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Worth A Read

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

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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of us who sought to affect change in our schools, we’re immediately snapped out of our naiveté, staring directly at the outdated curricula, the flimsy laptops, and the antiquated infrastructure and think ’It’s worse than I thought.’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."

Strengthen evaluation to improve student learning, says OECD
OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)released a report taking an international perspective on evaluation and assessment. How can assessment and evaluation policies work together more effectively to improve student outcomes in primary and secondary schools? Find a link to the report here.

[About the release] Andreas Schleicher, Advisor to the Secretary-General of the OECD on Education Policy and Deputy Director for Education and Skills, said: "At a time when schools need to assume more responsibility for managing their affairs and embrace more diverse student populations, building effective systems for evaluation and assessment has become absolutely critical for helping students learn better, teachers to teach better, and schools to work more effectively."

What We Know About Teaching Teachers
Learning First Alliance - Sharon P. Robinson & Alison Hilsabeck

Sharon Robinson, President and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), shares the thoughts of Alison Hilsabeck, dean of the National College of Education at National Louis University, in response to the question: "What do we know about teaching teachers?"

On Misrepresenting (Gates) MET to Advance State Policy Agendas
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker breaks down the misapplication of the Gates MET Project by state education officials, specifically education officials in New Jersey who cited the MET project as evidence on the use of growth percentiles (SGPs). Baker also shares a link to a recent paper he co-authored, which outlines the teacher evaluation systems being adopted nationwide and questions the use of SGP.

Baker's blog includes the response of USC professor Morgan Polikoff, who worked on the MET project. Polikoff had this to say about VAM and SGP: "The MET results cannot speak to the differences between SGP and VAM measures, but there is both conceptual and empirical evidence that VAM measures that control for student background characteristics are more conceptually and empirically appropriate. For instance, SGP models are likely to result in teachers teaching the most disadvantaged students being rated the poorest. This may result in all kinds of negative unintended consequences, such as teachers avoiding teaching these kinds of students." Read more about SGP by Baker here.

Disrupting Teacher Education
Education Next - Meredith Liu

Meredith Liu, a visiting fellow at Innosight Institute, discusses the impact online learning is having on teacher education programs.

On Teacher Evaluations, Between Myth And Fact Lies Truth
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo takes apart a recent 'myth/fact' sheet produced by the advocacy group Students First, headed by Michelle Rhee. "In summary, the design and implementation of teacher evaluations is complicated, and there are few if any cut-and-dry conclusions that can be drawn at this point. Suggesting otherwise stifles desperately needed discussion, and it is by far the biggest myth of all."

Teacher quality at KIPP
TeachForUs Blog - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein further discusses his trip to a KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) school. "It seems to me that the whole charter school movement, at which KIPP is at the forefront, has benefited the small percent of students who make it through the KIPP program — they have a lot of attrition — and also benefits ‘the adults’ like the teachers and the administrators there, but that benefit has come at a much much larger cost, the destruction of neighborhood schools and displacement of unwanted students."

A 'Bar Exam' for Teachers? Experts Debate How to Bring Top Talent Into the Classroom
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker covers a recent panel discussion hosted at the Center for American Progress. The panel discussion was on recruiting the next generation of 'smart' teachers.

Fine-tuning online education
Harvard Gazette - Interview with Andrew Ho

Andrew Ho, HarvardX research director, shared his thoughts with the Harvard Gazette about a new report published last week. The study found that interspersing online lectures with short tests improved student performance. Read the full interview with Ho here.

The Promising Practice of Induction
Harvard Education Letter - Robert G. Smith

Robert G. Smith, a former superintendent of the Arlington (VA) Public Schools and an associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University, investigates recent findings about teacher induction.

Schools Worth Cloning in the Public Sector
DailyKos - Ken Bernstein (teacherken)

Ken Bernstein shares the thoughts of Paul Horton, who teaches history at the Laboratory Schools of the University of Chicago. Bernstein says this, "I think what Horton says is worth our attention as we consider how we should shape educational policy."

Bernstein has two more worthy reads this week, highlighting the work of Bill Ayers and Eugene Robinson (Note: Robinson's work is also listed as a Worth A Read). Bernstein, also known as teacherken, is a retired social studies teacher and a voracious reader of education related work.

Will Charter Schools Survive The Charter School Movement?
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses contradictions that limit the development of quality charter schools and the overall "reform" movement in schools. Bryant shares his thoughts on the struggle to create more charter schools and, at the same time, protect the quality of public schools. Can charter schools expand exponentially and maintain high-quality options for parents?

Andrew Rotherham has a similar post (on contradictions in education policy) over at Eduwonk.comWashington Post Op-Ed Page Previews The Future?

Meanwhile, Katie Ash at Education Week's Charters and Choice blog shares details of Mississippi's new charter legislation. Mississippi, which currently has no charters, is proposing reasonable limitations on charter school growth. Something for other states to replicate?

Trying to Understand the KIPP Approach
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Deborah Meier

Deborah Meier begins another Bridging Differences dialogue, this time with Elliott Witney a former KIPP educator. Meier shares her experience visiting a KIPP school and how her opinions on schools vary from the model she saw. You can read Witney's response here.

USA Today published an Op-Ed on KIPP schools this week. Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, shared his findings on KIPP schools: Charter schools possess no magic formula: Opposing view. You can also read the USAToday opinion here -Charter school experiment a success: Our view.

The racket with standardized test scores
Washington Post - Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Eugene Robinson opines about the cheating scandal that has enveloped the Atlanta Public Schools. Former superintendent Beverly Hall, once lauded as "National Superintendent of the Year," and a host of district officials and teachers have been indicted on racketeering charges in an alleged cheating scandal. Robinson cautions against creating situations like the one created in Atlanta, where officials pressured district employees to alter tests.

Worthy of a read, Washington Post education blogger Valerie Strauss has also commented on the Atlanta scandal: Atlanta's former schools chief charged law used against Mafia.

She has this to say: "Reformers keep pushing their bankrupt test-based accountability system — with help from two presidents — despite overwhelming evidence that it has failed to improve schools and made a mess of school districts and communities. The saddest thing: There’s no end in sight."

Inside the Black Box of the Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education
Larry Cuban - Blog on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Larry Cuban shares his new book, Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice. You can find more information about the book over at Harvard Education Press.

State Takeovers: What Loss of Control Means for Schools
The Educated Reporter - Emily Richmond

Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association, covers the looming prospects of state takeovers in Maryland and Ohio.

Common Core: Mend It; Don't End It
Education Week - Unleashed - John Wilson

John Wilson addresses the growing debate over the issue of Common Core State Standards. Wilson discusses the “mixed” bag of state standards that exist, and background for the implementation of the standards. He concludes, “Debate on the Common Core Standards should be encouraged, but that debate, however heated, should never cause us to give up on state-shared standards and the larger goal of having states work together to do things more efficiently and effectively.”

WTF: US 'Reformers' arguments are antithesis of Finland
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig finds it ironic that American ‘reformers’ often cite Finland as an example of what the U.S. education system should strive to replicate. In his blog, he cites an article in the Atlantic from 2011. From the article, Heilig points out that Finland has no private schools, that they don't have the quantity of standardized tests we do, that teacher quality is nurtured and respected, that nearly 100% of the teachers are unionized, and that the Finns promote cooperation over competition and equity over choice.

Also read: What Americans Keep Ignoring about Finland's School Success

Do The Math
KQED Public Radio - Perspectives - Sam Rubin

Sam Rubin, a 19-year-old high school graduate with autism, discusses his difficulties with testing. Rubin's experiences have led him to work as a singer, actor, filmmaker and author. He created a film called "The Math Test," which won three awards. You can watch his public service announcement on YouTube here.

Supporting Pre-Service Teachers - A New Model
Penn-Finn Learnings 2013 - Joe Mazza

Joe Mazza, principal of a highly-diverse K-6 school outside Philadelphia, is leading a group of doctoral students from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate school of Education on a tour of Finland. Mazza's blog post, highlighted here, focuses on the role of pre-service teachers and the supports recognized as necessary by Finnish educators. “New teacher preparation is absolutely vital to the future of education in any country. We must constantly be in search of innovative ways to provide as much support to these students as possible. I’m certainly interested in exploring this model further, and feel it might offer a deeper level of ongoing support to pre-service teachers.”

School Leadership in the Digital Age: An Interview with 2013 Digital Principal Ryan Imbriale
Learning First Alliance - Anne O'Brien

Anne O'Brien, deputy director of the Learning First Alliance, profiles Ryan Imbriale, principal of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts in Baltimore. Imbriale shares his thoughts on how school leaders can promote digital learning.

The Democratic Party's Anti-Democratic Education Policy
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant investigates the struggle in Chicago over public schools and the ongoing fight over school closings. Bryant suggests that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's attempt to close schools breaks away from the Democratic Party's past. “Once upon a time, the Democratic Party had this reputation for promoting policies that were supportive of educating African American children. It was left-leaning factions of the Democratic Party that led efforts to desegregate schools, use Title I funds to ensure some equity of funding for schools that poor kids attend, and push for the rights of teachers working in those schools to have some say in ensuring school children were well served.”

Can't We Pay Our Best Teachers More?
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Eric Hanushek

In his final blog post with Deborah Meier, Eric Hanushek tackles the issue of teacher pay and pay differentiation. “It is simply politically difficult to pay appropriately large salaries to ensure that there are effective teachers or teachers in shortage areas such as math and science if the same higher pay has to go to ineffective teachers or teachers in surplus areas such as elementary school teaching.”

'More Professional Development': The Easy (But Ineffectual) Answer
EducationNext - Rick Hess

Rick Hess shares his recent discussions on professional development. "Perhaps the most damning indictment of PD is the fact that even teachers themselves regard it with contempt."  Hess also discusses his recent book, Cage-Busing Leadership.

'A-Plus' Countries Falter on International Math Study
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares recent analysis by the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy. The analysis is of recentTIMSS and PIRLS Scores.

TFA sponsors reform propaganda videos
TeachForUs - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein addresses a series of videos from an organization called RESET in Minnesota. TFA (Teach For America) is a partner with RESET.

Rubinstein concludes, "The main takeaway I got from these videos is that the RESET people don’t really have any special knowledge about how kids learn which would enable them to, as TFA says, change life trajectories, through just higher expectations and ‘effective’ teaching.  By implying that ‘other’ schools don’t also do the very basic things they describe, it fuels the idea that regular teachers are a bunch of morons."

Student Responsibility for Learning
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner addresses the issue of accountability in schools and the role of student accountability. He begins with an investigation into the obsession that 'reformers' have for teachers.

Where Are Progressives In The Fight To Save Public Schools?
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares his thoughts on progressives and their views on education policy. "People calling themselves “progressives” have tended to unite with conservative Republicans in this consensus – even while they chose to fight tooth-and-nail on other issues."

Poor Implementation Undermines Promise Of The Common Core
Shanker Blog - Stephen Lazar

The Shanker Blog shares a recent piece by Stephen Lazar, a teacher at Harvest Collegiate High School in New York. Lazaraddresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the issues that local school districts face in implementing the Common Core. "All teachers working in Common Core states are currently engaging with the changes demanded by the Common Core. In too many places, this is happening without sufficient time and supports, but it is happening very quickly nonetheless." Lazar's thoughts are also available on the Answer Sheet blog.

Effective Public Schooling - The Essential Element is Caring
Learning First Alliance - Cheryl Williams

Cheryl Williams discusses the Learning First Alliance (LFA) and their current project to gather data on public attitudes and perceptions of public education. Williams concludes, "So, as we commit to attracting the best young people to become educators, let’s not forget that academic rigor and love of learning are important, but just as important is the ability to communicate effectively that caring."

Developing Assessments of Deeper Learning: The Costs and Benefits of Using Tests that Help Students Learn
Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) - Linda Darling-Hammond

In a recent report, Linda Darling-Hammond and Frank Adamson investigate the resources that are currently spent on student testing, which (in their findings) could support much higher quality assessments, including performance tasks that include critical thinking and problem solving skills – as called for by the Common Core and other 21st century learning goals.

Teaching at a Crossroads
TransformEd - Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) - Barnett Berry

Barnett Barry (#ISTP2013 Travel Log: Teaching at a Crossroads) discusses the International Summit on the Teaching Profession. Specifically he responds to a piece by Michael Usdan and Art Wise about the teaching profession.

Usdan and Wise call for a merger of AFT and NEA, the two teachers unions in the United States. "Teachers' unions are at a crossroads in their history. Would a merger of the NEA and the AFT strengthen the profession?"

Ignoring Giraffe on the Highway: Spiraling Inequality Is Really What Ails Education
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig covers a recent article by Linda Darling-Hammond and the public discourse on "zip code should not determine destiny" memes. According to Heilig, "The reasoning is — if we ignore the giraffe driving down the highway (poverty), it won’t exist or matter. The challenge with treating the symptoms of a disease rather than the causes, is that the outcomes remain inconsistent."

You should also read Darling-Hammond's piece, Teachers Make Handy Scapegoats, But Spiraling Inequality Is Really What Ails Our Education System.

What Makes a Great Teacher - and Who Gets to Decide?
Huffington Post - Andreas Schleicher

Andreas Schleicher, Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), discusses a recent report and education summit of education ministers and union leaders from the world's top performing education systems on teacher appraisal and evaluation. Read Teachers for the 21st Century Using Evaluation to Improve Teaching on the OECDwebsite.

The Common Core Meets State Policy: This Changes Almost Everything
PACE - Policy Analysis for California Education - Michael Kirst

Michael Kirst, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University; President, California State Board of Education, discusses the full implementation of Common Core. You can read the accompanying report and watch his video.

A Realistic Approach to Better Testing
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Eric Hanushek

Eric Hanushek, Deborah Meier's latest sparring partner, looks at testing and offers his thoughts. Hanushek envisions building massive test banks, publicly available, to help alleviate problems associated with test-based accountability.

Equity and Quality in Education
Education Week - Global Learning - Anthony Jackson

Anthony Jackson, vice president for education at the Asia Society in New York, offers commentary on school quality and equity. His commentary is taken from Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools.

A Controversial Consensus On KIPP Charter Schools
Shanker Blog - Mathew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo offers a smart look at a recent Mathematica report on KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) charter schools.

Kalamazoo Promise: Is it working to improve student achievement in Kalamazoo Public Schools?
MLive - Kalamazoo Gazette - Julie Mack

Julie Mack shares recent findings on the Kalamazoo Promise. The Kalamazoo Promise is a pledge by a group of anonymous donors to pay up to 100 percent of tuition at any of Michigan's state colleges or universities for graduates of the public high schools of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Seven years later, Kalamazoo is beginning to move the needle on student achievement, based on an in-depth analysis of test scores and graduation data. Click to find more information about the Kalamazoo Promise and Kalamazoo Public Schools.

Charter Schools and the Future of Public Education
Rethinking Schools Blog - Stan Karp

Stan Karp, director of the Secondary Reform Project for New Jersey’s Education Law Center and an editor of Rethinking Schools magazine, discusses the history of charter schools, the current reality, and the future of charter schools in America.

California Panel to Raise 'Intern' Teacher Standards
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk looks at California's credentialing board and their plans to change the rules governing intern teachers - alternative certificate teachers. The changes involve the way interns are trained on how to teach English-language learners (ELL).

Three 'Reforms' That Are Deprofessionalizing Teaching
NEA Today Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares the recent results of a study produced by the National Education Policy center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. "Richard Milner of Vanderbilt University points out, certain so-called education “reforms” that enjoy a good deal of public support, not to mention sycophantic media coverage, are doing exactly the opposite – de-professionalizing the teaching profession." You can read the full report on the Great Lakes Center website

Jon Stewart ridicules preschool critics
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss suggests to her readers, "Take six minutes and 12 seconds to watch this. Jon Stewart continues to be the best critic of silly education thinking with this “Daily Show” piece about the stupidity of some of the criticism of the idea of government support for high-quality preschool for all kids, an idea President Obama advanced in his State of the Union speech." You can watch the clip via The Answer Sheet Blog.

Making Hope Happen
Gallup - Shane Lopez

Shane Lopez, co-director of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools has a new book out, Making Hope Happen. Lopez reveals the results of revolutionary research on the psychology of hope. In addition to providing a guide for mobilizing the energy and power of hope, he also tells the inspiring stories of real people — parents, educators, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders — who create hope and who transformed their own lives and changed their schools, workplaces, and communities.

Addressing the High Costs of Student Mobility
Harvard Education Letter - Volume 29, Number 2 - Linda Jacobson

Linda Jacobson discusses recent research on frequent school transitions and student mobility. Mobility has been associated with "higher rates of high school dropout." The article points to transitions employed by the U.S. military, where families move frequently.

Best and Worst Teachers Can Be Flagged Early, Says Study
Education Week - Sarah Sparks

Sarah Sparks writes about a recent paper on teacher effectiveness. A working paper by a team of resarchers suggests the most-and least- effective elementary teachers can be identified early in their careers. Read the working paper here.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss?
TeachForUs - Gary Rubinstein's Blog

Gary Rubinstein discusses Wendy Kopp's replacements at Teach For America (TFA) - the new co-CEOs will be Matt Kramer and Elisa Villanueva-Beard. "I hope that the new CEOs do a good job with TFA and that they make some changes that make me want to wear a TFA T-shirt again.  I’m not going to sit by the phone waiting for them to call me for advice, but if they do, I’ll be happy to offer it."

Tax-Credit Vouchers Pushed Through Ala. Legislature
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Katie Ash

Katie Ash writes about Alabama's new effort to push forward with a "school flexibility" bill. The bill allows parents of students in failing schools to receive a tax break of up to 80 percent of the per-pupil cost of education to be applied to private school tuition. The Alabama affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers has called the bill "a direct assault on public schools."

WaPo: An education reform warning for Democrats
Cloaking Inequality - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares an excerpt from Jeff Bryant's piece, which originally appeared on the Education Opportunity Network.

First World Education Problems, Part III: Say Nice things about Detroit
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan shares her thoughts on education problems in Detroit and the global implications of reform. This is the third in a series about Detroit, we recommend reading all three (part 1 and part 2).

Flanagan concludes: "Detroit matters to the entire nation. If we can't solve problems with flagship businesses like the auto industry, or the problem of educating kids in deep poverty, we're in trouble. If the gap between haves and have-nots continues to increase, we're in danger. If we haven't gotten past old "us vs. them" human divisions, we haven't moved into the 21st century. And if more states decide that abolishing democracy is the best solution to our economic woes, we all lose. Big-time."

Self-Contained Urban Boredom Apparatus
TeachForUs- Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein shares his thoughts on a visit at a KIPP high school in NYC. This is his second blog on the topic. This one focuses on his visit to special education classes.

Take This Into Consideration For Teacher Leadership
The Future of Teaching - Jose Vilson

Jose Vilson takes a look at the recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for Student Leadership. Vilson discusses an improved school culture, among other things that can promote teacher leadership.

Teachers Say They Are Unprepared for Common Core
Education Week - Catherine Gewertz

Catherine Gewertz writes about a study by the EPE Research Center that found teachers are feeling the pressure of newly created Common Core State Standards. "More than two-thirds said they were not well enough prepared to teach the standards to English-language learners or students with disabilities. More than half said they were not yet ready to teach them to low-income students or those considered at risk of academic failure."

What does the New York City Charter School Study from CREDO really tell us?
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker shares his thoughts on the latest CREDO study, this one on New York City. Previous studies have been released on Indiana, New Jersey, and Michigan (by CREDO, at Stanford).

Baker concludes: "As I noted in a previous post, it’s time to get beyond these charter vs. district school pissing match studies and seek greater precision in our comparisons and deeper understanding of “what works” and what is and isn’t scalable."

This Year's MetLife Survey: Good News for Teacherpreneurs
TransformEd - Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry discusses the recent MetLife study and the emerging role of hybrid teachers or teacherpreneurs (teacher leaders who work part-time in a dual role). Says Berry, The latest poll has found that 23 percent of America’s teachers—or about 700,000 of them—are “extremely” or “very interested” in serving in a hybrid role as a teacher and leader. (And about half are at least “somewhat interested” in such an assignment.)

Whoo-Hoo! Occupy the Schools
Daily Censored - Susan Ohanian

Susan Ohanian deconstructs the Common Core State Standards and a national movement of parents opting their children out of standardized testing.

New Report Urges Education Secretary To Take Inequality 'More Seriously'
Campaign for America's Future Blog - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant shares the results of a report issued by an independent commission chartered by Congress to advise the US Department of Education. The report concludes: "the federal government must take more seriously its profoundly important responsibility."

Also read more about the report: "For Each and Every Child: A Strategy For Education Equity and Excellence," over at Education Week ~ "Federal Commission Urges Bold Steps to Boost Education Equity," by Michelle McNeil. According to McNeil, "The report hangs its hat on many ideas, however, that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives oppose—such as new programs and protected funding streams for at-risk populations. So it's unclear just how much traction these ideas would have."

Teacher Leadership As A School Improvement Strategy
Shanker Blog - Guest Post - David Cohen, Accomplished California Teachers

David Cohen, InterACT, discusses the evolving role of teacher leadership in school improvement. "The change that I’m most excited about is the potential for a shift towards teacher leadership in schools and school systems. I’m not naive enough to believe it will be a linear or rapid shift, but I’m confident in the long-term growth of teacher leadership because it provides a common ground for stakeholders to achieve their goals, because it’s replicable and scalable, and because it’s working already."

What's Keeping America From Doing What's Right For Children
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant addresses the topic of early childhood education and responds to President Obama's State of the Union speech. Bryant picks up on President Obama's call for us to "do better." Among the items discussed: Sandy Hook Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Yes, “we can do better.”

Is Creativity the Next Essential Literacy?
Education Rethink - Chad Segersten

Education Rethink's Chad Segersten makes the case for creativity as an essential literacy for education.

Just how many ineffective teachers are out there?
The Hechinger Report - A Sociological Eye on Education - Aaron Pallas

Aaron Pallas discusses the stalemate that resulted from negotiations between NYC school teachers and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Department of Education. "Neither side is likely to agree to an evaluation system that gives the other party too much control over who gets fired. Perhaps the current standoff wouldn’t be intractable if the two sides could at least agree on some bounds for the number of teachers who will be judged “ineffective” and subject to termination. But what’s the magic number?"

Draft of Next Generation of Educator Preparation Accreditation Standards Released for Public Review
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

The CAEP Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting released for public comment its draft recommendations for the next generation of accreditation standards for educator preparation. Comments will be accepted at February 22– March 29, 2013.

Read more about the report over at Education Week by Stephen Sawchuk: Overhaul of Teacher-Prep Standards Targets Recruitment, Performance.

A Last-Minute Addition to the State of the Union: A National Purpose for Higher
Education Sector - The Quick & the Ed - Jeff Selingo

Jeff Selingo writes about President Obama's State of the Union address - and suggests that the president discuss the purpose of our higher-education system.

Too many teachers are quitting, experts warn
Montreal Gazette - Janet Bagnall

Janet Bagnall investigates the issue of teacher retention in this recent post from the Montreal Gazette. “Across North America, nearly half of all new teachers leave the field within five years,” said Jon G. Bradley, associate professor of education at McGill University.

Why Did Florida Schools' Grades Improve Dramatically Between 1999 And 2005?
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo writes about a recent presentation that Jeb Bush gave at an event in Virginia. Di Carlo finds some of the data presented to be misleading.

CTA Expanding Teacher Leadership
Accomplished California Educators - David Cohen

David Cohen discusses recent and upcoming teaching conferences being sponsored by the California Teachers Association (CTA). Cohen writes about CTA, "talking and working with teachers dedicated to improving our profession, and seeing our union as instrumental to that improvement."

Why Educators' Wages Must Be Revamped Now
EducationNext - Eric Hanushek

Eric Hanushek writes about the need to dramatically reform teacher compensation.  "The only way that efficiency will be significantly improved is by strengthening the relationship between salaries and performance. Currently, we dramatically underpay our best teachers while dramatically overpaying our worst. Efficient policies imply paying significantly more to the best teachers—not just giving small, temporary bonuses for student achievement—to keep them in the classroom longer." Originally published in Education Week, Vol. 32, Issue 20, Pages 28-29, 31.

What's Next: Evaluation As Narrative
Center for Teaching Quality - transformED - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry, Center for Teaching Quality, discusses a recent Ed Week article by Stephen Sawchuk on the new wave of teacher evaluation systems. Berry discusses some historical research on teacher evaluation systems and recent attempts to create fair and reliable ratings systems. Berry argues that there needs to be a larger discussion about teaching conditions: "What none of these analyses suggest is how teaching conditions must change before we can design and implement a valid and reliable evaluation system."

Rethink TFA
The Harvard Crimson - Opinion - Emma M. Lind

Teach For America (TFA) alum Emma Lind offers her thoughts on the mission of Teach for America. Lind is a public charter high school teacher in Brooklyn; completing her fourth year of teaching (she was previously a 2009 Teach For America Mississippi Delta Corps Member). Lind writes about the disconnect between what TFA reports as their successes and the real results, which paints a picture of mixed results. The study she discusses is "Teach For America: A Review of the Evidence" by Julian Vasquez Heilig and Su Jin Jez, which was funded by the Great Lakes Center in 2010.

Lind says: "There is some limited statistical evidence that TFA can be at least marginally impactful. But so few TFA teachers stay in the classroom beyond three years (more than 50 percent leave after two years and more than 80 percent leave after three), that the potential positive impact of TFA is rarely felt by the people who matter most—the students."

You can read the full study by Heilig and Jez here.

Holding States and Schools Accountable
New York Times - Education - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich writes about a recent Senate education committee hearing on ESEA reauthorization and federal waivers for NCLB.

The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools
New York Times - Opinion - David Kirp

David Kirp writes, "What would it really take to give students a first-rate education?" Kirp discusses Union City, N.J. in this opinion piece from the New York Times.

Center for Ed. Reform Takes Aim at CREDO Study
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Kate Ash

Kate Ash discusses a recent statement by the Center for Education Reform about a recent Stanford CREDO (Center for Research on Education Outcomes) study. The Stanford study found that charter schools' academic success or failure during their first year of operation is a strong indicator of how they will perform in subsequent years.

Michelle Rhee And The Relentless Marketing Of Education 'Reform'
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses the marketing behind Michelle Rhee's recent skip through our media markets. Bryant chastises "journalists" who accept marketing hype and attempt to sell it as "journalism." He concludes, "One day, there will be a popular awakening to the big lies being sold to us about our nation’s public schools and the education policies being implemented in them. That will be a news event truly worth taking on tour."

Center For American Progress Proposes Preschool-For-All Plan
Huffington Post - Philip Elliott

Philip Elliot covers a recent Center for American Progress proposal, which provides a road map for how the Obama administration could move forward with pre-kindergarten programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds. *Early education play a prominent role in the President's State of the Union.

Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart?
New York Times Magazine - Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman take on the issue of standardized testing in this recent New York Times Magazine story.

Opposition to Common Core Grows Across the Political Spectrum
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody shares his thoughts on the Common Core State Standards and the opposition to those standards. Cody discusses the opposition as it crosses all sides of the political spectrum.

Researchers Critique Final 'Measures of Effective Teaching' Findings
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk writes about a new review from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) on the Measures of Effective Teaching project. This review was funded by the Great Lakes Center as part of the Think Twice think tank review project.

More Lessons About Charter Schools
New York Times - The Opinion Pages - Editorial

In this New York Times editorial, the Times calls for greater charter school accountability - in response to a recent report from CREDO

You can read Anthony Cody's response here.

The inconvenient truth of education 'reform'
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Guest Post: Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant, Campaign for America’s Future, provides a review of the week that was in education reform. "Events this week revealed how market-driven education policies, deceivingly labeled as “reform,” are revealing their truly destructive effects on the streets and in the corridors of government."

Holding Education Hostage
New York Review of Books - Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch writes for the NY Review of Books on the problems with 'Race to the Top' and other federal education policies that demand teachers be judged by students' standardized test scores.

Getting to Excellence A Legislator's Guide to Educator Effectiveness Policy
National Conference of State Legislatures - Michelle Exstrom

In February, the National Conference of State Legislatures released a report on educator effectiveness policy. Read the full report here

Politicians v. Experts: The Latest on 'Value-added' Modeling
Cloaking Inequality - Julian Vasquez Heilig
Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses "the feds" punishing the New York City Schools by withholding $400 million because they refuse to adopt "value added" modeling that some consider as "frauds" and "junk science."
School in Thumb (Michigan) Takes Online Learning to the Max
Bridge Magazine - Jo Mathis

Jo Mathis writes about Allison Ruiz, who teaches social studies at Croswell-Lexington High School in Michigan's Thumb. "Last September, Ruiz became the school’s first full-time teacher whose 120 students are enrolled in classes solely accessed via the Web."

Can traditional school systems be replaced by charters?
Washington Post - Emma Brown

Emma Brown discusses a panel discussion hosted by Bellwether Education Partners. The panel discussion included Andy Smarick, who advocates for charters replacing urban school districts, and Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. Public Schools.

Smarick asserts: “The era of neighborhood schools is on the wane,” he said. “And I think that’s a good thing.”

Value-Added As A Screening Device: Part II
Shanker Blog - Guest Post: Douglas N. Harris

The Shanker Blog shares the second in a series of posts by Douglas N. Harris, who published the book: Value-Added Measures in Education.

When Parents and Schools Work Together, Everyone Wins!
Learning First Alliance - Anne Foster

Anne Foster, executive director of Parents for Public Schools, advocates for parents and community members to support and become engaged education partners. "Schools and parents can build powerful alliances that improve results for schools and students."

Big Surprise: Yet Another Ed Reform Turns Out to be Bogus
Mother Jones - Kevin Drum

Kevin Drum discusses a recent education reform controversy, where San Jose (California) acknowledged that the district overstated its accomplishments. "It turns out it was all a crock."

Over at the Shanker Blog, Matthew Di Carlo follows up with his response here.

School Choice Week: Are We Leaving Children Behind by Design?
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody discusses "School Choice Week" in his latest blog. "Advocates of public funding for private, parochial and charter schools have declared this week School Choice Week." 

He poses a final question: "What do you think? Is school choice "serving strivers" and ditching the rest? Is there a better way?"

The feds' education power grab
Los Angeles Times - Marc Tucker

Marc Tucker discusses the federal role in K-12 education. "It's time to have a conversation about the issue before we find that the executive branch, or even the entire federal government, has become our national school board." Tucker is president and CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy.

John Thompson: The Gates Foundation Leapt, Now MET Looks
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Guest: John Thompson

John Thompson discusses the Gates Foundation's Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) research and the reverse methodology of passing laws regarding teacher evaluations before the findings of this massive project.He poses some intriguing questions: "Why would we have gambled so recklessly on value-added evaluations before thinking through their policy implications? Wouldn't it have been nice to read an analysis of the MET research that did not have to be shoe-horned into predetermined conclusions?"

The Complicated Economics of Testing in the Era of Common Core Standards
Education Next - Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick discusses the political realities of implementing the Common Core State Standards. He cites several issues that will give us clues on the success of the standards: rising costs, complicated evaluation systems, falling test scores (fall off a cliff), and the overall "new reality" of the CCSS. More importantly, he questions the political viability of the standards as leadership in state offices change.

Creating the Conditions for School Success
Education Week - PD Watch - Learning Forward

Fredrick Brown, director of strategy for Learning Forward, discusses the importance of principal leadership and school conditions.

January 2013 Education Insider: Looking Ahead to 2013: Federal Policy, School Safety, and Digital Learning
Whiteboard Advisors - Education Insider

Whiteboard Advisors released their findings from the January Education Insider survey. Take a look at the full survey here.

Are Charter Schools Better Able To Fire Low-Performing Teachers?
Shanker Blog - Matthew DiCarlo

Matthew DiCarlo discusses a recent paper by Joshua Cowen and Marcus Winters that looks at teacher turnover in Florida, which attempts to look into comparable data between charters and traditional public schools. DiCarlo concludes: "We’ll see whether the findings discussed above are corroborated by future work using data from other charter markets (particularly those in which charters perform well). In the meantime, they might serve as yet another reminder that much of the received wisdom – on all 'sides' of the education debate – consists of still-unanswered empirical questions, and that it’s usually wise to keep an open mind no matter how certain you might feel."

High School Graduation Rate at Highest Level in Three Decades
U.S. Department of Education - Homeroom Blog - Cameron Brenchley

A new report from the Department of Education shows that high school graduation rates are at their highest levels since 1974. This blog discusses the findings.

Grading teachers proves harder than thought
Bridge Magazine - Nancy Derringer

On the heels of a new report from the Center for Michigan, Nancy Derringer (Bridge Magazine is published by the Center for Michigan) looks at teacher evaluation developments in Michigan. She discusses the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness and the need to establish "a fair, transparent, and feasible evaluation system for teachers and school administrators."

New pathways for teachers, new promises for students: A vision for developing excellent teachers
American Enterprise Institute - Timothy Knowles

In another Teaching 2.0 report from AEI, Timothy Knowles investigates new career pathways for teachers, and opportunities for innovation. "If we are serious about significantly improving academic outcomes for children in America, teaching must focus on student learning, and schools must offer teachers opportunities to teach, lead, and innovate throughout their careers. Taking pragmatic steps at each stage of the pipeline and leveraging existing resources can help us get there."

What Happens When Teachers Call The Shots
Eduwonk Blog - Kim Farris-Berg

Kim Farris-Berg, a Senior Associate with Education Evolving, writes this guest post for the Eduwonk Blog. Farris shares ideas from her new book, Trusting Teachers with School Success: What Happens When Teachers Call the Shots. "Teachers could be the social entrepreneurs we need for K-12.  So why not open the opportunity for interested teachers to show us how they would run schools?"

A Few Thoughts on MET
Education Week - Straigh Up - Rick Hess

Rick Hess takes a detailed look at the Measures of Effective Teaching project from the Gates Foundation.

Read his conclusion: "MET has made an enormously valuable contribution. Even when the results are mundane, they're useful. After all, the finding that nothing predicts value-added scores nearly as well as value-added scores shouldn't unduly surprise, nor should the sparse evidence on the value of observational protocols (much like professional development, I think observation has long been more impressive in concept than practice.) But, more than anything, I hope that we resist the temptation to narrow our conception of good teaching to a handful of things we can conveniently measure, and instead make smart use of the MET findings while also seeking ways to more robustly gauge teacher performance."

The MET Study: Implications, Winners, and Losers
Education Next - Andy Smarick, Bellwether

Andy Smarick writes about the winners and losers in the Gates funded MET Project. This piece was originally posted on the Fordham Institute's Flypaper blog. According to Smarick, "POTENTIAL BIGGEST WINNER: Whoever uses these findings to figure out how to identify potentially great teachers and how to train teachers to become superb."

Gates Foundation Wastes More Money Pushing VAM
NEPC - Best of the EdBlogs - Gene Glass

Gene Glass writes about the Gates Foundation report from the MET Project. "Any attempt to evaluate teachers that is spoken of repeatedly as being 'scientific' is naturally going to provoke rebuttals that verge on technical geek-speak. The MET Project's "Ensuring Fair and Reliable Measures of Effective Teaching" brief does just that." Read more.

International tests show achievement gaps in all countries, with big gains for U.S. disadvantaged students
Economic Policy Institute - Working Economics - Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein

In a new EPI report, What do international tests really show about U.S. student performance?, Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein disaggregate international student test scores by social class and show that "the commonplace condemnation of U.S. student performance on such tests is misleading, exaggerated, and in many cases, based on misinterpretation of the facts." According to Carnoy and Rothstein, "ours is the first study of which we are aware to compare the performance of socioeconomically similar students across nations."

Read more on the report by Ken Bernstein (@teacherken) over at DailyKos.
Gallup: Student Engagement Drops With Each Grade
Education Week - Teaching Now - Francesca Duffy

Francesca Duffy summarizes the recently released Gallup Student Poll. The poll showed: "A majority of elementary school students—almost eight in 10—qualify as engaged, the poll found. By middle school, however, that number drops to six in 10 students. And when students enter high school, it drops to four in 10." The poll surveyed approximately 500,000 students from 37 states in over 1,700 public schools in 2012. Find the full results from the poll here.

How to keep talented teachers from leaving
Christian Science Monitor - Eric Klinenberg and Caitlin Zaloom

Eric Klinenberg and Caitlin Zaloom, both of New York University, write about the need to recruit, retain, and mentor America's teachers. "New teachers face high-pressure demands, with little support, such that more than half leave the profession within the first five years. These teachers need to see opportunities for career advancement, better compensation, and meaningful evaluation and professional development."

Kahlenberg on so-called 'High-flying, high-poverty schools'
Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog - Mike Klonsky

Mike Klonsky summarizes Richard Kahlenberg's "provacative" in American Educator (Winter 2013).  American Educator is a publication of the American Federation of Teachers. "Kahlenberg takes on those who exaggerate the effect of "high-flying, high-poverty schools" or those [like Michelle Rhee--m.k.], who consider poverty to be mainly an 'excuse' made by bad teachers who fail to produce high standardized test score results in poor, segregated schools."

Gates Still Doesn't Get It! Trapped in a World of Circular Reasoning & Flawed Frameworks
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker discusses the recent final reports of the Gates funded Measures of Effective Teaching. Baker is critical of the report for several reasons: 1. Self-validating Circular Reasoning; 2. Assuming Data Models Used in Practice are of Comparable Quality/Usefulness; 3. Continued Preferences for the Weighted Components Model.
If you are interested in a quick video on VAM (value-added), take a look at Baker's discussion at Bank Street's Teacher and Principal Evaluation Panel (May 12).
For a very comprehensive list of work on the Gate's MET final report, go to Larry Ferlazzo's: A Beginning List Of The Best Posts On Gates’ Final MET “Effective Teaching” Report.
Joy Resmovits, Huffington Post, covers the report here: Gates Foundation MET Report: Teacher Observation Less Reliable Than Test Scores.
Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week, discusses the composite measure of teacher effectiveness: Combined Measures Better at Gauging Teacher Effectiveness, Study Finds.
Beth Fertig, NY Times SchoolBook Blog, discusses the findings: Gates Study Finds Test Scores Can Measure Teacher Effectiveness.
Mikhail Zinshteyn, Education Writers Association, discusses the project in this preview post on EdMedia Commons: Measuring Teacher Effectiveness—Stories and Ideas.
International Tests Are Not All the Same
Brookings Institution - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless attempts to break down the key differences between international tests. "The scores dispelled the myth that all international tests are the same. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) are quite different. TIMSS is curriculum-based, reflecting the skills and knowledge taught in schools. PISA assesses whether students can apply what they’ve learned to solve “real world” problems. PISA tests an age-based sample (15 year olds)."

Five Questions For PBS NewsHour Correspondent John Merrow on Frontline's New Michelle Rhee Documentary
EdMedia Commons - Education Writers Association - Emily Richmond
Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association, speaks with John Merrow about his Frontline documentary about Michelle Rhee.
Also worth a read: The Empire Michelle Rhee Built by Charles PierceEsquire.
The Test-Based Evidence on the 'Florida Formula'
NEPC Best of the EdBlogs - Matthew DiCarlo, Shanker Blog
Matthew Di Carlo looks at Jeb Bush's 'Florida Formula' and his set of core policy prescriptions. Di Carlo asserts: "Governor Bush is no doubt sincere in his effort to improve U.S. education, and, as we’ll see, a few of the policies comprising the 'Florida formula' have some test-based track record. However, his primary empirical argument on their behalf – the coincidence of these policies’ implementation with changes in scores and proficiency rates – though common among both “sides” of the education debate, is simply not valid."
The Great Lakes Center funded a review of the 'Florida Formula.' Read the review by William Mathis on the GLC website
Another Florida review, cited in Di Carlo's blog, was done by Madhabi Chatterji, Teachers College, in November 2010 (also funded by the GLC). Read it here.
For more excellent work by Di Carlo, visit
Rhee's StudentsFirst grades education on ideology, not results
DailyKos - Laura Clawson
Laura Clawson highlights a recent state ranking of schools by Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst organization.
For more on the StudentsFirst report, listen to Minnesota Public Radio: Who is Michelle Rhee and why do we care what she thinks about Minnesota schools?
In California, Richard Zeiger, state deputy superintendent, told the New York Times that the state's F rating is a "badge of honor."
Bruce Baker looks at the report: RheeFormy Logic & Goofball Rating Schemes: Comments & Analysis on the Students First State Policy Grades. "So, in short, there’s simply no research based reason to follow the policy agenda of Students First."
Research Evidence vs Soaring Ideology: School Vouchers and Achievement
Cloaking Inequality - Julian Vasquez Heilig's Education and Public Policy Blog

Julian Vasquez Heilig looks into the research behind school vouchers in his recent blog. "Student voucher advocates promised that school vouchers would boost academic achievement for the economically disadvantaged and students of color. Yet, voucher proponents rarely cite independent, peer-reviewed, and scientific research purporting increased academic achievement from school vouchers. However, according to Ravitch (2011), studies of voucher programs in Washington, DC, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and other areas demonstrate that vouchers have negligible effects on student academic achievement. Simply put, school vouchers fail to deliver on improving student achievement significantly or consistently for targeted students who made the choice to move from public to private schools."

Wash Post On D.C. Charter Expulsions
01/07/2013 - Andrew Rotherham

Andrew Rotherham,, discusses an article published in the Washington Post by Emma Brown on charter school expulsion rates in D.C. D.C. charter schools expelled 676 students in the past three years, while the city’s traditional public schools expelled 24, according to a Washington Post review of school data.

Words Count: Let's Change How We Talk About Public Schools
Education Week - Transforming Learning Blog - Cheryl Williams

Cheryl Williams, Executive Director Learning First Alliance (LFA), writes about changing the dialogue of school 'reform' - a term she described as being 'hijacked.' She shares her organization's mission for 2013: "This year the Learning First Alliance is launching a messaging campaign to frame the conversation about our public schools in a way that reaffirms the importance of the publicly-funded universal education opportunity and highlights work underway and strategies for working together to implement change. Our work is based on the core value statement: Strengthening our public schools is the best way to ensure our children's future success and our country's prosperity. Our key messages are: All children have the right to a public education that prepares them for college, careers and citizenship; Quality public schools build the knowledge and skills young people need to succeed in a global knowledge-based world; Communities are stronger and schools are better when we all work together to support public education."

The Learning First Alliance is a partnership of 16 education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools. We share examples of success, encourage collaboration at every level, and work toward the continual and long-term improvement of public education based on solid research.

A Model T Education: Public Schooling on the Assembly Line
Daily Censored - Adam Bessie

Adam Bessie responds to a recent PBS NewsHour report by John Merrow. John Merrow is currently Education Correspondent for PBS NewsHour and President of Learning Matters. Merrow argues, in this recent piece, that public education needs to find its 'Model T' - a mass-produced, cost-effective education system. Bessie counters that schools are already being forced to conform to factory-like standards because of the Global Education Reform Movement (G.E.R.M). "Mass-production is a problem for education  – indeed, it is now the problem."

Adam Bessie is a community college English professor, essayist (Truthout, Project Censored), parent, and co-author comix ed reform report:

'Elections shouldn't exist': The new war on school boards
Salon - Josh Eidelson

Who should pick school board members – mayors or voters? The new education "reform" fight is over who chooses school boards: the mayor or the people. Josh Eidelson writes about an effort in Bridgeport, Conn. to retain control of the school district by a locally elected school board.

Josh Eidelson covers labor as a contributing writer at The Nation, Salon and In These Times.

Consensus on Schools Is Crucial
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner, in response to a New Yorker piece on homework, urges for a common ground on what schools should look like. "Public schools have a vital role to play in the new world economy. Yet they won't improve unless we can first agree on what they should look like."

The year in education - a look back at 2012
The Hechinger Report

The Hechinger Report shares 13 of their top stories from the past year. "These stories provide insight into some of the most staggering problems facing U.S. public education today, and look at promising strategies for solving them."

CAUTION: Behind the Data and School Success
DailyKos - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas, a professor at Furman University, writes about the need to be skeptical - "the need to be skeptical about media and political analyses of data, the danger of assigning causation to any data without careful analysis, and the essentially distorting effect of large data points that blur the nuance of more detailed data." Missing from the education reform debate is caution for news that is too good to be true, and blame for "failures."

As Detroit Public Schools rolls fall, proportion of special-needs students on rise
Detroit Free Press - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Education writer Chastity Pratt Dawsey tackles the growing percentage of students with disabilities in Detroit's public schools. Combined with declining enrollment and charter school skimming, Detroit now has more than 9,000 (roughly 18%) students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). "The higher proportion of special-education students has led to shortages in some services and reassignments of students to larger classes, some parents said. Special-education regulations and many students' IEPs require low ratios of students to teachers. Severely disabled students require an aide to accompany them all day."

The fundamental flaws of 'value added' teacher evaluation
The Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Jack Jennings

Jack Jennings, former president Center for Education Policy, writes about the flaws of using value added for teacher evaluation. Jennings argues that there is a "gap" between what the research shows and how policy is being implemented. "We have ignored the advice to mind the gap for too long. The way we educate our children and treat our teachers should be based on facts, not on impulses."

A Guaranteed Pell Grant?
Inside HigherEd - Libby A. Nelson

Libby Nelson highlights a recent study by Robert Kelchen and Sara Goldrick-Rab of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, which found that guaranteeing a Pell Grant to students who qualify for free school lunch in the eighth grade could increase retention rates in college. Guaranteeing Pell Grants to all students receiving free lunch in the eighth grade would increase the cost of the program (apprx. 4%) to $1.5 billion - "but the researchers argued that the economic benefits of more college graduates would outweigh the costs."

Read the study here.

The Sensitive Task Of Sorting Value-Added Scores
The Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo addresses The New Teacher Project's (TNTP) report (The Irreplaceables) on teacher effectiveness. Using teacher data reports from New York City, DiCarlo points out the diffculty in using VAM (value-added).

Teacher Evaluations: When Process Makes a Difference
Learning First Alliance - Tarsi Dunlop

Tarsi Dunlop discusses the power of collaboration as the "best kept secret in education reform." She concludes, "As education professionals well know, collaboration and stakeholder involvement are key components for any attempts to reform.  However, even beyond the context, and the process, a greater cultural shift must happen across the country.  Teachers need to be more comfortable with observation, and evaluators must commit to using the data first for professional development and improving student learning – removing teachers from classrooms is a last resort. Reform, when done with input and buy-in from an entire community, means that everyone has ownership in the effort to change. Success and failure rests upon everyone’s shoulders, a reality that the Studyville story highlights to great effect."

Tarsi Dunlop is the Program and Operations Manager for the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 16 leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools. We share examples of success, encourage collaboration at every level, and work toward the continual and long-term improvement of public education based on solid research.

Evaluating Principals Through Test Scores: Harder Than You'd Think
Education Week - District Dossier - Jackie Zubrzycki

Jackie Zubrycki writes about a new research paper by Jason Grissom (Vanderbilt) and Demetra Kolgrides and Susanna Loeb (Stanford) which examines several possible methods of using test scores to evaluate principals.

Read the report here.

Virginia faces a test as math scores plummet
Washington Post - Jay Matthews

Jay Matthews writes about Virginia's attempt to increase the rigor of math tests. Matthews addresses the concerns of a Virgina teacher who worries about non-college bound students. "What of those who looked forward to staying close to home in jobs such as carpentry or cosmetology that couldn’t be exported to Bangalore?"

Reform Agenda Gains Strength
Education Next - William Howell, Martin West, and Paul E. Peterson

The authors (William Howell, Martin West, and Paul E. Peterson) respond to the sixth-annual Education Next-PEPG Survey.

You can read the full survey here.

Are Teachers Changing Their Minds About Education Reform?
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo discusses and responds to a recent Washington Post article (by Jay Matthews) on two important teacher surveys. In response to the Education Sector survey of U.S. teachers, Di Carlo had this to say: "This is a valuable resource. Like other teacher surveys, it shows that educators’ attitudes toward education policy are diverse." As with other surveys, there seems to be a split between younger and older teachers. Read the rest of his response here.

Find the Education Sector survey Trending Toward Reform: Teachers Speak on Unions and the Future of the Profession here.
Rethink School Choice
Huffington Post - Kevin Welner

Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, writes about school choice. Welner recently co-edited "Exploring the School Choice Universe: Evidence and Recommendations" which was based on research funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. In this Huffington Post piece, Welner writes "There can be a true value in parental choice -- matching, for example, a child's interests with the focus of a school. But in making policy we shouldn't assume school choice has some magical power."

Report finds potential problems with new state rating system for teachers
New York Post - Yoav Gonen
Yoav Gonen writes about a report by the American Institute of Research which looked into New York State teacher evaluations. The report found "Teachers in classrooms with high numbers of poor or disabled students tended to get slightly lower ratings than their peers under the state’s new evaluation system."
Read Bruce Baker's quick response to the findings (here).
Students Who Struggle Early Rarely Catch Up, Study Says
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah Sparks
Sarah Sparks writes about a recent report by the national testing group ACT Inc. The study, "Getting Students on Track to College and Career Readiness: How Many Catch Up from Far Behind?" which was presented through the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest on Monday.
Florida Flubs Release of Teacher Evaluation Results
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Liana Heitin
Liana Heitin writes about the new teacher evaluation results in Florida. The Florida department of education identified errors and pulled the data from its website, just hours after release.
America's next education 'crisis' - and who benefits
The Washington Post - Answer Sheet by Valerie Strauss - Guest Post: Jeff Bryant
Jeff Bryant, Campaign for America's Future, writes about the constant churn of an American education system in crisis.  Bryant probes into the motivation behind the narrative of bad schools being portrayed in the media.
Inequality for All: The Challenge of Unequal Opportunity in American Schools
EducationNext - Checker Finn

Checker Finn reviews a recent book by Bill Schmidt (Michigan State University) and Curtis McKnight (University of Oklahoma). Finn calls the work, "a distinctive, deeply researched, and amply documented plea for full-scale implementation of the Common Core math standards. The authors reach that destination after taking readers on a fascinating curricular journey." Originally published on the Fordham Institute's Flypaper blog.

Classes a la carte: States test a new school model
Reuters - Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon writes about a new push from states to "free" students from the "burdens" of traditional public schools. Louisiana, Utah, and Michigan all have plans to "unbundle" education funding and revolutionize public schools. The ultimate choice program. Anywhere, anytime.

Teaching Trends: 7 Things That Have Shaped The Teaching Profession Over The Past 2 Decades
Huffington Post - Education

A recent article over at Huffington Post highlighted a new study published by Richard Ingersoll and Lisa Merrill of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. The report identifies seven major trends and changes shaping the teaching profession. Data was collected from six cycles of the Schools and Staffing Survey and the Teacher Follow-Up Survey.

Read the study here. Read more about Richard Ingersoll. Read more about Lisa Merrill.
It's time to just say NO! More thoughts on the NY State Tchr Eval System
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker follows up on recent posts to further criticize consultants to the State of New York on the misuse of data in the New York State Teacher Evaluation System.

Bellying Up To The Bar - Again. Why A 'Bar Exam' For Teachers Misses The Point
Eduwonk Blog ( - Andy Rotherham

On his Eduwonk Blog, Andy Rotherham discusses a recent proposal by AFT president Randi Weingarten to create a "bar exam" for teachers, supported by the National Board certification process.

Also Worth a Read: Checker Finn's Bar Exam for Teachers? and Lyndsey Layton's Union proposes 'bar exam' for teachers.

The Black & White of Education in Chicago's Public Schools
The Chicago Teachers Union ( - Carol Caref

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) released a report on the “underutilization crisis” in the Chicago Public Schools system, a crisis that has been manufactured largely to justify the replacement of neighborhood schools by privatized charters. The study, titled The Black and White of Education in Chicago’s Public Schools, analyzes the mechanisms and effects of CPS schemes that masquerade as educational policy.

Ready to Teach: Resources from 'Rethinking Routes to the Classroom' Seminar
EdMedia Commons - Glen Baity

In this EdMedia Commons post, Glen Baity shares resources from a one-day seminar for journalists on the topic of teacher training. EdMedia Commons is a product of the Education Writers Association.

No consensus on which skills should be included in teacher evaluations
HechingerEd - Jackie Mader

Jackie Mader addresses the changing face of teacher evaluations in the United States. At least 30 states are launching new systems to evaluate teachers using more rigorous criteria about what makes a good teacher, but so far there is little consensus on what the criteria should be. The Hechinger Report is a nonprofit news organization that is focused on producing in-depth education journalism.

Creating A Valid Process For Using Teacher Value-Added Measures
Shanker Blog - Guest: Douglas N. Harris

Douglas N. Harris, associate professor of economics and University Endowed Chair in Public Education at Tulane University in New Orleans, shares work from his book, Value-Added Measures in Education. It provides an excellent, accessible review of the technical and practical issues surrounding these models. This was originally printed in the Washington Post.

The Current and Dire State of African American Males
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig's Education and Public Policy Blog

Originally published in the Journal of African American Males in Education by Richard Reddick and Julian Vasquez Heilig (both of the University of Texas at Austin), this article focuses on the state of African American males in the Central Southwestern region of the United States, regarding population distribution, education, and incarceration rates. The authors propose mentoring as one potential intervention to address the generally negative educational and correctional trends for African American males. Read more about it on Heilig's blog here.

The Current and Dire State of African American Male Crime and Education in the Central Southwest: Are Mentoring Constellations a Promising Strategy?
Evaluating Teachers AND Administrators
EducationNext - Eric Hanushek

Eric Hanushek discusses his new study that measures how much principals contribute to student achievement. His study, “School Leaders Matter,” was co-authored with Gregory F. Branch and Steven G. Rivkin.

A Case Against Assigning Single Ratings To Schools
Shanker Blog - Matthew DiCarlo

Matthew DiCarlo discusses absolute performance ratings of schools. "My point, accordingly, is to suggest that we stop trying to reduce schools to a single grade. Insofar as different people make different decisions with the data, it seems poor practice to risk cloaking the individual measures in one aggregate rating that cannot possibly serve well in diverse contexts (if any at all)."

Lead the way, Newark schools
New York Daily News - Andy Smarick, Bellwether

Andy Smarick discusses the new contract and reforms in Newark, New Jersey. He suggests "If the district fails now, we must eliminate it." Smarick is the author of "The Urban School System of the Future" and the former deputy commissioner of education for New Jersey.

Are Conservative 'Reformers' Bailing Out?
Education Week - Anthony Cody's Living in Dialogue - Guest post by John Thompson
John Thompson discusses several rhetorical changes authored by 'reformers' who are being more "candid about why bubblein accountability has failed." Those who have shifted in their messaging include: Mike Petrilli, Andy Smarick, and Kathleen Porter-Magee.
Thompson also discusses a recent report (The Hangover Effect: Thinking about the unintended consequences of the nation's teacher evaluation binge) written by Bellwether's Andrew Rotherham and Sara Mead for AEI; and Bellwether's post election Whiteboard Advisors "Insider Survey."
Open Letters To Reformers I Know.
TeachForUs - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein has started a series of posts, Open Letters to Reformers I Know. His first letters are to Whitney Tilson, Dave Levin, and Mike Feinberg. Read more here.

A story of educational courage
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss shares an excerpt from a book titled “Educational Courage: Resisting the Ambush of Public Education,” which profiles people working in support of public education against a tide of school reform that has turned out to be more destructive than helpful. The book of essays by different authors is the brainchild of Nancy Schniedewind & Mara Sapon-Shevin.

When 'Grading' Is Degrading
2 New York Times - Op/Ed - Michael Brick

Michael Brick, a former New York Times reporter, shares his thoughts on grading schools, teachers, President Obama's education policies, and market-based competition in schools. "So far, such competition has achieved little more than re-segregation, long charter school waiting lists and the same anemic international rankings in science, math and literacy we’ve had for years."

Ed. Dept. Analysis Paints Mixed Picture of SIG Program
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein discusses the release of data by the US Department of Education on School Improvement (SIG) funding. "Over all, the analysis paints a mixed picture of the first year of the supercharged SIG program, which received $3 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the largest federal investment in school turnaround in history." The release of this data follows a speech by Secretary Duncan before the Council of Chief State School Officers. You can find the data here. You can read Duncan's speech here. The Great Lakes Center funded an earlier brief reviewing the SIG program, read it here.

Why Education Must Be Public & Not Privatized
NEPC - Best of the Ed Blogs - Jack Hassard
In this Best of the Ed Blogs, Jack Hassard discusses his reasons for keeping education public. He asserts: "The democratic values that are the centerpiece of our society have been under assault, especially with the rise of the extreme conservative movement that began with Barry Goldwater, and continues today with the take over of the Republican party by extreme right-wing ideologues."
Keeping Equity at the Center of Reform
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Pedro Noguera

Pedro Noguera discusses the "profound inequity" in learning opportunities caused by racial segregation in under-resourced schools. Additionally, Noguera reminds his readers of the original intent of ESEA and the complex issues of equity, affirmative action, and segregation.

Louisiana launches controversial new teacher evaluations to praise, fear
The Hechinger Report - Andrew Vanacore, Times-Picayune
Andrew Vanacore discusses a new teacher evaluation system in Louisiana that requires frequent classroom observations and the use of test score data in teacher ratings. Vanacore reports: "Teachers in Louisiana have all but lost the tenure rules that once protected their jobs. Beginning this year, all 50,000 of them will be evaluated and ranked on an annual basis, often with test scores factoring in heavily. Soon, consistently 'ineffective' teachers will no longer be welcome in the classroom."
The Hechinger Report produced a four-part series of in-depth stories examining the possible benefits and pitfalls of the new (Lousiana) policies. Read more here.
Promoting Quality Teaching: New Approaches to Compensation and Career Pathways
Accomplished California Teachers
In a new report, Accomplished California Teachers suggest that California should explore the creation of a higher-tier teacher certification that identifies leaders in the profession, and rewards them not simply with money, but with increased compensation commensurate with new leadership roles beyond classroom. Find more about the report here. Find the executive summary here. Who is ACT?
Time to Put Forward a New Reform Agenda
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Pedro Noguera
Now that we can put the election behind us, Pedro Noguera writes to Debra Meier, in this Bridging Differences blog, about a new vision and agenda for the Obama administration.
Here are several of Noguera's ideas: 1) the federal government should call for the creation of a comprehensive support system around schools in low-income communities; 2) the federal government must support a new approach to assessment that focuses on concrete evidence of academic performance; 3) the federal government needs to call upon states and districts to undertake careful evaluations of struggling schools. Read more.
Pre-K, a Gold Standard: 'You certainly don't get what you don't pay for'
Cloaking Inequality - Julian Vasquez Heilig's Education and Public Policy Blog
Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses a recent brief produced by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. The brief highlighted the importance of universal preschool education. Heilig compares the research, which is demonstrative, to actual policy in Texas and in San Antonio (in particular).
Find more about the study by the National Education Policy Center here: Preschool Education Deserves Expansion, Investment: National Education Policy Center Brief.
Why Teachers Quit: It's the Principal, Stupid
Education Week - Teaching Now - Anthony Rebora
Anthony Rebora writes about a new study published by Peter Youngs (Michigan State) and Ben Pogodzinski (Wayne State) that investigates why teachers leave the profession. "Given that nearly a third of teachers quit or change schools in their first two years of teaching, the study's findings highlight a potential need for better training for principals in leadership and interpersonal skills, said Youngs, the lead researcher for the study." Read more here.
Obama Won, But Did Educators Lose In the Process?
AlterNet - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas discusses Obama's victory and how educators have much to lose in a second Obama term. "As long as accountability remains the education law of the land, students are bound to lose out." Thomas grades the President's education agenda: F. Thomas concludes: "The only change that would return a political victory to educators is a shift away from an accountability paradigm, and toward an education reform agenda driven by the quest for equity and opportunity."

Indiana Superintendent's Defeat: What Role for Common Core?
Education Week - Curriculum Matters - Catherine Gewertz
Catherine Gewertz discusses Indiana schools superintendent Tony Bennett's loss and the larger debate about the effectiveness of the Common Core.
Election Affirms Education 'Reform' A Beltway, Rich Person Fetish
Campaign for America's Future - Jeff Bryant
Jeff Bryant discusses the impact of the 2012 election on education 'reform.' In response to Obama's policies Bryant had this to say: "the president's policies known to align with what is commonly called 'education reform' -- which closely adheres to Beltway conventional wisdom and the druthers of rich folks -- appear to have little support on the ground."
Like the neighborhood, not the school? Author understands your problem.
Washington Post - Jay Mathews
Jay Mathews probes Michael Petrilli's new book: "The Diverse Schools Dilemma: A Parent’s Guide to Socioeconomically Mixed Public Schools." Petrilli's new book explains his quest to find a culturally diverse school for his own children in Washington, D.C.
Moving the best teachers to the worst schools
Washington Post - Class Struggle - Jay Mathews

Jay Mathews discusses questions faced by D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson. 1) Will the chancellor transfer the top-performing teachers to low-performing schools, where they are needed the most? and 2) Will (she) require principals to do all they can to keep their best teachers?  Read more.

Student Nomads: Mobility in Ohio's Schools
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Terry Ryan, Emmy L. Partin, Aaron Churchill

A new report out by the Fordham Institute investigates student mobility in school districts in Ohio. According to the report, persistently mobile students do less well in school than their non-moving peers. Read more.

What to Expect on Education in Obama's Second Term
National Journal - Fawn Johnson
Fawn Johnson, a correspondent for the National Journal, highlights what she sees as the education agenda for President Obama's second term. Read more.
In a related online piece, Johnson asks education policy experts to discuss what big education topics will surface for the next administration? Read more.
More Focus on Opportunities to Learn? Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center, responds. Welner predicts that "we can expect more of the same" education policy that we saw in the first Obama term. He points to two successful projects the Department of Education has pursued - Promise Neighborhoods and the Early Learning Challenge - as successes that should be pursued. Read the rest of Welner's response here or here.
Reelection of President Obama a Victory for Public Education and Students
NEA Today, Online - Laila Hirschfeld and Tim Walker
NEA Today highlights the importance of President Obama's reelection. "Throughout the campaign, the President pledged to invest in education especially in early childhood education and to make higher education more affordable," said (NEA President Dennis) Van Roekel.
Recovery School District in New Orleans: National Model for Reform or District in Academic Crisis
Research on Reforms - Charles J. Hatfield

The Center for Action Research on New Orleans School Reforms (Research on Reforms) released a review of the Recovery School District in New Orleans, La. "The 2012 achievement results for the RSD-NO show that after 7 years of operation, it still ranks among the lowest of the 71 Louisiana school districts; 83% of its schools were labeled with a "D" or "F"; and 79% of its students attended schools labeled as a "D" or "F". Is this the type of school district that use be elevated as a model for other cities?"

Residency Program Tops Tennessee Teacher-Prep Report Card
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk writes about the Memphis Teacher Residency Program. "The Memphis Teacher Residency produces teachers that outperform the average veteran teacher in Tennessee with students in grades 4-8, and in math and science specifically, according to an analysis of teacher-preparation programs released last week by Tennessee's higher education commission."

Is Seniority for Teachers Bad for Students?
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody explores seniority issues in his latest blog for Education Week. Cody addresses several key questions in response to a debate started on Twitter. 1) What are the benefits seniority provides? 2) What does "quality-blind lay-offs" mean? 3) How about "rigid, factory-era pay systems"? 4) What do you think? Is seniority good or bad for students? 5) How about using test scores or VAM ratings to determine who is laid off?

Detroit Teacher Wonders: What If I Could Quit When I 'Didn't Have the Tools' I Need?
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan shares the words of a Detroit teacher about the possible departure of Emergency Manager Roy Roberts. Roberts has sent a letter to Michigan's governor warning that if his power isn't restored by the election that he will leave the district.

Let a New Teacher-Union Debate Begin
Education Next - Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael Petrilli

Chester Finn and Michael Petrilli react to a recent report on the strength of teachers unions. "In the end, we learned a ton from it—about individual states, about national patterns, about unexpected relationships, and about surprising exceptions."

The right start: Creating a strong foundation for the teaching career
Phi Delta Kappan - Linda Darling-Hammond

Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, discusses teacher evaluations as the primary tool being promoted to improve teaching. She describes a system of teacher evaluation that will drive the profession and improve it. "What we really need is the conception of teacher evaluation as part of a teaching and learning system that supports continuous improvement for individual teachers and the profession as a whole." Kappan is a subscription magazine, however this article is currently available to all (here).

Closing the achievement gap: Have we flat-lined?
The Hechinger Report - A Sociological Eye on Education - Aaron Palas

Sociologist Aaron Palas writes about closing the achievement gap in his blog for the Hechinger Report. "Significant closure of the achievement gap may be beyond the grasp of educators who will be struggling simply to keep their heads above water in the next five years."

Caution Urged in Using 'Value Added' Evaluations
Education Week (print/online) - Spotlight - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks discusses several recent reports on the use of value-added in teacher evaluation systems. "Top researchers studying new 'value added' or 'growth index' models for measuring a teacher’s contribution to student achievement completely agree on only one thing: These methods should be used in staff-evaluation systems with more care than they have been so far."

Linked in the article is a preliminary study by Jesse Rothstein, Do Value-Added Models Add Value? Tracking, Fixed Effects, and Causal Inference.

Also worth a read - 'Value Added' Measures at Secondary Level Questioned by Stephen Sawchuk

School superintendent to Thomas Friedman: Why you are wrong about Race to the Top
Washington Post - Valerie Strauss "The Answer Sheet" - Guest Post by: Jonathan Raymond

Jonathan Raymond, Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent, takes New York Times writer Thomas Friedman to task for his praise of the Race to the Top federal education competition. Raymond calls into question the need to use student test scores tied to teacher evaluations, and offers his version of effective reform. "Race to the Top’s zealous and prescriptive focus on accountability, human capital and technology at the expense of capacity building, collaboration, teaching practice and social capital is like the game we sometimes see children play on a school yard."

Kentucky 'Districts of Innovation' Will Allow Greater Flexibility
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Kimberly Shannon

Guest blogger Kimberly Shannon writes about a new Kentucky initiative, one aimed at giving districts flexibility from certain laws and regulations. "These 'Districts of Innovation' will operate much like charters." Kentucky state law does not allow for charters.

Beware of Obama Core
Worchester Telegram & Gazette - Columnist - Robert Nemeth

Robert Nemeth urges his readers to pay close attention to what he refers to as the Obama Core, which is just as "consequential for the country's future as Obama Care." According to his column, the Pioneer Institute estemated that "fully implementeing Common Core, over seven years, could cost $16 billion."

Local Control of Schools: It's a White People Thing
Jersey Jazzman Blog

Jersey Jazzman, a widely read teacher blogger, writes about local control, Focus schools, Reward schools, and Priority schools in New Jersey. In his review of New Jersey's NCLB waiver process, he summarizes the policy as: "Let's state this plainly: if you are a school with a large poor or minority student population, the state wants to control you. If, however, your district is primarily white and non-poor, the state says you can govern yourself." Read more from Rutgers Bruce Baker here.

The Insanity Chart of 'No Excuses' Reform
Schools Matter - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas creates a chart, which compares public school problems and their "no excuses" policy solution. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results."

Is Demography Still Destiny?
Annenberg Institute for School Reform - Brown University

This AISR study on college readiness shows that in spite of a decade of efforts in New York City to expand choice and ensure that the most disadvantaged students do not invariably attend the most disadvantaged schools, student demographics still stubbornly dictate destiny. Written by - Norm Fruchter, Megan Hester, Christina Mokhtar, Zach Shahn.

Two Cheers for Gates Foundation Student Survey Research
Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day - Guest Post By Dr. John Thompson
In this guest post, John Thompson shares two important reviews of the Gates Foundation's recent reports on student survey data to improve instruction. Thompson first looks at a post by Craig Jerald (The Quick & the Ed), who argues that the student surveys aren't "grading" teachers, but rather "a series of carefully worded questions about classroom experiences." Additionally, Thompson investigates Amanda Ripley's Atlantic article, "Why Kids Should Grade Teachers."
Thompson offers praise for the Gates Foundation for their efforts and their admission "that it had discovered that those (multiple) measures (value-added, video taping, and student surveys) are not valid enough for high-stakes purposes."
In response to the use of student surveys, Thompson finds that they have value, "Especially when studied along with videotapes of instruction, the use of study survey data could inform discussions that would be truly transformative."
Who's who: Larry Ferlazzo is a teacher from Sacramento who blogs about educational issues, John Thompson is a former inner city teacher who blogs regularly about his experiences, Craig Jerald is a member of the Education Sector K20 Task Force and is an education policy consultant and president of Break the Curve Consulting, and Amanda Ripley writes for the Atlantic Magazine. The MET project is a partnership (funded by the Gates Foundation) between 3,000 teacher volunteers and dozens of independent research teams. The project aims to help teachers and schools understand what great teaching looks like.
Study Quantifies Individual Principals' Contributions to Student Achievement Growth
Education Next - Gregory F. Branch, Eric A. Hanushek and Steven G. Rivkin

Education Next has released a study that "quantifies" the contributions of principals on student achievement. Authors Gregory F. Branch, Eric A. Hanushek and Steven G. Rivkin found that not only did principals have an impact on student achievement, but that principals were able to change the composition of schools - which has an impact on the school environment, more than just test scores.

Beyond Charter Schools: Thinking About Public Education's Future
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Pedro Noguera

Pedro Noguera, in his ongoing conversation with Deborah Meier, discusses the charter school debate and his desire to move onto more pressing issues in education. He concludes: "Deborah, we've got to find a way to shift the focus of reform away from distractions like charter schools and on to issues like inequality, racial segregation, and the need to improve schools that have been struggling for years and to create schools where children are intellectually stimulated."

Why do hedge funds ADORE charters?
Cloaking Inequality - 's Education and Public Policy Blog

Julian Vasquez Heilig addresses the profit motive with charter schools, hedge fund managers, and "profiteering."

Will Andy Smarick Join the KIPP Challenge?
NEPC - Best of the Ed Blogs - Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch writes her response to Andy Smarick's recent piece "Chartering the Future." "The post is a summary of Smarick’s new book; he argues that urban school systems are so broken that they should be eliminated and replaced by charters, lots and lots of charters." Ravitch issues the same challenge to Smarick that she offered to KIPP (charter schools) several weeks ago: "Take all the children. Open your doors to all. Do it in one place before imposing it on everyone."

Surveys Probe Generational Attitudes of Teaching Force
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk looks at the results of a survey from Teach Plus, which points to a gap of opinions between younger, less experienced teachers and teachers with 11 or more years of experience.

The Data-Driven Education Movement
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero discusses the concept of data driven, what data driven decisions are, and her experiences as a student and a researcher. "Our blind faith in numbers has ultimately caused impoverishment in how (and what) information is used to help address real world problems. We now apparently believe that numbers are not just necessary, but sufficient, for making research-based decisions."

Teacher Leaders: Puppets or Powerful?
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody discusses an essay by Ariel Sacks, a New York teacher, who investigates the "next stage" of teacher leadership. Cody builds on the essay by Sacks and asks some probing questions about what a teacher leader is, how being a leader can be manipulated, and what direction teacher leadership can or should go.

New Report Shows Mayoral Control Hurts Schools
Teachers Unite & the Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center
A new report, Your Schools, Your Voice, finds that by shutting out teachers, parents, and students from the decision-making process, mayoral control of schools devalues the people who are directly impacted by the school system. Find the full report here.
Teachers Unite is an independent membership organization of public school educators supporting collaboration between parents, youth and educators fighting for social justice. The Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center strengthens the impact of grassroots organizations in New York City’s low-income and other excluded communities.
School Reform, But From Whose Perspective?
Education Week - Cheryl Scott Williams
Cheryl Scott Williams looks at several prominent K-12 education "reformers" and their background. According to a NY Times article by Michael Winerip, "most prominent K-12 education "reformers" today are products of private education, either for their entire precollegiate schooling, or in part: from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; to former District of Columbia Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee; to Microsoft co-founder and Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates; to "Waiting for 'Superman' " producer-director Davis Guggenheim; to, most prominently, President Barack Obama. The list could be expanded to include many others."
Cheryl Scott Williams is the executive director of the Learning First Alliance, which is located in Alexandria, Va.
Are you ready for a new idea?
Cloaking Inequality - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig writes about a new report produced by the National Education Policy Center (Democracy Left Behind, How Recent Education Reforms Undermine Local School Governance and Democratic Education) with funding from the Great Lakes Center. The report inspired him to share a portion of an upcoming chapter in an Urban Education Handbook. His new idea? "Community-Based Accountability."

Why almost all school reform efforts have failed
10/16/2012 - David Berliner
This is an exerpt of a new report by David Berliner, which can be found on, or by clicking here. Effects of Inequality and Poverty vs. Teachers and Schooling on America’s Youth is a response to the failed reforms of our schools over the past few decades.
Find several previously produced reports funded by the GLC from David Berliner here.
A Principal Writes to President Obama: Schools do not Need Your Punishment. We Need Your Support
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody has teamed up with education historian Diane Ravitch to organize letters for the Campaign for our Public Schools. This blog shares the letter of a principal to President Obama.

The Politics of Reform in the Presidential Election
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Pedro Noguera

Pedro Noguera writes about a change in the education dialogue to "call for a concerted effort to build the capacity of schools to meet students' needs and expand opportunities to learn." Noguera calls on the NEA and others to help "re-frame" the debate from the "narrow focus on standards and acceptability"  to pointing out "the injustice of what is going on and then spell out an alternative strategy one that uses the example of successful schools."

Seeking Aid, School Districts Change Teacher Evaluations
New York Times - Motoko Rich

Motoko Rich investigates the race to change teacher evaluations. 36 states and the District of Columbia have introduced new teacher evaluation policies in the past three years - mostly to comply with the Obama Administration's Race to the Top and other federal incentives (like waivers).

Tell Me More: Education Special and Twitter Forum
NPR - Tell Me More - Michel Martin

NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin broadcasted live from member station WLRN (Miami) and hostied a Twitter education forum on where the nation's schools now stand. Martin talked with Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade Public Schools, Sal Kahn - Kahn Academy, and Michelle Rhee, the polarizing national education reform advocate. Follow the Twitter dialogue with the hashtag #npredchat.

Charter Schools' Role in Strengthening Public Education
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Pedro Noguera

Pedro Noguera discusses Ted Sizer's view of charter schools and their potential for innovative practices that could not be easily implemented in traditional public schools. "The impetus for creating charters was not anti-union, at least not for these educators. The goal was to create schools where teachers would have greater say in how schools were managed, that could be less rigid with respect to curriculum and teaching, and more responsive to the learning needs of students."

Nikhil Goyal Interview: A High School Student Offers a Critique of Our Schools
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody interviews Nikhil Goyal, author of One Size Does Not Fit All, A Student's Assessment of School. "This isn't 1920. We needed more standardized people back then to man the conveyor belts and equipment. Today, however, this country is craving for dreamers, problem solvers, trailblazers, and people who see things differently."

Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School
New York Times - Alan Schwarz

Alan Schwarz discusses the use of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs to low-income patients struggling in elementary school. The article profiles Dr. Michael Anderson, a Georgia doctor who regularly prescribes drugs to patients who may or may not have ADHD to aid in school behavior modification.

The Global Search For Education: The Education Debate 2012 - Richard Wilson Riley
Huffington Post - Education - C.M. Rubin

Cathy Rubin interviews former Secretary of Education Richard Riley about his thoughts on the Education Debate 2012. You can read more about her series "The Global Search for Education" here.

The Stability And Fairness Of New York City's School Ratings
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo writes about New York City's new round of results from its school rating system. "All of this indicates that the city’s system is more focused on school rather than student test-based performance, compared with many other systems around the U.S."

The Great Charter Charade
Schools Matter - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas responds to an editiorial in the The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) and the twenty-year anniversary of charter schools in Minnestoa.

Before a Test, a Poverty of Words
New York Times - Gina Bellafante

Gina Bella fante discusses language aquisition and astonishing differences between socioeconomic groups. Bellafante highlights the Hart/Risley studies and NYC's pre-school programs. "Obviously we want equal opportunity; we also want children to know what words like 'equal' and 'opportunity' mean."

Organization Questions Michigan Parent-Trigger Proposal
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Sean Cavanagh

Sean Cavanagh discusses Parent Revolution's opposition to Michigan's proposed 'parent trigger' legislation. Ben Austin, executive director, says that Parent Revolution is against using the 'parent trigger' to support for-profit charter school operators.

NCLB Waivers and Accountability
Center on Education Policy (CEP) - Wayne Riddle and Nancy Kober

The Center on Education Policy released two reports related to NCLB and accountability systems approved through the waiver process.

Five Biggest Lies About America's Public Schools, Debunked
Turthout - Kristin Rawls, AlterNet

Kristin Rawls takes on five destructive lies about public education in America.

Diane Ravitch Talks School Reform, the Chicago Strike, and the 'Testing Vampire'
The American Prospect - Abby Rapoport

Abby Rapoport writes about Diane Ravitch's recent trip to Texas and her evolution as an education historian.

Should We Teach the Five-Paragraph Essay?
Education Week - Nancy Flanagan's Teacher in a Strange Land - Josh Boldt

Josh Boldt, a teacher of writing at the University of Georgia shares his thoughts on the value and dangers of the five-paragraph essay.

John Thompson's Book Review: 'VAM in Education' -- Who has the Burden of Proof?
Education Week - Anthony Cody's Living in Dialogue - John Thompson

John Thompson review's Douglas Harris' Value-Added Measures in Education. Thompson calls it a "masterpiece. Even in the places where I believe Harris is mistaken, he identifies the core issues involved in using value-added for evaluations."

The Real Reason We Don't See Best Practices
Education Rethink - John Spencer

John Spencer tackles the issue of what works in schools and why we rarely see it talked about. His commentary dives into high-stakes testing and the dangers of teaching to the test.

A people's education platform
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Nancy Flanagan and Don Bartalo

Nancy Flanagan and Don Bartalo discuss the question: "What if education policy guidelines and political platforms were shaped by rank-and-file citizens?" Flanagan and Bartalo suggest that ED return to its original purpose. "ED was not established to make teachers accountable to the public, but to make the federal government accountable to the people."

Overhauling Indiana Teacher Evaluation Systems: Examining Planning and Implementation Issues of School Districts
Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) - Indiana University

Cassandra M. Cole, James N. Robinson, Jim Ansaldo, Rodney S. Whiteman, and Terry E. Spradlin take a closer look at Indiana's teacher evaluation system and discus policy in several areas. The brief covers a wide range of education policy with regards to teacher quality, teacher evaluation, and usefulness of evaluation training.

My View: Myths on American schooling
CNN - Schools of Thought - William H. Schmidt

William H. Schmidt, distinguished professor at Michigan State University and co-director of the Education Policy Center, writes about three myths that "have distorted how we view education and comprised our efforts to improve it." Myths include: Everyone has an equal chance to succeed in school; It's only a problem for poor and minority students; There's nothing we can do about it. Schmidt says that the Common Core State Standards are a step toward equalizing opportunities to learn.

'Double Segregation': The Deepening Racial Divide in Schools
NEA Today - Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker writes about a recent study published by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. "The Civil Rights Project is calling on the Obama Administration, state and local officials, and organizations around the country to take proactive measures to ensure that all students, regardless of race and wealth, have equal access to a successful education."

Noguera: The Origins of My Views on Education
Education Week - Bridging Differences - Pedro Noguera

Pedro Noguera joins Bridging Differences, replacing Diane Ravitch, who is now focusing on her own blog. Noguera will continue the conversation with Deborah Meier. He is director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education in New York.

Beware the Trigger
Rethinking Schools Blog - Wayne Au

Wayne Au writes about the 'parent trigger,' and Walden Media’s propaganda based Hollywood film, "Won’t Back Down." Au provides links to resources about 'parent trigger.'

I Don't Believe in Research
Education Rethink - Blog - John Spencer

John Spencer writes about his distrust for what research 'says' as opposed to 'believing' in research. Spencer says that when someone says: "Research says…" his reaction is to ask the following questions: "1) Was it peer-reviewed? 2) Was there a viable commercial interest guiding the formation and analysis of the research? 3) What were the variables, control group, and how was the research constructed? 4) How large was the scope of the research, the sample size, any actual research conducted? 5) What does the raw data look like, how was it analyzed, what external factors were considered?" Critical voices missing in the education reform debate?

School segregation sharply increasing, studies show
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valeri Strauss
Valerie Strauss writes about three recently released reports and two regional studies by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. These reports analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Strauss reports that: "The research shows that segregation is substantially increasing for Latino students across the country but most significantly in the West, and that for black students, segregation also remains very high and is most severely growing in the South."
'The Difficult Thirty Percent' Redux: The Equity Gap 2012
Daily Kos - Paul Thomas
Paul Thomas addresses The Urgency of Now, a 2012 report from the Schott Foundation for Public Education, on dropout rates for Black male and Latino male ninth-graders in high school. Thomas utilizes Ralph Ellison speech from 1963 as a comparison of current and historical reference.
"Ralph Ellison, celebrated author of Invisible Man, spoke in September 1963 at a teachers' conference " discuss 'these children,' the difficult thirty percent. We know this very well; it has been hammered out again and again." Ellison was addressing the educational failures of African American children in U.S. public schools, including drop outs."
The report from the Schott foundation, Thomas' piece, and Ellison's work are all Worth a Read.
Thomas also suggests other work by Ralph Ellison, Martin Luther King Jr. and James Baldwin in a separate piece: Essential Reading/Viewing for "No Excuses" Reformers
Charter schools suspend, expel students at widely varying rates
Washington Post - Emma Brown
Emma Brown tackles D.C. charter schools, who suspended and expelled students at widely varying rates in 2011-12, according to data released by the D.C. Public Charter School Board.
"While the majority of charters did not expel any students, others kicked out dozens. And while some schools suspended only a handful of kids, others suspended more than 100 — more than half the student body, in a couple cases."
Study: Outside of school factors play a larger role in test scores than teachers
MLive (Michigan) - Dave Murray, The Grand Rapids Press

Dave Murray writes about a new study released by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. William Mathis (author of the brief) writes: "Care must be taken in selecting or designing a balanced evaluation system," he wrote. "Given the extensive range of activities, skills, and knowledge involved in teachers’ daily work, the system’s goals must be clear, explicit and reflect practitioner involvement. Effective teacher evaluation also requires an investment in sufficient numbers of qualified evaluators. Otherwise, the system will likely be irregular, uneven and ineffective."

What We're Watching: Coursera Founder Daphne Koller's TED Talk
Education Next - What We're Watching

Computer scientist and Coursera founder Daphne Koller takes a look at the future of education. This was shared from a TED talk. Education Next also shares several links about the implecations of Coursera for K-12 and higher education.

Grading (and Improving) Teaching: Alternatives to Standardized Tests
Education Week - View from the Bronx - Ilana Garon
Ilana Garon looks at several issues in the Chicago teachers' strike and the role of teacher evaluations. Garon looks into professional observations, peer-to-peer observations, teaching portfolios, student work, and student feedback as alternatives to using high-stakes standardized testing to evaluate teachers.
Shocking Report Explodes 5 Myths About American Education
AlterNet - Les Leopold

Les Leopold reports on a new international report demolishes several deeply held myths about our educational system. The report, from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), dispels several myths about our educational system. "Rather than thumping our chests, we should be going to school on how other developed nations, especially those in Europe, invest in education."

What Would You Do for Students in Poverty if you had Billions?
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody
Anthony Cody shares Karen Packard's answer to the question: "What would you do for students in poverty if you had billions?" 
Packard concludes: 
"I would measure success of the project with observations and surveys of students, parents, teachers, administrators and other building staff. I would also measure success with student portfolios and teacher portfolios, which would include anecdotal records.
John Dewey would be pleased. This wouldn't overcome poverty, but it would be a big step in the right direction and a lot of worthwhile learning would take place. If I had Bill Gates' money I could repeat this scenario again and again with school after school and district after district. No two would be exactly alike, but all would be successful."
Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform
NPR - Morning Edition - Alix Spiegel
On NPR's Morning Edition, Alix Spiegel looks at the impact of teacher expectations. "Specifically, how teacher expectations can affect the performance of children they teach."
Standing up for teachers
Washington Post - Opinion - Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson writes that "Teachers are heroes, not villains, and it's time to stop demonizing them." Robinson reacts to society's answer to every economic and education problem, "Beat up the teachers."

Are We Asking Too Much From Our Teachers?
New York Times - Opinion - Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz, author and producer of the documentary "The Interupters," discusses the interaction of 'top-notch' teachers and poverty - which remains "stubbornly high: one of every five children in America live below the poverty level." Kotlowitz reminds us that in cities like Chicago, where 87 percent of public school students come from low income families, that "teachers can't do it alone."

Analyzing Released NYC Value-Added Data Part 6
TeachForUs - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein finds even more flaws in value-added models for teacher evaluations that are based on standardized test scores. This is the sixth in a series of blogs written about 'value-added.' Rubinstein provides links to all his previous work on value-added.

A Teacher's Lament: The Next Big Thing
New York Times - School Book - Arthur Goldstein
Teacher Arthur Goldstein discusses education's thirst for the next Big Thing. "Isn't it, at long last, time to halt the search for the one true Thing?"
Teacher accountability and the Chicago teachers strike
Economic Policy Institute - Working Economics - Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein discusses the Chicago teachers' strike. "The strike represents the first open rebellion of teachers nationwide over efforts to evaluate, punish and reward them based on their students’ scores on standardized tests of low-level basic skills in math and reading. Teachers’ discontent has been simmering now for a decade, but it took a well-organized union to give that discontent practical expression. For those who have doubts about why teachers need unions, the Chicago strike is an important lesson."

Teacher Evaluation Dispute Echoes Beyond Chicago
From NPR's All Things Considered, Tovia Smith discusses the use of high-stakes tests to measure the effectiveness of teachers. Despite unreliable data, standardized tests are being used to drive education reform decisions. "Reform advocates concede that some decent teachers may indeed be unfairly penalized. But, they argue, that's better than bad teachers not being penalized, with students paying the price.

From NPR's All Things Considered, Tovia Smith discusses the use of high-stakes tests to measure the effectiveness of teachers. Despite unreliable data, standardized tests are being used to drive education reform decisions. "Reform advocates concede that some decent teachers may indeed be unfairly penalized. But, they argue, that's better than bad teachers not being penalized, with students paying the price."

The Exhaustion of the American Teacher
The Educator's Room - John Kuhn
John Kuhn writes about what's ailing America's teachers. 
"When it comes to America’s shamefully overflowing crop of ravaged children, trembling pundits, bumbling policy-crafters, and bombastic governors lead us in a chorus in which we either blame their teachers, or we blame something amorphous like poverty, or we blame no one. It is impolite to point at the blood dripping from the hands of well-meaning devastators when they happen to go by names like Mom and Dad."
Lean Production: What's Really Hurting Public Education
Jacobin Magazine - Will Johnson

Will Johnson looks at the broad education reform agenda, with specific references to Detroit and Chicago. Jacobin is a magazine of culture and polemic published quarterly out of New York City. Johnson also discusses his own experiences in New York. In response to the education reform agenda, Johnson concludes: "The goal of business-minded reformers is not to create “better” schools for children. It’s to create leaner schools for administrators to manage with greater ease. Parents and teachers must fight this process together, or student learning in public schools will continue to suffer."

Can you turn around a struggling school without tearing it down?
KPLU - NPR - Gabriel Spitzer

Gabriel Spitzer, KPLU News-Seattle, addresses Baker (Tacoma, Washington) Middle School's efforts to certify the entire staff with National Board Certification, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Instead of more drastic turnaround efforts backed by federal dollars and market-based ideas, Baker has sought to train its existing staff - other turnaround models require firing staff.

Cultivating the Next Generation of Teachers
KQED - NPR - Joshua Johnson

KQED's Joshua Johnson interviews Linda Darling-Hammond about a new report from a group of California's leading education experts, formed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, which calls for sweeping improvements to the way teachers are recruited, trained, brought into the profession, mentored, and evaluated.

The 90-page report, Greatness by Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State, addresses the recruitment of new teachers, including the need to develop a diverse, high-quality workforce of teachers and principals. It also examines quality induction programs that can help teachers improve early in their careers—often the key to keeping promising new teachers in the classroom.

On school reform: Broad's misleading response to critics
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Ken Libby and Stan Karp

Ken Libby, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Stan Karp, director of the Secondary Reform Project for New Jersey’s Education Law Center and an editor of Rethinking Schools magazine, discuss The Broad Center and efforts to influence school reform initiatives driven by market-based ideology. Also included in the links within the piece is commentary by Becca Bracy Knight, The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems.

Which Side Is Right About Evaluating Teachers?
Education Week - Reality Check - Walt Gardner

Walt Gardner highlights the differences between two reports on how teachers are evaluated and the use of VAM (value-added model). EPI's "Problems With The Use Of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers" is contrasted with a new report by the Manhattan Institute, "Transforming Tenure: Using Value-Added Modeling To Identify Ineffective Teachers." The reports are at odds over the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers.

Lost Hope: Obama's Failing Education Agenda
Dialy Kos - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas discusses what he believes are President Obama's education agenda shortcomings, along with other commentary.  "It is time for those of us who still cling to the hope that our schools should dare to build a new social order to hold reformers and politicians to their rhetoric, but to remind them that in order for schools to change society, those schools must be different than that society. If we want to foster democracy, our children must live and learn democracy in our schools—not continue to experience the labeling and sorting of test-based education."

High-Performing Charter Schools: Beating the Odds, or Beating the Test?
Truthout - Rob Levine, Campaign for America's Future

Rob Levine discusses the realities behind several test score miracles and charter schools. "One problem with radical test score gains, as many researchers have noted, is that miraculous improvements in test scores over short periods of time are more often the result of cheating, student skimming, or other test manipulation."

Value-Added Teacher Evaluation and Other Fairy Tales
NEPC - Best of the Ed Blogs - Gene V. Glass

Gene Glass shares a video from Audrey Amrein-Beardsley and Clarin Collins of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. The video discusses the SAS Education Value-added Assessment System in the Houston Independent School District: Intended and Unintended Consequences - this study critically examined the effects of SAS® EVAAS® as experienced by teachers, in one of the largest, high-needs urban school districts in the nation -- the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

Learning as Freedom
New York Times - Op-Ed - Michael S. Roth

In response to report by a task force organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael Roth shares John Dewey's vision of learning as freedom.

Film 'Won't Back Down' Models Hollywood Propaganda in Age of School Reform
Truthout - Danny Weil

Truthout's Danny Weil discusses the Hollywood hype and school reform agenda behind the upcoming film "Won't Back Down." He describes the film as "the latest Hollywood illusion, "Won't Back Down," surrounds the issue of the parent trigger laws which, in California and a handful of other states (Texas, Ohio and Connecticut), permit parents to go after "bad" teachers and even overrule administrators in bottom-ranked schools." Weil investigates the production funding from Walden Media, which is backed by Philip Anschutz, a conservative billionaire. Weil also profiles two other education related films: "Detachment" and "The Cartel."

TFA implores Obama administration to hold teacher preparation programs accountable
TeachForUs - Gary Rubinstein
Gary Rubinstein discusses a letter by "a coalition of over 30 education reform organizations" asking Education Secretary Arne Duncan to hold teacher preparation programs accountable. "These 30+ organizations read like a who’s who of places who think that value-added is so accurate that basing teacher evaluations, school evaluations, and now teacher prep program evaluations on it will surely close that achievement gap up in no time."
Response: An Interview With Paul Tough On Character & Schools
Education Week - Classroom Q&A - Larry Ferlazzo
Education blogger Larry Ferlazzo interviews author Paul Tough on character in schools.  Tough is the author of the new book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.
Cyber charters in Pennsylvania growing despite issues
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Mary Niederberger
Mary Niederberger, in a first of a three-part series covering cyber schools in the Pittsburgh area, covers the growth of cyber charters in Pennsylvania. "The growth of enrollment in cyber charter schools has created tensions with traditional school districts, which lose students and tuition dollars to the cyber alternatives."
School Choice Is No Cure-All, Harlem Finds
New York Times - Kyle Spencer
Kyle Spencer discusses school choice options in Harlem. School choice options for residents in New York are providing mixed results. "Harlem parents described two drastically different public school experiences, expressing frustration that, among other things, there were still a limited number of high-quality choices and that many schools continued to underperform."
New book presents research supported by the Great Lakes Center
Great Lakes Center - Worth a Read
Exploring the School Choice Universe: Evidence and Recommendations, edited by Gary Miron of Western Michigan University, Kevin Welner of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Patricia H. Hinchey of Pennsylvania State University, and William J. Mathis of the University of Colorado at Boulder, draws on extensive research funded, in part, by the Great Lakes Center and gives readers a comprehensive, complete picture of choice policies and issues. It brings together some of the top researchers in the field, presenting a comprehensive overview of the best current knowledge of these important policies.
The Short Run. The Long Run. And the Run Around
UCLA's Institue for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA)
UCLA's IDEA's weekly commentary covers budget cuts for California community colleges, which have seen $809 million in cuts. The cuts have resulted in fewer course options, staff, and support services for students.
Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong
Mother Jones - Kristina Rizga

Kristina Rizga probes into a persistently low performing school in San Francisco. A profile of Mission High School. "Attendance: up. Dropout rates: plummeting. College acceptance: through the roof. My mind-blowing year inside a "low-performing" school." San Francisco's KQED (NPR affiliate) highlights the article and the school here.

Utah Charters' Performance Mixed, but Improves With Maturity
Education Week's blogs - Charters & Choice - Sean Cavanagh
Sean Cavanagh discusses a new study published in the Economics of Education Review. The study was released by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education by Yongmei Ni and Andrea K. Rorrer, University of Utah. Find the full report here.
Helicopters can improve minority college attendance & other misguided policy implications: Comments on the Brookings 'Voucher' Study
School Finance 101 Blog - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker dissects a recent Brookings "voucher" report on the long term effects of vouchers on a randomized pool of participants in New York City. "Since the authors didn't actually conduct any real analysis of schooling resources/finances, they really shouldn't have gone there in their conclusions." Baker finds that the research presented doesn't match the conclusions. Find the original report from Brookings here.
Poll: Americans' views on public education
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss writes about the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll, which has been conducted for 44 years. "A major annual poll on how Americans view public education shows divisions on vouchers, charter schools, evaluating teachers by standardized test scores of students and whether President Obama or Mitt Romney would be better for public education. Yet Americans largely agree that they trust public school teachers but want them prepared more rigorously." Find more on the poll here, here and here.

Read commentary by Rick Hess:
Public Edu-opinion-palooza: Results from the New PDK/Gallup Survey

A different kind of choice
Economic Policy Institute - Richard Rothstein and Mark Santow
Richard Rothstein and Mark Santow release this report from the Economic Policy Institute on educational inequality and the significance of racial segregation. "Politicians and experts typically refer to schools as 'failing' if they are filled with low-income children with low-test scores. Faced with enormous challenges, such schools may be doing as well as they possibly can, though."
Do We Still Segregate Students?
Pacific Standard - Julie Halpert
Julie Halpert looks into tracking and segregation in schools. "Schools around the nation are ‘detracking’ classes, putting kids of all achievement levels in the same room. Does that sabotage higher achievers?"
Poverty Does Matter - But It Is Not Destiny
Impatient Optimists - Chris Williams, Gates Foundation

In the latest from the "Dialogue with the Gates Foundation" series, Chris Williams from the Gates Foundation responds to Anthony Cody's recent piece on family poverty.  Find it on the Gates Foundation Impatient Optimists blog or on Cody's Living in Dialogue blog for Education Week - Teacher blog.  Chris Williams is the Gates Foundation's Global Press Secretary, Deputy Director External Communications and the communications lead for our education strategy.

School districts explore performance-based pay models
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Erin Richards

Erin Richards looks at new systems being implemented in Wisconsin to explore pay for performance. "Research on whether performance pay translates to higher student performance is mixed - some studies show negligible effects, others suggest it's hard to create incentives for teachers with more money because they're already doing the best they can."

Students With Special Needs Staying In Traditional Public Schools
Huffington Post - Education - Christina Hoag (AP)

Christina Hoag looks into enrollment data in several major cities including Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Los Angeles and finds that as a result of school choice, the percentage of special education students in those districts has risen as school enrollment has declined. "Most charter, parochial and magnet schools serve children with disabilities, but they are often milder disabilities, leaving the brunt of students with significant needs in traditional district schools."

Bill to create statewide teacher evaluation system clears key hurdle
LA Times - Teresa Watanabe and Michael J. Mishak

The LA Times reports on efforts to amend California's statewide teacher evaluation system. The bill would require negotiations with local teacher associations on the use of student data in teacher evaluations.

A new way to evaluate teachers - by teachers
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Guest: Linda Darling-Hammond

Linda Darling-Hammond, who directs the Stanford University Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, writes about teacher evaluation and edTPA, an assessment process designed by educators to answer the essential question: "Is a new teacher ready for the job?" The edTPA is built on the portfolio-based model teachers developed through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Colleges of education are field-testing the assessment. She says, "Unlike other professionals, teachers have historically had little control over the tests by which they are evaluated. This rigorous, authentic measure represents a healthy and responsible professionalization of teacher preparation." The piece originally appeared in

Still Searching for Miracle Schools and Superguy: Updates on Houston and New York City
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker presents charter school data in Houston and New York City. Baker attempts to explain what he categorizes as: "astounding gaps in logic which are so pervasive in the current reform rhetoric which seeks to find policy solutions almost exclusively in charter schools and in changing teacher compensation and dismissal policies."

Dialogue with the Gates Foundation: Can Schools Defeat Poverty by Ignoring It?
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody continues his dialogue with the Gates Foundation. His topic this time is: "Can Schools Defeat Poverty by Ignoring It?" Cody further explores the following questions: "What is the role of education reform in relation to the problem of family poverty? What is the best way to achieve greater equity in educational and life prospects for children of poverty?" All responses in this series have been posted to our Facebook page, for more information click here.

Literacy For Life: The Role Of Career And Technical Education In Reading Proficiency
Shanker Blog - Randall Garton

Randall Garton discusses "college for all" and implications with career and technical education (CTE) in literacy and reading.  Garton further explores the importance of “multiple pathways to success.” Garton is Director of Research and Operations for the Albert Shanker Institute.

Back to school: How to measure a good teacher
Christian Science Monitor - Amanda Paulson, Staff Writer

Amanda Paulson investigates new student achievement evaluations for teachers based on high-stakes standardized test scores. "Done right, say advocates, strong evaluation systems could be a game changer for both teachers and their students, reshaping the profession and pushing teachers to improve."

My View: Rhee is wrong and misinformed
CNN - Schools of Thought Blogs - Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch responds to an inverview from CNN with former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. In her response, Ravitch discusses the importance of improving NAEP test scores, the role of poverty in our schools today, and problems associated with common education reforms such as merit pay. Ravitch concludes: "We can improve our schools. We can improve our society. We must work on both at the same time."

Responding to the Gates Foundation: How do we Consider Evidence of Learning in Teacher Evaluations?
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody
Anthony Cody engages in another dialogue with the Gates foundation regarding teacher evaluations, student data, and high-stakes testing. Find Vicki Philips post on the Measures of Effective Teaching from the Gates Foundation here. You can also find links to all responses in this 5-part conversation on our Facebook Page.
Why teachers quit-and why we can't fire our way to excellence
The Hechinger Report - A Sociological Eye on Education - Aaron M. Pallas
Aaron Pallas looks at two recent reports and explores teacher motivation and effectiveness. Find links to the reports here and here.
Researchers Sound Alarm Over Black Student Suspensions
Education Week - Nirvi Shah and Lesli A. Maxwell
Researchers at the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, based at UCLA used federal data collected from school districts and found that black children with disabilities have a higher rate of suspension. Find more on Discipline Policies, Successful Schools, and Racial Justice in a recent brief funded by the Great Lakes Center here.
Effects of Charter Enrollment on Newark District Enrollment
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker
Bruce Baker takes another look at charter school enrollment in Newark, NJ.
Investing In Children = Supporting Their Families
Shanker Blog - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero discusses the long-term benefits of high-quality early childhood education among other things. The impact of poverty can have lifelong effects on learning and places children living in poverty at a disadvantage to their peers. Her piece includes data on disparities that exist before children enter school. Quintero quotes Dana Goldstein's piece on Universal Pre-K, which is also Worth a Read.

'Deeper Learning' Missing From Schools, Experts Say
NEA Today - Online - Tim Walker

Tim Walker writes about a report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.  “Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century” was released in July. "The report describes the important set of key skills that increase deeper learning, college and career readiness, student-centered learning, and higher order thinking."

When the Obvious Isn't True: What's Really Wrong with Teacher Quality and Teacher Education?
Daily Kos - Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas writes about teacher quality and teacher education. "As with the charter school debate, seeking solutions to teacher quality and teacher education must start with clearly defined problems and conditions or the arguments slip into mere ideological advocacy." Thomas asserts the need to come up with real solutions to real problems.

The Gates Foundation Responds: How do we Build the Teaching Profession
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Guest: Irvin Scott, Gates Foundation

Irvin Scott, Gates Foundation, responds to a piece written by Education Week blogger Anthony Cody. This response discusses the elevation of the teaching profession and a shared vision for education.

Economists: Return Your Salaries for Producing Flawed Studies
Teacher Leaders Network - Center for Teaching Quality - Barnett Berry

Barnett Berry discusses a recent paper by Roland Fryer, and University of Chicago colleagues Steven Levitt, John List, and Sally Sadoff.  A link to the paper is included in the text and was included in a previous Worth a Read by Larry Ferlazzo.

To Earn Classroom Certification, More Teaching and Less Testing
New York Times - Al Baker

Al Baker writes about how New York is changing the way that new teachers are certified. The model for evaluating educators, known as Teacher Performance Assessment, was designed by Stanford University, with input from more than 600 educators, including university professors, across the country. "In New York, the system will be introduced in the fall at all 130 education schools and colleges that award teaching degrees." This comes afterstudents in Massachusetts refused to submit videos to Pearson, the company hired to evaluate the lessons.  Find more here.

Is Algebra Necessary?
New York Times - Opinion - Andrew Hacker

Andrew Hacker discusses the role of math standards and sequences in schools today. "Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent. In the interest of maintaining rigor, we’re actually depleting our pool of brainpower."

Addressing Poverty in Schools
New York Times - Opinion - Joe Nocera, Columnist
Joe Nocera discusses a speech from 2010 by Dr. Pamela Cantor entitled "Innovative Designs for Persistently Low-Performing Schools." Nocera's column discusses the role of poverty in schools, the solutions to fight the effects of poverty, and designing schools to deal better with poverty.
The Value of Teacher Leadership Today - And Tomorrow
Education Week (Teacher Magazine) - Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable
Teacher Magazine's Teaching Ahead blog features a diverse group of participants to share their understandings and experiences around teacher leadership (based on the Teacher Leader Model Standards).
How Do We Measure and Value Effectiveness?
Education Week - Rick Hess's Straight Up - Guest: Maddie Fennell, former Nebraska Teacher of the Year

Maddie Fennell, former Nebraska Teacher of the Year and chair of the National Education Association's Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching, discusses teacher evaluations, measurements, and effectiveness.

Rich kid, poor kid: How mixed neighborhoods could save America's schools
The Hechinger Report - Sarah Garland

Sarah Garland writes about the East Lake neighborhood of Atlanta, successful reformation of the neighborhood, and a recently integrated charter school. "In a former Atlanta slum, low  - and middle-income families now live side by side - and send their children to the same excellent school. Is this surprising model too good to be true?" The story was also published on the website of the Atlantic.

School Of One
TeachForUs - Gary Rubinstein's Blog
Gary Rubinstein discusses the School of One - hailed by TIME magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of 2009 - and the use of technology in math instruction.
Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism in Indiana: The Impact on Student Achievement
Center for Evaluation & Education Policy - Policy Brief - Terry Spradlin, Katherine Cierniak, Dingjing Shi, and Minge Chen

Researchers have found that student attendance serves as an effective predictor of future academic achievement as well as high school graduation.  An analysis of Indiana attendance data indicates a direct link between absenteeism and school achievement. This is based on a recently-released policy brief by Indiana University's Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP).

Dialogue With the Gates Foundation: How Do We Build the Teaching Profession?
Education Week - Living in Dialogue - Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody begins an exchange of ideas with the Gates Foundation.  In his first attempt to engage the mammoth education foundation, Cody attempts to answer the following questions: How can educators create a strong professional culture in our schools? How do we build the teaching profession? The foundation will also respond to these questions.  You can also find information here.

Merit pay and 'loss aversion:' Nonsense studies
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Guest: Larry Ferlazzo

Larry Ferlazzo writes about a working paper by Steven D. Levitt, John A. List, Susanne Neckermann and Sally Sadoff on 'loss aversion.' "The study claims they found that if they gave teachers several thousand dollars at the beginning of the year and told them they’d have to return it if their students didn’t do well on math tests, then students did better on those tests (there was no impact on score improvement for students of teachers in the group that were offered bonuses after the test -- the more typical merit page scheme).  The study only included teachers from nine schools and student scores were also not tracked past one school year."

This Is Your Homework: Berliner on Education and Inequality
Diane Ravitch's Blog - David Berliner "Sorting out the effects of inequality and poverty, teachers and schooling, on America’s youth"

Diane Ravitch shares a preview of a paper by David Berliner.  Berliner's paper explains the effects of poverty on young children, and how money spent on high-stakes testing for our children could be much better spent fighting the effects of poverty. Berliner's work will be a part of S.L. Nichols' book: Educational Policy and the Socialization of Youth for the 21st Century. New York: Teachers College Press. *Read the comments on Ravitch's blog and her follow up.

Do you REALLY think online charter schools are the answer?
Daily Kos - Kenneth Bernstein (@Teacherken)

Teacher Ken Bernstein (@Teacherken) takes a closer l