alienation, and high dropout rates," Wang said.

Classroom observations to rate teachers are shifting focus to students
Washington Post - Michael Alison Chandler

Michael Chandler writes about Virginia's efforts to overhaul teacher evaluation.  "The new mandate in Virginia to make student achievement a significant part of teacher evaluations is bringing more than an infusion of test scores. It’s also changing the way classroom observations are conducted."

Stay More Than Two Years
Teach For Us - Emmanuel Parello

Emmanuel Parello, a teacher and former TFA corps member, writes about his recent hiring at a private school and the impact of teacher churn. This piece looks closely at what schools are looking for in teachers (time) and the importance of teachers staying in the classroom - past time commitments - for fast-track teacher programs. "I have experienced enough to know that turnover is harmful to schools and can commit myself to more than a two year stint."

Academia Esoteric and Inaccessible?: Not this month
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig
Julian Vasquez Heilig shares his thoughts on a recent issue of Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis (EEPA).
2013 Teacher of the Year: Let's Talk More About How Public Schools Succeed
NEA Today Online - Edward Graham

Edward Graham shares an interview that 2013 Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbonneau had with NEA president Dennis Van Roekel. A 12-year teaching veteran, Charbonneau is a National Board certified teacher, co-president of the Zillah Education Association, and the recipient of numerous awards for his commitment to education.

Assessing the New Common Core Tests: An Interview with Joan L. Herman
Harvard Education Letter - Nancy Walser

Harvard Education Letter editor Nancy Walser recently interviewed Joan L. Herman, a technical adviser to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Join the critical conversation on edTPA
Rethinking Schools Blog
The summer issue of Rethinking Schools magazine has a special section on edTPA, a high-stakes test for new teachers currently being piloted. Three articles are featured, free online content, although a subscription or donation to Rethinking Schools would go a long way to support their work.
“The Role of Performance Assessment in Developing Teaching as a Profession.” ~ Linda Darling-Hammond and Maria E. Hyler
“Wrong Answer to the Wrong Question” ~ Barbara Madeloni and Julie Gorlewski
“What’s a Nice Test Like You Doing in a Place Like This?” Wayne Au, Rethinking Schools editor
Here's a link to Rethinking Schools: LINK
Ed Schools Are Under Attack Again
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner
Walt Gardner shares his response to a recently released report by the National Council on Teacher Quality, an advocacy group seeking to reform teacher preparation programs.
Statement of James G. Cibulka, President of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
Julie Underwood, the dean of UW-Madison’s School of Education: Statement
Donald Heller, dean of Michigan State's College of Education: The skinny on the NCTQ Teacher Prep Review
Bruce Baker: The Glaring Hypocrisy of the NCTQ Teacher Prep Institution Ratings
Paul Thomas: NCTQ’s Gradual Unmasking [UPDATED]
Read more at Mike Klonsky's Small Talk Blog: NCTQ 'study' of teacher prep programs is good for something...
Are Arne Duncan And Randi Weingarten Running Just As Fast As They Can?
06/19/2013 - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham discusses the recent statement by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to allow states operating on a waiver from the Department  for NCLB to postpone high-stakes decisions on new Common Core assessments.

Schoolchildren shuttle across SE Michigan, raising questions about funding, community identity
Bridge Magazine - Nancy Derringer
Nancy Derringer shares the stories of several Detroit area school districts and the impact of school choice.
Beyond Buy-In: Partnering with Practitioners to Build a Professional Growth and Accountability System
Aspen Institute - Craig Jerald

Craig Jerald's 'Beyond Buy-In' examines the ways Denver has created active leadership roles for teachers and the union, as well as many informal and anonymous channels for teachers to provide feedback and guidance on this initiative.

What Should The Results Of New Teacher Evaluations Look Like?
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo
Matt Di Carlo looks into new teacher evaluations in several states and uses Michigan's statewide results to study the impact of district variation in results of teacher evaluations.
Policymakers, do your homework on evaluation reform
Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry shares his concerns on teacher evaluation reform. This post provides a very detailed list of links to study failed education reforms of the past.

Repairing the Conservative School Reform Coalition
EducationNext - Checker Finn and Mike Petrilli
Originally published in the Weekly Standard, Checker Finn and Mike Petrilli provide a brief history of the fragmented conservative school reform movement from the 1970s to today. The history “lesson” provides a detailed, multifaceted explanation for their support for Common Core standards. Finn and Petrilli also outline steps that conservatives can take to "restore harmony" to American conservatism.
Taking tests, to test, to see if students are ready for the test
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares a story by Luke Quinton of KUT NPR about the passage of HB5 in Texas. The text of the story is shared on Cloaking Inequity.

The bottom line on student tracking
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner, NEPC
Kevin Welner discusses ability grouping (tracking) and responds to a front page story in the New York Times.
Read more about ability grouping and tracking on the Great Lakes Center website.
Harkin, Alexander, and Waivers: Your ESEA Markup Cheat Sheet
New America Foundation - Anne Hyslop

Anne Hyslop shares a summary of ESEA reauthorization bills introduced in the U.S. Senate. A side-by-side chart is provided to compare competing proposals by Sen. Harkin and Sen. Alexander, along with the Obama administration's waiver process (currently used).

Revisiting the Chetty, Rockoff & Friedman Molehill
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker takes another look at the Chetty study and concludes, "Indeed it’s an interesting study, but to suggest that this study has important immediate implications for school and district level human resource management is not only naive, but reckless and irresponsible and must stop."
The Great Lakes Center funded a review of the Chetty study in February 2012, read more here.
Under siege-and in bid to stay relevant-teacher unions evolve
The Hechinger Report - Sarah Butrymowicz

Sarah Butrymowicz shares the struggle of Hawaii State Teachers Association recent contract negotiations and provides an overview of the changing landscape of teacher unionism in America. Because of conservative attacks on worker rights through state legislation, we are likely to see changes that will impact millions of teachers and professional educators regarding their rights at work.

Minn. moves ahead with some Common Core education standards
Minnesota Public Radio - Tim Post
Tim Post shares statewide plans to implement and adopt Common Core State Standards in Minnesota. Minnesota has opted to move forward with Common Core standards in reading and writing, but will maintain state standards in math. “They [CCSS] represent an improvement over Minnesota's previous reading and writing standards, said Lori Helman, associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Minnesota's College of Education.”
Read more about the Common Core on the Great Lakes Center website.
An Open Letter on the Common Core Transition
Learning First Alliance - Cheryl S. Williams

Cheryl Williams, executive director for the Learning First Alliance, shares a letter from LFA to education stakeholders. LFA, a strong supporter of CCSS, recommends a transition period in the Common Core implementation. The letter was signed by 15 member organizations.

The Illegal Trojan Horse In King's Teacher Evaluation Plan
TeachForUs - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein covers the new teacher evaluation system imposed on New York City.

Senate Democrats to Unveil NCLB Reauthorization Bill
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein writes about Sen. Harkin's recently introduced bill, which would overhaul the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act.

Common Gored?
06/03/2013 - Andy Rotherham

Andy Rotherham discusses the growing opposition to Common Core State Standards. "It’s a great illustration of how Balkanized our politics and information flows are these days that while many Common Core supporters didn’t even notice its inclusion in the 2012 Democratic Party platform, the mention of Common Core in that document lit up conservative activists."

New data shows school 'reformers' are full of it
Solon - David Sirota
 David Sirota looks at the education reform movement in the United States, and contradictory data that shows that poverty impacts schools. "With poverty and inequality intensifying, a conversation about the real problem is finally starting to happen. And the more education “reformers” try to distract from it, the more they will expose the fact that they aren’t driven by concern for kids but by the ugliest kind of greed — the kind that feigns concerns for kids in order to pad the corporate bottom line."
As state watches, LA Unified tests new ways to grade teachers
The Hechinger Report - Ashly McGlone

The Los Angeles Unified Schools District is rolling out new evaluations to assess teacher effectiveness. The district will use value-added scores and individual growth scores for teachers to give perspective and to assist past test results, but not in the actual evaluation. "The hope is that schools will improve student achievement by better identifying which teachers are excelling, which are struggling and which need to be removed from the classroom altogether."

This Just In: Experience Matters
Center on Great Teachers & Leaders (AIR) - Jane Coggshall

Jane Coggshall writes about new research on teacher effect and experience in the classroom. She reviews a recent article from the Journal of Economics, a working paper, and a recently published article in the Journal of Urban Economics. The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders found five main takeaways from the recent research. Read here.

How school reform preserves the 'status quo' - and what real change would look like
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Arthur H. Camins

Arthur H. Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology, addresses education reform and "defenders of the status quo." Rather than focusing on "status quo" reforms offered by many policymakers, Camins points out ten areas that improve the collective culture of schools, and have a greater potential for substantive progress - rather than focusing on individual teachers.

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week
Homeroom - Official Blog of the US Department of Education - David J. Johns

David J. Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, discusses the importance of Teacher Appreciation Week and an event hosted by the US Department of Education: "Celebrating African American Teachers in the Classroom."

Unprecedented study of preschool workers shows gains, continuing problems
Stanford Graduate School of Education - Rachel O'Brien

Rachel O'Brien, research associate at the Center for Education Policy Analysis, writes about a recent peer-reviewed paper on childcare workers. "Daycare workers and preschool teachers are more educated, receive better pay, and remain longer in the field today than in 1990, but they continue to be poorly compensated, to have high turnover, and to lack Bachelor's degrees, according to a new study by researchers from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, the University of Virginia and Cornell University."

NYC Ignores Cracks in School Choice System
New York Times - School Book - Wendy Lecker

Wendy Lecker, senior attorney at the CFE Project of the Education Law Center, offers an alternative perspective to a post defending the New York City’s system of high school choice by Marc Sternberg (School ChoiceLiberates Students from Zip Codes).

Is America Ready to Talk About Equity in Education?
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker writes about a report from the Equity andExcellence Commission,  a group of experts, economists and civil-rights leaders appointed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, issued a report called “For Each and Every Child” that outlined a policy framework that could begin to turn socioeconomic disparities around and give low-income students a chance at academic success.

Consequential Validity and the Transformation of Tests from Measurement Tools to Policy Tools
National Education Policy Center - Kevin G. Welner

Recent use of student test scores as tools to evaluate teacher effectiveness has not been validated. Originally published in the peer-reviewed Teachers College Record, Kevin Welner explains that when tests are used as drivers of policy, their validity depends on whether the measure as a policy tool is accomplishing what it intended to accomplish.

Most Screwed Local Public School Districts Update 2009-2011
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker recently shared his annual update of America's most screwed school districts.

Chicago's Students Deserve Acts of Heroism
Huffington Post - Dennis Van Roekel

NEA president Dennis Van Roekel addresses school closures in Chicago:  "What is best for our students?" We all know the right answer -- it's literally right in front of us. All children deserve high performing public schools in their own neighborhood, preferably ones that don't require crossing what is effectively a war zone.

Closing Schools Without Discussion Won't Fix Chicago's System
The Atlantic - Noah Berlatsky

Noah Berlatsky discusses the impending school closures in Chicago. Regarding education reform in Chicago, he had this to say, "The problem is that it's difficult to make good decisions, without input from, or respect for, the people your decisions are going to directly affect. As a result, Chicago does not have a consistent, thoughtful reform effort. Instead, it has a series of random, vacillating diktats which seem designed mostly to save money by pulling resources from communities that already don't have very many."

The Death of Private Schools is Greatly Exaggerated (& Misrepresented!)
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker writes about Checker Finn’s recent Fordham Institute editorial on “Why Private Schools are Dying Out.”

Bill Gates's School Panopticon, Part 2
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner furthers a previous discussion on the impact of Bill Gates' latest quest to videotape teachers' lessons. (Also read Part 1). Gardner has reservations about the proposal and offers caution to those who place too much hope in the latest education reform pushed by Bill Gates. Gardner's blog concludes with, "So what's the takeaway? It's tempting to assume that strategies helpful to practitioners in other fields will work in education. But this is not necessarily the case. Remember merit pay? It was supposed to motivate teachers to even greater effort. But experience has shown that has not happened. That's why I urge caution before placing too much hope in Gates's plan. Teaching is far more complex than non-teachers can possibly comprehend."

On Teacher Evaluation: Slow Down And Get It Right
Shanker Blog - Morgan Polikoff & Matthew Di Carlo

Morgan S. Polikoff, Assistant Professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, and Matthew Di Carlo discuss the need to progress cautiously with new teacher evaluation reforms.

D.C. charter school would teach all but math and English online
The Washington Examiner - Rachel Baye

Rachel Baye provides information on the proposed Nexus Academy of DC, which will attempt to teach non-tested subjects virtually or in a blended format.

My Discussion with Matt Barnum Part 3
TeachForUs - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein continues his discourse with Matt Barnum (Part 3). (See also Part 1 and Part 2). Matt is a TFA alum who is now in law school.  He has written several articles in various newspapers about the complexity of improving education. Also worthy of a read is Barnum's "It’s time for Teach For America to fold — former TFAer."

If you want to understand the real challenges of education
DailyKos - TeacherKen

Ken Bernstein, (aka Teacherken) urges his readers (in search of understanding the 'real' challenges of education) to read a recent piece by Deborah Meier. Meier is currently engaged in a dialogue with Michael Petrilli of the Fordham Institute. You can read Meier's original piece here. Here is a link to Petrilli's response.

"Problem vs. Solution: A Response" by Deborah Meier.

Do new exams produce better teachers? States act while educators debate
The Hechinger Report - Jackie Mader, California Watch

Originally published at California Watch, Jacki Mader looks closely at teacher examinations for pre-service teachers. The discussion includes dialogue on PACT (Performance Assessment for California Teachers), taken at the end of a preparation program, and CalTPA (California Teaching Performance Assessment), taken at different times throughout teacher preparation programs. "In California, there is general consensus that the performance assessment, which encourages students to focus on how they would teach a variety of students, has at least created more thoughtful teachers, even if the research isn’t clear that the tests are improving the quality of the teaching force."

Stemming the Flow of the School-to-Prison Pipeline
NEA Today - Online - Cindy Long

NEA Today spoke to author and scholar Byron E. Price, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Business and professor of public administration at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York in Brooklyn, New York, and and co-editor of Prison Privatization: The Many Facets of a Controversial Industry.

Still Teaching for America
Education Next - June Kronholz

June Kronholz explores the evolution of leadership at Teach For America (TFA) as Wendy Kopp hands over duties to Elisa Villanueva Beard and Matt Kramer. Kopp becomes TFA’s board chair and remains chief executive of Teach For All.

Brown pumps up schools in budget
San Diego Union-Tribune - Judy Lin & Juliet Williams

Gov. Jerry Brown [CA] on Tuesday proposed a revised budget that would send an extra $2.9 billion to California schools as part of his education funding overhaul, including $1 billion in one-time funding to help districts implement more rigorous academic standards.

What if Finland's great teachers taught in U.S. schools?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Pasi Sahlberg

Pasi Sahlberg, director general of Finland’s Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation and has served the Finnish government in various positions and worked for the World Bank in Washington D.C., debunks several myths about education competitiveness in America and highlights the key distinctions in Finland. Would Finnish teachers survive the American system?

The most important problem facing American children today
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss tackles the question: What is the most important problem facing American children today? Poverty.

It's the opportunity gap, stupid
New York Daily News - Prudence Carter & Kevin Welner

Prudence Carter and Kevin Welner discuss the 'opportunity gap' in American schools. Policymakers cheat our children when they seek out magic beans and silver bullets instead of the quieter but much more meaningful investments in the sort of deeply engaging teaching and learning that will produce vibrant, intellectually curious young people in all communities.

Canada's Legend-ary TED Talk Lie
Teach For Us - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein writes about Geoffrey Canada's recent TED talk entitled ‘Our failing schools.  Enough is enough.’  Canada, president and CEO of The Harlem Children’s Zone and star of the film ‘Waiting For Superman,’ claims that his school graduates 100% of its students. Rubinstein digs into the data from HCZ and finds that graduation rates (as claimed by Canada) just don't add up when the data is dissected.

Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream
New York Times - The Opinion Pages - Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz addresses the problem of soaring debt for American college students. "The crisis that is about to break out involves student debt and how we finance higher education. Like the housing crisis that preceded it, this crisis is intimately connected to America’s soaring inequality, and how, as Americans on the bottom rungs of the ladder strive to climb up, they are inevitably pulled down — some to a point even lower than where they began."

Please Don't Call Me An Education Reformer
Teacher Under Construction - Stephanie Rivera

Stephanie Rivera, Rutgers student & a future teacher, addresses the term 'education reformer' and why she does not want to be labeled a 'reformer.' "Because unfortunately, the term education reformer–as I see it–has become synonymous to people and groups who want to dismantle public education and turn schools into a business. Which is a load of [bologna]." She cites groups like SFER (Students for Education Reform) and the Walton Foundation along with Bill Gates and Michelle Rhee for examples of people associated with the term.

The Relationship Between Teacher Salaries And Teacher Salary Schedules
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo has reviewed a recently released brief by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). Di Carlo finds that the report is useful, but offers advice and caution in how salary schedules are interpreted and calculated.

Exposing ALEC's Agenda to Defund and Dismantle Public Education
Huffington Post - Dennis Van Roekel

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, shares his thoughts on a documentary, The United States of ALEC, featuring Bill Moyers. Regarding ALEC's agenda and power, Van Roekel had this to say, "So the core of ALEC's education agenda is about vouchers and privatization. Of course, since educators have unions that resist vouchers and privatization, they will do anything in their power to weaken our unions and silence our voices."

To Close the 'Opportunity Gap,' We Need to Close the Vocabulary Gap
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli, executive vice-president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, is the latest to exchange views with Deborah Meier on her Bridging Differences blog. Petrilli discusses a recent panel discussion on the "opportunity gap" with professors Sean Reardon and Prudence Carter.

You can read her response here.

Failing the Test
Slate - David Kirp

David Kirp looks at the growing revolt against market-driven reforms in public education. Why cheating scandals and parent rebellions are erupting in schools in New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

Are Teacher Evaluations Public? Assessing the Landscape
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk updates his readers on the publicly available information regarding teacher evaluations.

Please, A Moratorium On Moratoriums. But, Don't Dismiss What Weingarten Is Saying On Common Core Out Of Hand
Eduwonk.Com - Andrew Rotherham

Andrew Rotherham discusses recent comments made by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Weingarten has called for a moratorium on common core testing.

How Will Indiana's Common Core 'Pause' Affect Its NCLB Waiver?
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Michele McNeil

Michele McNeil discusses Indiana's shifting education climate and a bill passed by the state legislature to "pause" implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

Evidence doesn't support choice program expansion
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel - Opinion - Our View: School Choice

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board offers their opinion on Gov. Scott Walker's plan to expand the school voucher program currently in place in Milwaukee.

"We [also] remain deeply skeptical of the move by the Legislature two years ago to open up the program to lower middle-income families. If there is any justification for the voucher schools, it's to give impoverished families a "choice." We have long supported choice for the poor and believe the program should be limited to those families. Republicans essentially are advocating a shadow school system. Why not work harder to adequately fund and hold accountable the system we have?"

The Great Lakes Center funded Think Twice reviews of the Milwaukee School Choice Program. For more information click here.

National Report Card on School Funding Honored As Outstanding Policy Report for 2013
Education Justice - Reporting on School Funding and Reform Access Across the Nation

"Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card," co-authored by Bruce Baker (Rutgers), David Sciarra (Education Law Center), and Danielle Farrie (Education Law Center), received the Outstanding Policy Report Award from the Education Policy and Politics Division of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The award was given at the association's annual meeting in San Francisco.

AERA Issues Report on Prevention of Bullying in Schools and Colleges
American Education Research Association

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) issued a new report titled: Prevention of Bullying in Schools, Colleges, and Universities: Research Report and Recommendations. "The report results from the work of a blue-ribbon AERA task force mandated to prepare and present practical short-term and long-term recommendations to address bullying of children and youth."

Will new teacher evaluations help or hurt Chicago's schools?
Hechinger Report - Sara Neufeld

Sara Neufeld discusses new evaluations in Chicago Public Schools. Will the new evaluations prove a valuable tool or simply another drain on educators’ already stretched time? *Also published in the Atlantic.

The Hechinger Report has been taking an in-depth look at efforts to improve teacher effectiveness, find more information here.

The State of Preschool 2012: Study Finds Drastic State Pre-K Funding Cuts Put Nation's Youngest Learners at Risk
National Institute For Early Education Research
The National Institute For Early Education Research produced the 2012 State Preschool Yearbook, the newest edition of our annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States.
“Even though the nation is emerging from the Great Recession, it is clear that the nation’s youngest learners are still bearing the brunt of the budget cuts,” said NIEER Director Steve Barnett. Reductions were widespread with 27 of 40 states with pre-K programs reporting funding per child declined in 2011-2012.
HBCU Deans of Education Rethinking How to Make Teaching a Major Attraction
Diverse Issues in Higher Education - Lydia Lum

Lydia Lum shares remarks from a session, “A Dialogue with Deans of Education at HBCUs,”  on Historically Black Colleges and Universities at the annual American Education Research Association conference. 

The real problem in education: the 'opportunity gap'
Washington Post - Answer Sheet Blog - Kevin Welner

Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, launched a new book "Closing the Opportunity Gap: What America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance." The book was co-edited with Stanford University Professor Prudence Carter. "The book’s authors explain how some schools and communities are currently addressing these inequities. And they also explain how those experiences could be the foundation for critically needed change in our educational system." Find more information on the NEPC website.

Shifting Assumptions About Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning
Learning First Alliance - Stephanie Hirsh

Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director of Learning Forward, writes about shifting the dialogue on teacher evaluation and effectiveness. 

When Talking Education: Five lessons to inform conversations
Brian Langley - 2007 National Milkin Educator

Brian Langley, a physics teacher in suburban Detroit and 2007 National Milkin Award winner, shares five lessons he's learned about education: 1) Americans think the nation’s public schools are troubled, just not the public schools their kids attend; 2) The U.S. has never led the world on international exams; 3) We are not a country of average students; 4)Teachers are the most important school-related factor, though out-of-school factors matter more; 5)Nothing in education is simple.

How private money is driving public education policy
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Stanley N. Katz

Stanley N. Katz, who teaches public and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton and is president of the American Council of Learned Societies, shares the expansion of new large foundations and their impact on public education policy.

Teacher Preparation Programs Face More Scrutiny as Common Core Era Begins
Education Next - Kate Walsh, National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)

Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), examines the extent to which teacher education has moved away from the rigors of specific training in favor of ambiguous personal and social goals that leave new teachers unprepared. Read the report, 21st-Century Teacher Education, Ed schools don't give teachers the tools they need.

Teacher Value Added: Do We Want a Ten Percent Solution?
The Brown Center Chalkboard - Bookings - Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst

Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst shares his recent thoughts on value added evaluations for teachers.

Redefining the School District in Tennessee
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Nelson Smith

Nelson Smith prepared a review of the Tennessee Achievement School District (ASD), a state-level "turn around" school district for the Fordham Institute, a right-wing advocacy group which has promoted expansion of such districts. Similar plans have been implemented in both Michigan (Education Achievement Authority or EAA) and Louisiana (Recovery School District or RSD).

2013 Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbonneau Honored at White House
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

President Barack Obama honored 2013 Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbonneau and all the State Teachers of the Year at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, thanking them on behalf of the country for their tireless dedication.

The Arcane Rules That Drive Outcomes Under NCLB
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo shares recent research on NCLB and the shortcomings of accountability systems. He shares the findings of a paper, co-authored by Elizabeth Davidson, Randall Reback, Jonah Rockoff and Heather Schwartz, which was presented at an annual conference of The Association for Education Finance and Policy. Regarding accountability systems, he concludes, "when it comes to the design and implementation of these systems, details matter."

Supporting Language Acquisition in English Learners: An Interview with Dr. Mandy Stewart
Learning First Alliance - Tarsi Dunlop

Tarsi Dunlop interviews Dr. Mandy Stewart, who is the winner of this year's PDK International Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award for her work on Latino/a immigrant students and literacy. Stewart's research focuses on out-of-school literacies to support the English Language Learning (ELL) population.

The Dirty Dozen: How Charter Schools Influence Student Enrollment
Teachers College Record - Kevin G. Welner

Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, offers commentary on twelve different approaches charter schools use to structure their student enrollment.

State [CA] toughens regs for interns teaching English learners
EdSource - Kathryn Baron

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) will now require non-credentialed Teach For America (TFA) teachers and other intern teachers to receive more training in how to teach English learners and to get weekly on-the-job mentoring and supervision.

Top Ten List: Why 'Choice' demonstrates that money matters
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig's most recent blog includes a top ten list of evidence from the 'choice' movement that money does matter.

Consensus on Common Core school standards evaporating
Bridge Magazine - Chris Andrews

Chris Andrews covers Michigan's path to the common core and attempts by the GOP to eliminate key requirements. This discussion is taking place nationally in states where lawmakers are pushing back against Common Core State Standards. The Michigan legislature is also considering removing key provisions of the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

Revisiting the Complexities of Charter Funding Comparisons
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker further discusses a report published by Ball State University on charter school spending gaps. His blog links to a study on charter school spending, funded in part by the Great Lakes Center and the Shanker Institute.

From Data to Action A Community Approach to Improving Youth Outcomes
Harvard Education Press - Milbrey McLoughlin & Rebecca London

A new book out by Milbrey McLoughlin and Rebecca London looks at the Youth Data Archive, based at the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University. From the website: "This book is a welcome guide for educators, civic leaders, and researchers looking for ways to leverage data to identify the most effective policies, interventions, and use of resources for their communities." Read more about the book here.

Please Become a Teacher
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer discusses why students should become teachers. "You will have impact in [sic] the lives of students. You will get a shot at being a relevant, authentic, profound voice. You will get to be the indie artist in the midst of mainstream pop. If you're up for that kind of gig, I say go for it. Even in broken systems, kids need good teachers."

Teachers: Will We Ever Learn?
New York Times - Op-Ed - Jal Mehta

Jal Mehta, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, looks at factors that professionalize teaching and the false debates in education reform. "The changes needed to professionalize American education won’t be easy. They will require money, political will and the audacity to imagine that teaching could be a profession on a par with fields like law and medicine. But failure to change will be more costly — we could look up in another 30 years and find ourselves, once again, no better off than we are today."