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Worth A Read

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

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Opinion: Public Schools and the Push to Privatize Everything
Sam Osherson

"There is now a well-established network of conservative think tanks across the country such as ALEC – the American Legislative Exchange Council – that supplies local right-wing legislators with boilerplate bills that they can introduce into their state houses. In addition, many national conservative organizations, such as Americans for Prosperity, send operatives to states to lobby for bills that support their agendas."

"In response to the excesses of the privatization movement, a pro public service movement has begun. This year voters in one Colorado district tossed out all four Koch-backed members of their local school board. And Michigan is working hard to dig itself out of the dysfunctional educational landscape that Betsy DeVos helped to create there."

News article: Charter Board vote allows Eddie Farnsworth, AZ school operator and lawmaker, to make millions
Craig Harris
East Valley charter-school owner and state lawmaker Eddie Farnsworth is poised for a payday of up to $30 million after the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools approved the transfer of his for-profit charter-school chain to a newly formed non-profit company on Monday. That move will allow Farnsworth, a longtime Republican state representative, to sell the campuses - paid for with state tax dollars - to the non-profit company for between $11.8 million and $29.9 million, according to Charter Board records. "They just gave a charter to a non-profit, but they didn't vet them," said McHood, a charter school critic whose relatives attended Farnsworth's schools. "Here we are paying for his private property with our tax dollars, and then he can sell them."
The teacher pay penalty has hit a new high
Sylvia Allegretto and Lawrence Mishel
A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found the teacher pay gap--the difference between private and public sector pay for individuals with the same levels of experience and education--has increased to an all-time high. According to EPI, the trend "reflects state policy decisions (mainly tax cuts) rather than . . . revenue challenges brought on by the Great Recession.” 
The report includes state level comparisons in addition to national trend data.   
The report concludes: "If the policy goal is to improve the quality of the entire teaching workforce, then raising the level of teacher compensation, including wages, is critical to recruiting and retaining higher-quality teachers. Policies that solely focus on changing the composition of current compensation (e.g., merit or pay-for-performance schemes) without actually increasing compensation levels are unlikely to be effective."
Learning From What Doesn't Work in Teacher Evaluation
Kevin Close and Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

The authors combed through legal documents to identify the strongest objections to the use of value added (VAM) as a teacher measurement and accountability strategy. The lessons to be learned from these cases are important and timely given that under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), local education leaders once again have authority to decide for themselves how to assess teachers’ work.

The report found that year-to-year inconsistencies in teacher scores, bias in VAM-based estimates, gaming, and lack of transparency about how the scores are calculated continue to affect evaluations and were considered credible issues by the courts. The authors include positive changes that states are making under ESSA to help inform better practice.

Breaking Point: The Cost of Charter Schools for Public School Districts
In the Public Interest - Gordon Lafer

Gordon Lafer looks at how charter schools impact California school district finances. "Reasonable people may disagree about education policy. What reasonable people should not do, however, is pretend that unregulated charter school expansion comes at no cost… In each of these three districts, we calculated the fiscal impact of charter schools by comparing districts’ current budgets with a hypothetical alternative in which all students remained enrolled in traditional public schools—including those currently enrolled in charters."

Opinion | Michigan term limits sounded good, but they've failed
Bridge Magazine - Guest Commentary - Eric Lupher

Eric Lupher discusses a new study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan on the impact of term limits. “Legislating before term limits allowed legislators to bank political capital that could be cashed in when difficult votes were needed. Michigan’s brand of term limits ended the ability of legislators to amass political capital. Legislators’ preference for electioneering saps their support for policies that lack immediate political appeal.”

The Journey: Two Early Career Educators and Those Who Helped Their Practice
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez writes about two early career educators who took different paths to the teaching professions. One through a traditional route, and the other through an alternative program. “Together, Kincannon and Puracken are proof of how support can keep new teachers in the classroom, and empower them to make a lasting difference in students’ lives.”

Study: Virtual Schools Growing in MI Despite Poor Outcomes
WKAR - Michigan Public Radio - Kevin Lavery

Kevin Lavery reviews two new studies on virtual schools, with a focus on virtual school growth in Michigan. “The concept of ‘going to school’ usually involves hundreds of students congregating under the same roof, studying just feet away from each other. These days, a growing number of students are trying an alternative: virtual classes.  Online education has found fertile political soil in Michigan. However, new research suggests virtual schools run virtually unchecked, while delivering poor results.”

Are teachers losing their grip on the middle class?
The Hechinger Report - E. Tammy Kim

E. Tammy Kim explores teachers, teaching, and teacher salaries. “In recent years, educators have been blamed by politicians and parents for an array of social problems, from bankrupt municipal pensions to low graduation rates in poor neighborhoods. Standardized testing has constrained teacher autonomy and creativity, and charter and private schools have competed more aggressively for government funds. The strikes are thus partly about reclaiming a sense of professional pride and middle-class stature.”

The case of teacher evaluation: Who do state policy makers listen to?
Phi Delta Kappan - Rachel S. White

Rachel White shares the results of a study on education policymaking at the state level. “The results of this study suggest that school leaders can have a profound effect on teacher evaluation policy… With the passage of ESSA and initial efforts under the Trump administration to shift education policy making back to the states, state education policy makers will have an opportunity to reshape teacher evaluation, if they so choose. Those who care about their state’s teacher evaluation policy need to understand whose voices policy makers value.”

Opinion | It's time for Michigan to invest in our kids
Bridge Magazine - Denise Smith

Denise Smith writes about the impact of school funding on early childhood education. “We must update the way we pay providers, those building the brains of our youngest. Michigan’s system for compensating early childhood providers is antiquated, the lowest reimbursement rate in the Midwest, and well below the federal benchmark. This makes it impossible to recruit and retain the talent we need and make childcare affordable to families. We must spend more money, and what we do spend, we must spend more efficiently.”

Charter school growth puts fiscal pressure on traditional public schools
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Helen F. Ladd and John Singleton

Hellen Ladd and John Singleton summarize a recent paper that draws attention to the fiscal implications of charter school finance in North Carolina. The paper has implications for other states. “The short-run fiscal externalities documented here for North Carolina as well as the ongoing challenges of duplication and planning are likely to arise in all states. Their magnitudes and overall impacts on local education budgets and education quality are likely to differ across states depending on how well states fund charters relative to traditional public schools and how much of the funding comes from local revenue sources. We encourage charter school authorizers to examine the fiscal externalities imposed on traditional public schools in their areas to manage the growth of the charter sector more efficiently.”

Making People's History in Arizona: Educators Rise Up
Rethinking Schools - Blog - Sarah Giddings

Sarah Giddings writes about teaching in Arizona, her experience marching at the Capitol, and the power of educator-led grassroots movements. “As I marched the two-mile walk on that sweltering hot day alongside the 60,000 other individuals, composed of educators, parents, children, grandparents, and Arizona citizens, I realized I was not among strangers, I was part of the change, I was part of the movement.”

Key Takeaways and Emerging Issues From the Feds' Massive Civil Rights Data Survey
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares findings from the 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). “The data show students with disabilities continue to be disproportionately likely to be suspended out of school, expelled, and arrested at school than other students, and they are also at greater risk of being bullied, not just based on disability but sex and race, too.”

Illinois House approves plan to replace armed officers in schools with mental health professionals
The Hill - Avery Anapol

Avery Anapol discusses a plan to replace armed police officers in schools with unarmed mental health professionals in Illinois. “The Illinois measure comes amid renewed calls for increased security in public schools after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in February. GOP lawmakers have proposed adding more armed officers to schools, despite a review finding that the armed officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did not enter the school during the shooting.”

Colorado Educators Show Up in Force to Rally for K12 Funding
NEA Today - Mary Ellen Flannery

Mary Ellen Flannery writes about school funding rallies in Colorado. “The math in Colorado is easy to understand. Public schools are currently underfunded by $822 million, and per-student funding is $2,700 below the national average. What this adds up to is: larger class sizes, four-day school weeks, cuts to critical academic programs, thousands of unfilled teaching and support jobs, and a deficit of learning opportunities for students.”

Once at rock bottom, this Northern Michigan elementary now produces stars
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French looks at improving reading skills at Kenwood Elementary School in Cadillac, Michigan. "The reforms at Kenwood have been so successful they’ve been expanded to other elementary schools in Cadillac, with Brown [Principal] squeezing dollars from the district’s budget to pay for more literacy coaches."

Changing assessment in Ontario - key recommendations for transformation
People for Education - Annie Kidder

The People for Education (Ontario) reviewed a new report from the Premier's education advisors that called for eliminating testing for students in grade 3 (EQAO). "People for Education's analysis of the report has identified many benefits, but also includes some cautions to be aware of as these changes are implemented."

How Many Students Are Chronically Absent in Your State? Federal Data Show Rates Rising
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks reviews recent federal data showing 8 million students were reported as chronically absent from school in 2015-16. "Chronic absenteeism has been associated with a slew of problems, including lower reading achievement and engagement in school, and ultimately a higher risk of dropping out. And the most vulnerable students in a district—homeless and foster students, those in poverty, and those with chronic medical conditions like asthma—are also the students most likely to miss school repeatedly."

Arizona Teachers Poised for Largest Walkout in Nation
NEA Today - Mary Ellen Flannery

Mary Ellen Flannery discusses possible teacher walkouts across Arizona. "In what may be the largest educator walkout in history, these educators will join tens of thousands of teachers and educational support professionals (ESPs) across all of Arizona in walking out of their neglected classrooms. Led and supported by the Arizona Education Association (AEA) and Arizona Educators United (AEU) through its #RedforEd movement, Arizona educators are bringing their demands for adequate educational funding directly to state lawmakers in Phoenix, where they will be joined by NEA President Lily Eskelsen García."

New Civil Rights Data Collection Shows Students of Color Are Being Systematically Pushed Out
The Education Trust - Ary Amerikaner and Ivy Morgan

Ary Amerikaner and Ivy Morgan react to new data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). “When we allocate resources inequitably — when Black and Latino students are twice as likely to be excluded from class, and from school — it shouldn’t be shocking that last month’s NAEP data show that achievement gaps persist. What else would you expect? Opportunity gaps lead to achievement gaps, and this CRDC data clearly shows that students of color are not being given opportunities that their White peers have.”

School Media Specialists Critical for Resolving Reading Crisis
The Education Trust-Midwest - Kathy Lester

Kathy Lester, a library media specialist in the Plymouth-Canton Community School District (Michigan), discusses the importance of library media specialists in schools. "To become a top 10 state for education, Michigan needs strong, effective school library programs led by certified school library media specialists; these professionals develop a culture of reading, support third grade reading efforts, and have a positive impact on student achievement. In addition, school library media specialists help lead technology initiatives in their schools and help develop students who are college- and career-ready by teaching information literacy skills to all students."

How our education system undermines gender equity: And why culture change-not policy-may be the solution
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Joseph Cimpian

Joseph Cimpian discusses achievement and opportunity gaps, with a focus on gender equity in school. “The obstacles that women face are largely societal and cultural. They act against women from the time they enter kindergarten—instilling in very young girls a belief they are less innately talented than their male peers—and persist into their work lives. Educational institutions—with undoubtedly many well-intentioned educators—are themselves complicit in reinforcing the hurdles. In order to dismantle these barriers, we likely need educators at all levels of education to examine their own biases and stereotypes.”

Growing Disparities in Enrollment, Investments, and Quality: 2002-2017
National Institute for Early Education Research - Allison Friedman-Krauss, W. Steven Barnett, G.G. Weisenfeld, Richard Kasmin, Nicole DiCrecchio, Michelle Horowitz

Allison Friedman-Krauss, W. Steven Barnett, G.G. Weisenfeld, Richard Kasmin, Nicole DiCrecchio, Michelle Horowitz authored a new national report on preschool programs across the U.S. “‘The State of Preschool 2017’ annual report, based on 2016-17 academic year data, finds states heeding the demand for pre-K and expanding access to publicly funded programs in a variety of settings. But instead of supporting quality early learning with adequate resources, most state programs invest too little to help children catch up with their more advantaged peers by kindergarten.”

LGBTQ students face discrimination while Education Department walks back oversight
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Logan Casey and Elizabeth Mann Levesque

Logan Casey and Elizabeth Mann Levesque discuss concerns about the Department of Education's current approach toward enforcement of LGBTQ discrimination in schools. "Overall, these survey results show that LGBTQ people perceive and experience anti-LGBTQ discrimination in both K-12 and higher education settings. The Department of Education should treat this problem seriously, given its mission to 'strengthen the Federal commitment to assuring access to equal educational opportunity for every individual.' By backing away from its role and mission, even when it is clear that LGBTQ students need the federal government to protect their rights, the Department of Education is taking steps in the wrong direction."

Career and Technical Education Programs in Public School Districts: 2016-17
NCES - IES - Lucinda Gray and Laurie Lewis

Lucinda Gray and Laurie Lewis compiled a report on Career and Technical Education Programs in U.S. school districts. “The survey defines a CTE program as a sequence of courses at the high school level that provides students with the academic and technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging professions. During the 2016–17 school year, 98 percent of public school districts offered CTE programs to students at the high school level. Nationwide, 10 percent of districts reported that students in their enrollment area have the option of enrolling in a CTE district that provides only CTE programs instead of enrolling in their home district.”

We Can't Graph Our Way Out Of The Research On Education Spending
Shanker Institute - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthiew Di Carlo discusses the misuse of ‘The Graph,’ which attempts to compare per pupil spending against NAEP average test scores. “Call me crazy, but I, like many people, expect a certain level of intellectual rigor and honesty from an institution such as USED. Yes, I know it’s a department run by political appointees, and this is hardly the first time USED has been a little fast and loose with the evidence. I don’t expect long literature reviews and cautious conclusions that end up not taking a concrete policy stance, or Twitter posts accompanied by tables full of coefficients from statistical models. I do, however, expect more than ‘The Graph.’”

50-State Comparison: Instructional Time Policies
Education Commission of the States - Sarah Pompelia

Sarah Pompelia compiled an overview of state instructional time requirements for K-12 across the country for the Education Commission of the States. “Key Takeaways: Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia require at least 180 days of instruction; Twelve states place parameters around school start and/or finish dates; Thirty-five states differentiate the hours in a day or year, or the days in a year based on grade levels.”

Who's really driving student outcomes?
Phi Delta Kappan - Anthony R. Meals

Anthony R. Meals shares the important role that education support professionals (ESP) play in supporting students in schools. “School buses are more than just modes of transportation, and drivers offer more than a safe passage to and from school. Research suggests that simply by greeting students at the classroom door, teachers can have positive effects on their attention throughout a lesson (Allan Allday & Pakurar, 2007). Similarly, our bus drivers are the first to greet students as they head to school, and that morning interaction can set the tone for their day. An unpleasant exchange can put students on edge before they even arrive on campus; a positive one can give them a boost.”

50-State Comparison: State Summative Assessments
Education Commission of the States - Jill Mullen & Julie Rowland Woods

Jill Mullen and Julie Rowland Woods have compiled a 50-state comparison of state summative assessments after ESSA implementation. “This information was collected from state department of education websites and through contact with state department staff, and therefore may not reflect what is required in state statute or regulation. State assessment systems vary widely, and the information below may not fully capture the unique qualities of each system.”

Educators Push Teacher Pay Penalty Into National Spotlight
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker discusses teacher walkouts and the teacher pay penalty. “According to a new EPI analysis by Sylvia Allegretto, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, teacher pay (adjusted for inflation) fell by $30 per week from 1996 to 2015, while pay for other college graduates increased by $124. Even when accounting for benefits, the teacher compensation gap widened by 9 percent, to 11.1 percent over that same time frame.”

The 2017 NAEP Results: Nothing To See Here?
Education Next - Morgan S. Polikoff

Morgan Polikoff writes about the recent release of the 2017 NAEP results. “Overall, while this year’s results are not the sexiest, the NAEP data offer an important barometer. I conclude that educational progress is real, but stalled, and that we may need new and sustained policy efforts to resume the gains we saw in the 1990s and 2000s.”

School nurses: An investment in student achievement
Phi Delta Kappan - Erin D. Maughan

Erin Maughan looks at the important role school nurses across the country play in schools. “Regardless of how nursing positions are funded, they provide a strong return on investment, especially in the areas of immunizations, mental health services, and the treatment of chronic conditions.”

On nation's report card, Michigan students remain in back of class
Bridge Magazine - Ron French & Mike Wilkinson

Ron French and Mike Wilkinson discuss the release of the 2017 NAEP results and implications for Michigan. “According to NAEP results ‒ from tests given to a sample of students in every state in 2017 ‒ Michigan ranks 35th in fourth-grade reading skills. That’s up from 41st in 2015, but still notably lower than the 28th the state was ranked in 2003, the first year Michigan participated in the test. Michigan also saw a small improvement in state rankings in fourth-grade math (38th, from 42nd), eighth-grade math (33rd, from 34th) and eighth-grade reading (30th, from 31st).”

Universal preschool is most cost-effective, study finds
Hechinger Report - Lillian Mongeau

A new study finds that universal preschool programs have a significant positive effect on reading scores that targeted programs do not. “The new research contradicts the current strategy in most states of targeting public preschool only to low-income kids. That approach is based on the results of many earlier studies that have found attending preschool helps kids from disadvantaged backgrounds start kindergarten on a stronger academic footing. The benefits for higher income children are less pronounced. That is why most states and the federal government choose to spend taxpayer dollars on ‘targeted’ preschool programs open only to low-income families.”

A Better Way to Compare State Performance on NAEP
Education Next - Matthew M. Chingos and Kristin Blagg

Matthew Chingos and Kristin Blagg share a new NAEP interactive that adjusts the performance of states’ performance based on demographics. “Our adjustment is not perfect. In particular, socioeconomic data based on free- and reduced-price lunch status are weak and getting worse. And while demographically-adjusted data allow for fairer comparisons across states, they still do not reveal why some states perform much better than others. Despite some drawbacks, demographically-adjusted data provide important insights into differences in state-level school performance, and show that there are substantial differences across states, even after adjusting for demographics.”

How Can We Build Community Labor Partnerships for Strong Schools?
Schott Foundation - John H. Jackson

John Jackson shares the results of a new report on community-labor partnerships. The report utilizes case study examples from St. Paul, MN and Austin, TX. “This report is designed to support community and labor groups that are ready and willing to engage in meaningful relationship building and collaboration to work together to address systemic and policy issues that have contributed to the achievement gap, especially for youth of color.”

Evidence-Based Learning Opportunities Help Both Teachers and Students
New Teacher Center - Liam Goldrick

Liam Goldrick discusses coaching and mentoring programs for teachers. “More work is required to expand the collection of evidence-based models that help teachers learn and improve on the job. We fundamentally believe in funding what works, not what doesn’t. But we oppose the elimination of public funding for educator learning… The promise of educator development is tremendous but, as yet, unfulfilled. As an educational community, we must work harder to ensure that every teacher has the chance to thrive professionally and that every student receives quality teaching no matter their school or classroom.”

Michigan schoolchildren facing high rates of homelessness
The University Record - Kristen Kerecman

Kristen Kerecman shares data from a recently released analysis of educational outcomes experienced by homeless students. “To complement the data, U-M also released a student homelessness map to illustrate how many children in the state's school districts experience homelessness and housing instability. Poverty Solutions — a U-M initiative dedicated to the prevention and alleviation of poverty — developed the map to help policymakers and local stakeholders think about the impact of homelessness in their area and to identify resources to support some of the state's most vulnerable children. The map focuses on the percentage and number of students experiencing homelessness in each school district and the percentage of low-income students experiencing homelessness, where data is available.”

School-Choice Supporters Should Drop the Overheated Rhetoric
The National Review - Fredrick M. Hess & Sofia Gallo

Rick Hess and Sofia Gallo discuss school choice policies, public opinion, and the rhetoric used by school choice advocates. “Much of the bold rhetoric employed on behalf of contemporary school choice may do more to alienate than to attract supporters. Talk of failing schools, Uber-style disruption, and market competition is off-putting to parents and voters who support choice in principle, but also like their local schools, are skeptical of educational disruption, and don’t want to see children shuttled about like freight. And we’ve seen plenty of first-hand evidence that the more aggressive talking points can drown out arguments better calibrated to connect with those parents and voters who have a soft spot for both school choice and their local schools.”

Discipline Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with Disabilities
U.S. Government Accountability Office - Jacqueline M. Nowicki

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed discipline disparities in schools. “This report examines (1) patterns in disciplinary actions among public schools, (2) challenges selected school districts reported with student behavior and how they are approaching school discipline, and (3) actions Education and Justice have taken to identify and address disparities or discrimination in school discipline.” 

The Larger Concerns Behind the Teachers' Strikes
The Atlantic - Alia Wong

Alia Wong looks at teacher pay and growing concerns from teachers in Oklahoma and other states. “But the teachers’ complaints go far beyond compensation, and when viewed in the context of their other demands, it’s clear that the strike gets at the heart of some of the biggest issues facing America’s children: access to effective teachers, high-quality learning materials, and modern facilities.”

ESSA Progress Report: How the New Law Is Moving From Policy to Practice
Education Week - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein shares recent findings from a special report on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) from Education Week. “The Every Student Succeeds Act becomes a working reality in district central offices and schools this fall. But it's unclear if the law, which passed in a haze of rare bipartisanship more than two years ago, will live up to its promise… But already, clashes are occurring at the state and federal levels over the right balance between those two priorities, on issues such as calculating school grades.”

As teachers across the country demand higher pay, here's how much salaries have stalled - and why it matters for kids
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum discusses recent trends in teacher salaries, teacher strikes, and planned walkouts. “Nationally, teacher salary has been stagnant for decades and has been falling behind that of other professionals… The average American public school teacher earned $58,950 in the 2016–17 school year, according to federal statistics. Adjusting for inflation, that’s about $1,000 less than in 1989 and $3,000 less than in 2009.”

Oklahoma And Kentucky Teachers Go On Strike, Demanding More Education Funding
NPR - All Things Considered - Emily Wendler

Emily Wendler shares the transcript of a recent broadcast of 'All Things Considered' from NPR. “Thousands of Oklahoma teachers did not go to school Monday. Instead they are protesting at the state capitol. They've walked off the job to draw attention to funding and salary shortfalls… Teachers are protesting in the state capitals of Oklahoma and Kentucky, as heard here.”

Principals: More of Your Students Might Be Abused or Neglected Than You Think
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks digs into a new report from researchers at the University of Michigan about the impact of trauma on 3rd grade test scores. “While the study looked only at Michigan, it is in line with other studies that suggest about 20 percent of children experience this sort of trauma. And as the Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to track the educational progress of vulnerable students like those in foster care, more states may begin to look at the rates of abused children in their own districts.”

In Their Own Words: Teachers Share the Personal Cost of Low Pay
Education Week - Teaching Now - Madeline Will

Madeline Will shares the personal stories of several Oklahoma teachers struggling to make ends meet on their low salaries. “Of course, teachers in Oklahoma are not the only ones frustrated with their compensation. We are gathering stories from teachers around the country, many of whom say they feel buoyed by the successful strike in West Virginia, where teachers received a 5 percent pay raise. You can share your own experiences and thoughts about teacher pay with the hashtag #HowTeachersGetBy.”

How much would it cost to get all students up to average?
The Hechinger Report - Jill Barshay

Jill Barshay summarizes a new report from the Education Law Center that can predict how much money it would cost each school district in the U.S. to reach average test scores in math and reading. “According to Baker and his colleagues, it can cost anywhere between roughly $5,000 and $30,000 a year per student in order to hit average test scores. Two factors mainly determine where a district lies along that range: location and mix of students.  Some school districts bear higher costs because they’re located in expensive regions where salaries, including those of teachers, are high. Population density matters too. The costs of educating poor children escalate faster in urban areas, the researchers found.”

In Washington, Trauma Feeds the School-To-Prison Pipeline, Particularly for Girls
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks summarizes a new report on discipline disproportionality from Georgetown’s Juvenile Justice Initiative and the group Rights for Girls. “The report comes as Congress debates an update of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the main federal law governing incarcerated children, which is more than a decade overdue for reauthorization. Advocates have argued for more trauma-informed care and better coordination with schools in the next iteration of the law.”

How life outside of a school affects student performance in school
Brookings - Economic Report - Brian A. Jacob and Joseph Ryan

Brian Jacob and Joseph Ryan (both from the University of Michigan) share the results of a recently released study on the impact of trauma on school children in Michigan. “We find that roughly 18 percent of third-grade students have been subject to at least one formal investigation for child maltreatment. In some schools, more than fifty percent of third graders have experienced an investigation for maltreatment. These estimates indicate that child abuse and neglect cannot simply be treated like a secondary issue, but must be a central concern of school personnel.”

In Cities With Lots of School Choice, Black Students Have Longer Commutes
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the results of a recent study from the Urban Institute on travel times for students in school choice cities. “Perhaps the last major takeaway one can glean from this research is that each city's experience is unique and that national generalizations about how school choice effects student commute times and access may not be as helpful to local policymakers as localized research.”

We read 12 reports on fixing Michigan schools. Here are 4 things we learned
Bridge Magazine - Ron French

Ron French summarizes multiple reports that have been issued on the future of Michigan’s schools. “But for all the reports and recommendations, those leaders invested in fixing our schools complain that no dramatic change has taken place.”

When trauma hinders learning
Phi Delta Kappan - Donald A. Barr

Donald Barr writes about the impact of trauma on students. “Children raised in highly stressful home or social circumstances are prone to delays in the normal development of executive function. It is essential that kindergarten teachers and other early childhood educators understand and appreciate that these delays can result in disruptive classroom behavior that does not reflect conscious, willful disobedience on the part of the child.”

Policy Snapshot: Teacher Evaluations
Education Commission of the States - Stephanie Aragon

Stephanie Aragon authored three recent policy summaries for the Education Commission of the States (ECS): on teacher evaluations, targeted teacher recruitment, and teacher development and advancement. “This Policy Snapshot explores recent legislation related to teacher evaluations, including trends and the use of student growth.”

Can money attract more minorities into the teaching profession?
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Michael Hansen, Diana Quintero, and Li Feng

Michael Hansen, Diana Quintero, and Li Feng write about diversifying and incentivizing the teaching profession. “What we find is that offering relocation assistance appears to be the strongest predictor of a more diverse teacher workforce, followed closely by loan forgiveness, bonuses for excellence in teaching, and teaching in less desirable locations. These four types of financial incentives are associated with increases of 2 to 4 percentage points in a school’s minority representation among teachers, which is quite large. For reference, the average school in the sample reports that 16 percent of their teachers are minorities.”

Analysis: How Will a Janus Ruling Impact Teachers and Unions in Each State? Data & Interactive Maps Tell the Story
The 74 - Kate Walsh and Kency Nittler

Kate Walsh and Kency Nittler (National Council on Teacher Quality) write about the implications of the ‘Janus v. AFSCME’ case before the Supreme Court. “Although the total financial impact of such a decision on teachers unions is difficult to predict, the most likely scenario is slow but steady erosion in union members, not a steep, immediate fall.”

Most Schools Funded Far Below What's Needed to Achieve Average Outcomes
Education Law Center - Bruce D. Baker, Mark Weber, Ajay Srikanth, Robert Kim, & Michael Atzbi

Bruce D. Baker, Mark Weber, Ajay Srikanth, Robert Kim, and Michael Atzbi authored a new brief on the interstate variation of the costs associated with achieving common outcome goals - the first of its kind to examine the relationship between school funding, student achievement, and poverty levels across all states and the District of Columbia in the United States. “The report [also] debunks the common misconception of a nationwide ‘failure’ in U.S. public education based on international outcome comparisons. When viewed from a state-by-state or district-by-district lens, there is wide variation in spending and student achievement outcomes, with strong performance in a few high-investment states and in low-poverty districts — even those in under-performing states — that rivals that of other high-performing nations.”

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys
New York Times - The Upshot - Emily Badger, Clair Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Quealy

Emily Badger, Clair Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Quealy analyze recent research from a team of economists looking at income inequality in the United States. “Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children. White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households.”

New Federal Tax Code Will Make It Harder to Fairly Fund Schools, As New York Is Figuring Out
Education Law Prof Blog - Derek Black

Derek Black discusses the impact of the new federal tax law on state funded public education. “When federal law caps the deduction for state and local taxes, what it is really doing is creating a disincentive to fully fund educational needs.  New Jersey, for instance, does not collect high tax revenues just so that it can buy newer and fancier police cars. New Jersey collects more tax dollars because the cost of education is higher there than most anywhere else in the nation. When people in New Jersey lose their federal deduction for state and local taxes, it will, as a practical matter, cost them more to fund education next year than it did last year. It will cost more because they will pay federal taxes on their state taxes.”

Infrastructure and Education Crumbling: Michigan needs Bold Leadership
Dome Magazine - Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins writes about globalization, education, automation, and jobs for Michiganders. “With advances in automation and artificial intelligence that promises to bring about even greater disruption of traditional ways for most successful Michiganders, expect a massive change tsunami coming.  A leader to manage this change must lay out a shared vision along with a pledge to form a common agenda that makes Michigan work for average families who live, love and work in the two beautiful Michigan peninsulas we call home.”

The Truth About Charter Schools
Shondaland - Florina Rodov

Florina Rodov discusses her time teaching in both traditional and charter schools. “But I soon realized there was a gulf between charter school hype and reality. Every day brought shocking and disturbing revelations: high attrition rates of students and teachers, dangerous working conditions, widespread suspensions, harassment of teachers, violations against students with disabilities, nepotism, and fraud. By the end of the school year, I vowed never to step foot in a charter school again, and to fight for the protection of public schools like never before.”

Teacher pay is falling. Their health insurance costs are rising
03/16/2018 - Alvin Chang

Alvin Chang reveals that despite stagnate pay for teachers across most of the U.S., teachers are now paying more for their health care. “In fact, compared to 10 years ago, teachers are on average contributing nearly $1,500 more per year toward premiums, adjusted for inflation. It ends up costing teachers significantly more than other state and local government employees.”

Were Teacher Evaluation Reforms a Net Positive or Net Negative?
Education Week - Straight Up - Matthew Kraft

Matthew Kraft discusses the challenges of teacher evaluation reform. “On the whole, evaluation reforms have fallen far short of reformers' ambitious goals and promises. The evaluation process has hardly become an engine of professional development in most districts; few schools recognize, yet alone dismiss, low-performing teachers, while teachers identified as high-performing are lucky to receive a small merit pay bonus, if any recognition at all. But this is not the question on the table.”

Don't swap state tests like Smarter Balanced for SAT or ACT, report cautions
EdSource - John Fensterwald

John Fensterwald reports on a new paper from Achieve that advocated against using ACT or SAT tests for state accountability. “Some policy makers and parents may be drawn to the idea of eliminating their state tests for a shorter college admissions test, which many students must take anyway in an already test-filled junior year. But Achieve called this choice ‘an attractive but risky option.’”

What Happened To Teacher Quality?
Shanker Institute - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses the issue of improving teacher quality. “In short, as we all remember, the promise was that new evaluations, particularly those tied in part to test-based teacher productivity measures, and subsequently linked to personnel decisions (e.g., pay, tenure, dismissal) would generate quick (and large) improvements in testing outcomes for students. These quick and large improvements have not materialized.”

We read new reports on the state of school funding in America so you don't have to. Here's what we learned
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum looks at education funding and several new school finance reports published in 2018. “What stands out is that while poor students don’t necessarily get less money than their affluent peers, they usually don’t get the extra money that funding advocates say is necessary for addressing additional needs.”

Balancing the growth of NJ's charter schools and public education
Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy - Rutgers University - Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber

Julia Sass Rubin and Mark Weber published a policy brief on the growth of New Jersey charter schools. They found: “New Jersey charter schools have grown significantly in enrollment, number of sending districts, and financial impact,” and “Despite this growth,…that New Jersey charter schools continue to enroll a fundamentally different student population than the districts where their students reside.”

Teacher shortage reality: Numbers & names
Center for Teaching Quality - Jon Eckert

Jon Eckert digs into the data (numbers, names, and answers) on teacher shortages. “The fact that teacher shortages do not impact everyone equally means that they disproportionately impact some. Teacher shortages are indicative of major fault lines in our country – fault lines that typically run along lines of inequity and problematic perceptions of the teaching profession.”

Average Michigan teacher salary rises for first time in 5 years
MLive - Julie Mack

Julie Mack reports on the average teacher salary in Michigan. “The average salary for a Michigan public school teacher was $62,280 in 2016-17, the first time in five years that the average has increased, according to the Michigan Department of Education. But the average is still almost $750 below the peak in 2009-10, when teacher salaries averaged $63,024.” Other findings in her story include: (1) Michigan teachers are still above national average; (2) Detroit teachers rank 83rd in average salary; (3) the state report does not include average pay for most charter schools; (4) the number of teachers has dropped for fourth consecutive year; (5) 83% of Michigan teachers work for traditional school districts; and (6) charter schools in Michigan have lower salaries, based on schools that report.

How Do Principals Influence Student Achievement?
University of Chicago Consortium on School Research - Elaine M. Allensworth and Holly Hart

Elaine Allensworth and Holly Hart investigate the important role that principals play in school and student success.”Schools with the highest learning gains had principals who promoted a strong school climate by empowering and coordinating the work of teachers and school staff around shared goals. Improvements in school climate set up all teachers and students to be successful.”

How Did ESSA's 'Non-Academic' Indicator Get So Academic?
FutureEd - Phyllis W. Jordan and Paige Marley

Phyllis Jordan and Paige Marley discuss what states are doing to comply with ‘school quality and success’ indicators required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “In the end, three-fourths of the states chose to include chronic absenteeism in their fifth indicators, providing a window into student engagement and other aspects of school culture that along with social emotional learning contribute to student success. But many of them simultaneously adopted a distinctly academic measure of school performance in their fifth indicators: college and career readiness. And often the readiness metrics are given much more weight than chronic absenteeism, a new FutureEd analysis shows.”

A University-Run School District?
Inside Higher Ed - Rick Seltzer

Rick Seltzer writes about legislation in Indiana that would turn over the Muncie Community Schools to Ball State University. “The proposal remains rife with risks. Area politicians have howled about the pending loss of voter control over Muncie schools. Teachers’ unions objected because Ball State would not be required to recognize collective bargaining, and the university could face conflicts of interest related to its newfound taxing power. The idea of a university controlling its local public school district is also nearly untested. One point of comparison might come from the private Boston University, which ran Chelsea Public Schools for 20 years ending in 2008. The partnership ended with mixed results. Only one thing can be said for certain: Ball State is about to test the limits of optimism about higher education’s power and role in society.”

When 'Big Data' Goes to School
03/07/2018 - Alfie Kohn

Alfie Kohn writes on his blog about our obsession with big data and the various arguments surrounding data-driven instruction in school. “When educators reduce students to data, they miss an awful lot. When they rely on big data, they may be making things even worse.”

Bus proposal for Detroit schools, charters would be an unprecedented partnership
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins discusses a preliminary idea floated by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to share busing services among both charter and public schools in the city. “Detroit Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the proposal — unveiled Tuesday by Mayor Mike Duggan in his State of the City address — is ‘the right strategy’ to help bring students back to school in Detroit. City officials say they've received support from all 11 schools that would be part of the bus loop.”

Indiana's new ILEARN test is expected to be shorter than ISTEP
Chalkbeat - Shaina Cavazos

Shaina Cavazos writes about Indiana’s new standardized test: ILEARN. “Frustrations over testing time came to a head for educators and parents in 2015, when ISTEP was projected to reach 12 hours. Then-Gov. Mike Pence issued an executive order to have lawmakers shorten it, and the test was quickly cut down before students took it.”

NCES Releases New Report Examining Teachers' Perceptions of Autonomy, Satisfaction, Job Security, and Commitment
NCES - Catharine Warner-Griffin, Brittany C. Cunningham, & Amber Noel

Catharine Warner-Griffin, Brittany C. Cunningham, & Amber Noel provide a statistical brief for the 1999-2000 and 2011-12 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) Public School Teacher Questionnaire. "The report focuses on the patterns between the perceived level of autonomy and perceptions of job security, satisfaction, and commitment… The percentage of teachers who reported strongly agreeing or somewhat agreeing they worry about job security as a result of student performance was higher in 2011–12 relative to 1999–2000.”

It's Time to Try the Opposite of Standardized Testing
Gallup - Brandon Busteed

Brandon Busteed discusses reforming education through strengths-based approach instead of our current practice: standardized testing. “It's time to usher in an era of strengths-based testing in America's schools and to build an ecosystem that supports and encourages strengths-based development. Standardized tests can and will play an important role in our education system, but we've put far too much emphasis on them and need to find a healthier balance with other scaffolding and stimuli for students to succeed. It's time to shift from what's wrong to what's strong.”

Private group's report on possible takeover of JCPS leaves out key details
Louisville Courier Journal - Mandy McLaren

Mandy McLaren reports on a private steering committee’s agenda to overhaul public school governance in Jefferson County, Kentucky. “A report funded by a private group about the future of Jefferson County Public Schools fails to give a full picture of what an overhaul of the district might look like… But a Courier Journal analysis found that, among other things, the report glosses over community resistance, teacher fallout and persistent achievement gaps in the school districts.”

Teacher Shortages and Surpluses Databurst
3/1/18 National Council on Teacher Quality - Elizabeth Ross

Elizabeth Ross provides data and analysis of states’ efforts to track and respond to teacher shortages and surpluses. “Currently, 29 states maintain data systems that collect teacher supply data from preparation programs; however, only eight states address shortages and surpluses by connecting these supply data to district level hiring statistics. Despite the important work of some states to ensure access to cohesive supply and demand data, too little is being done using these data to pursue policy solutions to teacher supply and demand challenges.”

What research really says about closing schools - and why it's a bad idea for kids
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Michelle Renée Valladares

Michelle Renée Valladares discusses the closing of five South Side schools in Chicago. “What Chicago and the nation lack are not evidence-based solutions or experts like Irene Robinson to inform them. What we collectively lack is the will to implement these long-term proven solutions. The solutions are not quick, and they are not free — but they do work.”

Funding Gaps in 2018: An Analysis of School Funding Equity Across the U.S. and Within Each State
The Education Trust - Ivy Morgan and Ary Amerkaner

Ivy Morgan and Ary Amerikaner investigate school funding inequities across the U.S. “School districts that serve large populations of students of color and students from low-income families receive far less funding than those serving White and more affluent students. And despite widespread attention to inequitable school funding formulas — and courts that have declared them unlawful for short-changing school districts serving large percentages of low-income students — too many states continue this unfair practice.”

Making Sense out of Incentives: A Framework for Considering the Design, Use, and Implementation of Incentives to Improve Attendance
Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR) - Rekha Balu & Stacy B. Ehrlich

Rekha Balu and Stacy Ehrlich look at the use of chronically absent students as a measure of school quality and student success under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “Unfortunately, there is little guidance on what policymakers and practitioners ought to consider when deciding if incentives are an appropriate intervention, and then how to design incentives in ways that align with the nature of specific attendance barriers and problems. This article presents a framework to fill that gap. We outline the design considerations when creating attendance incentives and offer guidance to practitioners deciding what to implement in their school.”

Most States Shortchange Public School Students Despite Growing Evidence That Money Matters
Education Law Professors Blog - Derek Black

Derek Black shares the latest report from the Education Law Center, ‘Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card.’ According to Baker, Farrie, and Sciarra (2018), public funding in most states remains unfair and inequitable. “The latest NRC results confirm a disturbing trend: almost no improvement since the end of the Great Recession in those states that do not provide additional funding to districts with high student poverty. There is also no change in the vast disparities in levels of funding for K-12 education across the states, even after adjusting for cost. The states with the highest funding levels (New York and Alaska) spend more than two and a half times what states with the lowest funding levels spend (Arizona and Idaho).”

New CREDO Report Shows System-Level Supports, Turnaround Expertise Critical to School-Level Improvements
Center on Reinventing Public Education - Robin Lake

Robin Lake reacts to a new report from CREDO, part of the Hoover Institution, that examined the impact of school turnarounds. “Overall, however, the academic results fell short of the intended goals. In both New Orleans and Tennessee, the aggregate results for students were not statistically different from their peers in either reading or math. Most schools did not meet the very ambitious goals set by state leaders… The key is to learn from these efforts, especially regarding the process of selecting, developing, and supporting large-scale operators…”

Vouchers: Still Waiting for Convincing Evidence
Education Next - Douglas N. Harris

Doug Harris participates in a forum on private-school choice for Education Next. Harris, advocating for a pause in the expansion of private-school choice policies, concludes: “It would be wise to put a hold on further broad-based experiments until we see whether the dozens of relatively new programs yield more positive results than the older ones. When it comes to convincing evidence, we are still waiting.”

Is PA Chasing Teachers Away?
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene shares the findings of a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, which found that Pennsylvania teachers are undercompensated as compared to their peers. “And so we're back to the same old point. There is no teacher shortage. What there is is a shortage of states and districts willing to make teaching attractive enough to draw the candidates they want.”

Our Stories, Our Struggles, Our Strengths: Perspectives and Reflections from Latinx Teachers
The Education Trust - Ashley Griffin

Ashley Griffin describes the findings of a recent report from the Education Trust on Latinx teachers. “Understanding the differences among teachers of color is critical for diversifying the workforce. The Latin[x] men and women educators with whom we spoke represent a multitude of ethnicities, nationalities, and races. They serve as community resources, advocates, role models, and educators, creating empowering and empathic spaces for parents and strengthening educational opportunities for students. Despite their strengths, however, Latin[x] teachers face discrimination and stereotyping that leave them feeling discouraged and inferior as educators.”

The effects of strategic compensation on teacher retention
Power and Education - Tori L. Colson and Clint Satterfield

Tori Colson and Clint Satterfield share the findings of their study on the effects of strategic teacher compensation on the retention of teachers in a voluntary plan. “The study’s results revealed inconclusive findings between voluntary strategic compensation plan participation rates and hard-to-staff and non-hard-to-staff teachers, therefore concluding that the district’s strategic compensation plan was no more favorable to hard-to-staff teachers than to non-hard-to-staff teachers.”

Charter schools in Kentucky could be delayed
Education Week

Education Week reported that charter schools, recently made legal in the state, could be delayed in Kentucky. “Charter schools are still legal in Kentucky and people can apply to open them. But those applications must include a five-year budget, something Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said would be ‘nearly impossible to do without knowing how the General Assembly intends education funds to flow to charter schools.’”

What Works in Teacher Induction? The New Teacher Center Releases Its Standards
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Madeline Will

Madeline Will reports on new standards released by the New Teacher Center. “The newly released program standards are meant to be an aspirational framework for program design, implementation, and evaluation for district educators, researchers, and policy makers alike. Some key points: Teachers need mentorship and training for the first two or three years of their career. Mentors need continuing access to ongoing professional learning, just like new teachers do. Formative assessments should guide both the mentor and the development of the new teacher. And induction programs should have a focus on equity for all students.”

Save Chicago's Public Schools
New York Times - Opinion - Op-Ed - Tamar Manasseh

Tamar Manasseh looks at a proposal in Chicago to close four more public high schools with declining enrollment. “The affected children, who are overwhelmingly black and poor, would go to public schools out of the neighborhood or be encouraged to attend one of the charter schools being pushed by business and religious interests. The schools would close over three years, and in their place, the city plans to build an $85 million high school in Englewood. But the school won’t be up and running until September 2019 at the earliest — more than a full school year from now.”

The Network Effect: Harnessing the Power of Teacher Leadership Networks to Sustain Progress in Tennessee
Chiefs for Change

Chiefs for Change released a new report on teacher leadership in Tennessee. “This brief, the second in a series of papers on innovative and impactful teacher leadership initiatives in Chiefs for Change member states, provides an inside look at steps successful Chiefs for Change members took in revolutionizing the opportunities available for educators in their state, illustrates this work via a continuum for meaningful teacher leader engagement, and outlines three objectives of teacher leadership for state Chiefs to consider.”

Education Savings Accounts for Dummies
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene discusses Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which have been proposed as a ‘new’ policy tool to further privatize public education across the U.S. “ESAs are a terrible idea unless your goal is to further cripple public education, to subsidize the wealthy (with tax dollars collected from everyone else), or to dump the taxpayer's dollars into a deep, dark hole. But they are one of the current ed reform legislative policy darlings, so keep your eyes peeled, ask the right questions, and oppose them when they roll into your state capital.”

We parsed SCALA's Bellwether report so you don't have to
Insider Louisville - Caitlin Bowling

Caitlin Bowling writes about a report commissioned by a group of business, nonprofit, and religious to remake school governance in Jefferson County, Kentucky. “The report notes that better models could include: the mayor or governor appointing a chancellor who leads the school district and is advised by a community board, or the mayor and governor appoint a board that is advised by community stakeholders and authorizes semi-autonomous schools, which are overseen by volunteer school boards. Shifting from an elected board to an appointed or advisory board is ‘done to depoliticize school oversight and create more functional and unified boards’ but can cause backlash, according to the report.”

A Conversation With Teacher of the Year Nate Bowling About the Experiences - and Importance - of Black Teachers
The Education Trust - Nate Bowling

Nate Bowling discusses the significance of Black teachers for Black students. “The majority of students in our public school system are now students of color. And at the K-3 level, it’s way past majority. We have to get our head around that as a profession. And we have to figure out ways to, first, deal with populations. But then also making sure that those kids, some of those kids are getting into the profession. It’s unsustainable to have — maybe it’s not unsustainable — but seems to me it should be unsustainable to have schools in neighborhoods that are 80 percent Black with staff that look like a tour bus for a country music concert.”

Pensions Under Pressure: Charter innovation in teacher retirement benefits
Education Next - Michael Podgursky, Susan Aud Pendergrass, and Kevin Hesla

Michael Podgursky, Susan Aud Pendergrass, and Kevin Hesla discuss teacher pensions and charter schools. “Public school districts are facing twin challenges: maintaining a labor supply of qualified teachers while shoring up the deteriorating system that compensates them. As promised payouts grow, this could have a dramatic impact on what schools can achieve in the classroom going forward.”

Here's How States Are Using Title II Funds to Strengthen the Teaching Profession
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Madeline Will

Madeline Will outlines a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) that investigated how states plan to implement funds under Title II, Part A. “There are some promising initiatives, the report says. But these initiatives could be at risk as Congress deliberates on a final 2018 budget deal, which could come as early as this week. President Donald Trump's budget proposal and the House funding bill eliminated the $2 billion Title II program, while the Senate appropriations bill preserved it.”

Koch family to open a new kind of private school: No teachers, no homework, no grades
Wichita Eagle & Miami Herald - Suzanne Perez Tobias

Suzanne Perez Tobias reports on a new funded project from the Koch family. The project is a privately funded school on the campus of Wichita State University that will charge tuition. “The school, called 'Wonder,' is scheduled to open for preschool and elementary-age children in September. Plans call for middle- and high-school programs to be phased in over time.”

Money and Freedom: The Impact of California's School Finance Reform
Learning Policy Institute - Rucker Johnson and Sean Tanner

Rucker Johnson and Sean Tanner write about the implementation of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The LCFF revolutionized school finance in California: “When LCFF is fully funded (likely in the next fiscal year), California will have increased its K-12 commitment by $18 billion… In this study, researchers Rucker C. Johnson, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, and LPI Senior Researcher Sean Tanner found LCFF-induced increases in district revenue has a 'strongly significant' impact on average high school graduation rates for all students in the state.  For example, a $1,000 increase in district per-pupil revenue from the state for grades 10–12 leads to a 5.3 percentage-point increase in high school graduation rates, on average, among all students. Authors found similar graduation-rate improvement for students from low-income families and by race/ethnicity: a $1,000 increase in per-pupil revenue from the state causes a 6.1 percentage-point increase for children from low-income families, 5.3 percentage-point increase for Black children, 4.2 percentage-point increase for non-Hispanic White children, and a 4.5 percentage-point increase for Hispanic children.”

What Do School Vouchers Have to Do With Protecting Bullied Students?
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker looks at school vouchers and voucher-like programs, such as Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Walker discusses a recent policy brief on ESAs produced by Oscar Jimenez-Castellanos for the National Education Policy Center. “Under an ESA [program], a state’s per-pupil education funding is put into an account that parents can tap into to pay for approved education expenses, including private school tuition. Therein lies the appeal - voucher advocates see ESAs as an ‘end run’ around state constitutions that forbid the use of public funds for religious activities (i.e., private religious schooling).”

Community Schools: Building Home-School Partnerships to Support Student Success
Learning Policy Institute - Ana Maier

Ana Maier outlines efforts taking place in community schools in both Oakland, California and St. Paul, Minnesota. “The innovative family and community engagement strategies employed in Oakland and St. Paul show the potential for community schools to help build trust and partnership among parents, teachers, and students.”

Performance pay can bring stronger teachers into the classroom
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Michael Hartney

Michael Hartney discusses the recent research literature on teacher pay-for-performance. “Unfortunately—though not always—these debates about the promise or peril of implementing teacher PFP fail to consider whether performance incentives might have powerful selection or ‘sorting’ effects on the composition of the future education workforce. To that end, our findings offer some of the first evidence that, across a national sample of school districts, the adoption of PFP was accompanied by a tangible increase in the ability of school leaders to hire more academically accomplished teachers.”

The Daily 202: Koch network laying groundwork to fundamentally transform America's education system
Washington Post - Power Post - James Hohmann

James Hohmann reports on a meeting hosted by the Koch network to target massive financial investments in K-12 reforms. “Leaders of the network dreamed of disrupting the status quo, customizing learning and breaking the teacher unions. One initial priority is expanding educational saving accounts and developing technologies that would let parents pick and choose private classes or tutors for their kids the same way people shop on Amazon. They envision making it easy for families to join together to start their own ‘micro-schools’ as a new alternative to the public system.”

Education in America: What's the matter with Oklahoma?
The Economist

The Economist looked at Oklahoma’s ongoing school financial crisis. “The roots of the fiasco are not hard to determine. As in Oklahoma’s northern neighbor, Kansas, deep tax cuts have wrecked the state’s finances… Ms Fallin, the state governor, has called for a $5,000 pay rise for teachers and has endorsed some modest tax increases ahead of the next legislative session. Whether she can muster enough support to cross the three-quarters threshold the state constitution requires for a tax increase is unclear; recent attempts have fallen just short. Meanwhile some Republicans, intent on cutting more spending, have an eye on the state’s Medicaid program.”

Did new evaluations and weaker tenure make fewer people want to become teachers? A new study says yes
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum shares the results of a new study on the effects of recent high-stakes evaluation and tenure reforms. “The study looks back at a spate of laws prompted in part by the federal Race to the Top program. Between 2011 and 2016, the vast majority of states instituted stricter teacher evaluation rules tied to student test scores; a handful of states also eliminated or dramatically weakened teacher tenure.”

The Role of Principals in Reducing Teacher Turnover and the Shortage of Teachers
University Council for Educational Administration - Edward J. Fuller, Andrew Pendola, and Michelle Young

Ed Fuller, Andrew Pendola, and Michelle Young produced a policy brief that looked at teacher working conditions and the role of principals in reducing teacher turnover and the shortage of teachers. “The good news is improving the working conditions of teachers can reduce teacher turnover and the shortage of teachers.”

Teacher recruitment, retention, reward is aim of package of bills in Legislature
Detroit Free Press - Kathleen Gray

Kathleen Gray writes about a package of bills proposed in the Michigan Senate by Democrats that would provide incentives to teachers. “Teachers would be rewarded, recruited and revered under a 22-bill package introduced in the Michigan Senate last week. The bills would provide signing bonuses for new teachers, stipends for student teachers assigned to economically disadvantaged districts, incentives and scholarships for students to enter the teaching profession and student loan debt forgiveness.”

See how your public school scores in N.J.'s newest (and hidden) ratings
01/24/2018 - Adam Clark & Carla Astudillo

Adam Clark and Carla Astudillo look at New Jersey’s school report cards for school accountability. Under ESSA, New Jersey chose a 1-100 pt. school rating system. “Nationwide, 45 states and the District of Columbia use some form of summative rating, such as a 1-100 rating, A-F rating or labels like ‘great,’ ‘good’ and ‘excellent.’”

Charters and the Common Good
Education Next - Sarah A. Cordes

Sarah Cordes investigates the spillover effects of charter schools in New York City. “But it is clear that the typical arguments that drive charter-related controversies and public debate fail to capture the ways in which district and charter schools affect one another. More research is needed to better inform the conditions policymakers can set to ensure all schools can operate to the benefit of all students.”

Pro-school choice expert gives Michigan's approach a failing grade
Michigan Public Radio - Stateside - Lester Graham

Lester Graham interviewed Gary Miron about Michigan’s school choice policies. Regarding school choice policies in Michigan, Miron says: “Right now, the two things that schools of choice are achieving in our state: they’re accelerating segregation by race, by class, by special education status, and by language of instruction; they’re also being used as a vehicle for privatization.”

Jeffries: What School Choice Means for Democrats in the Age of Trump
The 74 - Shavar Jeffries

Shavar Jeffries discusses 'national' school choice week and the role of Democrats to support and expand school choice. “Despite the history of Democratic leadership in advancing improved access to high-quality education, in too many communities Democratic charter supporters face uphill political battles with too few resources against a heavily entrenched anti-charter opposition. Progressive public charter advocates must collaborate more effectively and strategically to protect the progress we’ve made and, more important, build upon it.”

50-State Comparison: Charter School Policies
Education Commission of the States - Micah Ann Wixom

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) recently produced a 50-state comparison of charter school policies. “Currently, 44 states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws. Kentucky’s charter school laws, created in 2017, are the newest.”

It takes a community: Community schools provide opportunities for all
Phi Delta Kappan - Reuben Jacobson, Lisa Villarreal, José Muñoz, and Robert Mahaffey

Reuben Jacobson, Lisa Villarreal, José Muñoz, and Robert Mahaffey look at community schools. “Everyone benefits when a school assumes responsibility for coordinating services that address the many nonacademic needs of students and their families.”

A Root Cause of the Teacher-Diversity Problem
The Atlantic - Melinda D. Anderson

Melinda Anderson discusses how hiring practices result in fewer black educators in school districts. Her focus was based on recent research looking at court-ordered hiring guidelines. The policy increased the hiring of new black teachers in both predominantly white and Black schools, but did not have an impact on measures of student achievement. Anderson concludes, “Indeed, relatively little is known about the extent to which such bias influences schools’ staffing decisions. Getting a better grasp on the scope of the problem could be key to further refining hiring policies so that they ensure greater student success.”

Online Courses Are Harming the Students Who Need the Most Help
New York Times - Economic View - Susan Dynarski

Susan Dynarski discusses students taking online courses. “Online education is still in its youth. Many approaches are possible, and some may ultimately benefit students with deep and diverse needs. As of now, however, the evidence is clear. For advanced learners, online classes are a terrific option, but academically challenged students need a classroom with a teacher’s support.”

Teacher Burnout or Demoralization? What's the Difference and Why it Matters
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker interviews Doris Santoro, author of ‘Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Stay,’ regarding her new book. Santoro says: “I hope schools would have a series of conversations with teachers. It could start with talking about what good work looks like. What do you need to engage in good work? What’s preventing you and what can we change right now to move us a little closer? Obviously we can’t remove all the obstacles, but what small shifts can we make? Some of this about having school leaders who are willing to have these types of conversations or are willing to think about good work over and above just following policy.”

Addressing the Importance and Scale of the U.S. Teacher Shortage
University Council for Educational Administration - Andrene Castro, Daniel J. Quinn, Edward Fuller, and Michael Barnes

Andrene Castro, Daniel J. Quinn, Edward Fuller, and Michael Barnes discuss teacher shortages and the challenges facing state and local policy makers. “This brief examines the elements of the shortage of teachers and concludes with recommendations for policymakers at all levels of the education system.”

How Other Countries Would Fare on the Nation's Report Card
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks covers a new international report from the National Superintendents Roundtable and the Horace Mann League, ‘How High the Bar?’ Sparks writes, “The report compares the performance of U.S. students on the NAEP, and those of 40 other countries and education systems on the Program for International Reading Literacy and 35 education systems in the Trends in International Math and Science Study. The analysis used previous federal research that created statistical crosswalks between NAEP and the other two tests. It found that no country, including the United States, would have more than half of its students overall meet the 2015 NAEP's proficiency level for 4th grade reading.”

A Pivot Toward Clinical Practice, Its Lexicon, and the Renewal of Educator Preparation
American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education

The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) issued a new report on the preparation of high-quality teacher candidates, which involves practical experiences in classrooms along with academic coursework. “It is in this space that the AACTE Clinical Practice Commission (CPC) calls for a pivot, profession-wide, to embrace a common lexicon and a shared understanding of evidence-based practices for embedding teacher preparation in the PK-12 environment.”

Sweeping study proposes major changes to the way schools are funded in Michigan
Chalkbeat - Erin Einhorn

Erin Einhorn reviews a new report on school finance reforms in Michigan. The report is the second 'adequacy study' completed on the true costs of educating students in Michigan (the first was released in 2016). “The study released Wednesday recommends a major restructuring so that schools would be fully funded for special education programs and would get extra funds to provide resources to students who need extra help. With that money, schools could offer lower class sizes, add counselors and social workers, and give teachers more support, the report says.”

School Funding Is Complicated - So Let's Do Something About It
Education Commission of the States - Michael Griffith

Michael Griffith discusses state school funding formulas and what makes them so complicated. Griffith proposes several suggestions to state policy makers seeking to improve their systems: “(1) Work to clean up your state's formula; (2) Create an overview of your formula [in plane English]; and (3) Allow public access to school funding tools.” His analysis discusses implications regarding district wealth, student needs, district size and location considerations, and the cost of living within and between states.

Less money for schools after the recession meant lower test scores and graduation rates, study finds
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum looks at new research from C. Kirabo Jackson, Cora Wigger, and Heyu Xiong that looked at the impact of school spending cuts during the Great Recession. “The evidence is adding up: The Great Recession did real damage to student learning. New research suggests that when states cut funding in the wake of the economic downturn that began a decade ago, test scores and graduation rates both dropped. Those findings come on the heels of another study that found that being in school during the recession hurt students’ reading and math test scores. The latest analysis, conducted by three Northwestern University researchers, found that the impact of the spending cuts was substantial. Cutting per-student spending by 10 percent throughout a student’s high-school years reduced their likelihood of graduating by nearly 3 percentage points.”

America's Growing Teacher Shortage
WBUR - On Point - Ray Suarez

Ray Suarez hosted a radio panel to discuss America’s teacher shortage. Guests included: Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat; Jason Hammond Garcia, Arizona School Personnel Administrators; Linda Darling-Hammond, LPI; and Randi Weingarten, AFT. “This morning millions of American students trooped into public schools from coast to coast to be taught by… not enough teachers. In districts across the country thousands of jobs are going unfilled. And in too many cases, teachers hired leave after just a few years. What drives the shortage? And what will it take to get more people to choose a career in education? And stay? This hour, On Point: What it takes to get an ‘A’ in recruitment.”

Healing, Not Metal Detectors, Will Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Good
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange - Ashley Sawyer

Ashley Sawyer writes about the school-to-prison pipeline: “Police presence increases the likelihood that our youth will be arrested and increases racial disparities in the criminal legal system. Our national consciousness has been shocked by numerous videos of students, particularly black and Latinx youth, being thrown to the ground and handcuffed by law enforcement for things as small as not taking off headphones. If instead, each school had multiple school psychologists and quality therapists available it would cost roughly the same amount to operate a weapon detection system, but likely have positive and far-reaching benefits for student feelings of safety and student achievement.”

No incentive for best and brightest to be teachers
The Irish Times - Áine Hyland

Citing high fees, inadequate pay, and hiring difficultly, Áine Hyland discusses Ireland’s growing teacher shortage. “Because Irish-trained teachers are highly valued in other countries, it is not surprising that many of our best graduates emigrate to countries where the salary and employment conditions are considerably more attractive. We cannot expect our brightest and best to embrace a teaching career if the costs of training are prohibitive, posts are limited and remuneration is inadequate. The solutions are obvious. There should be a closer match between supply and demand. There should be financial incentives for students to undertake courses in subjects in which there are shortages and for universities to provide such courses.”

America's teacher shortage can't be solved by hiring more unqualified teachers
The Washington Post - John P. Papay, Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Lindsay C. Page and William H. Marinell

John Papay, Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Lindsay Page and William Marinell look at America’s serious teacher shortages. They report on a study of 16 urban public school districts in seven states serving 2.5 million students. Their study documented five important trends in teacher retention: “(1) the share of novice teachers who left their district within five years ranges from just less than half to nearly 75 percent; (2) even when teachers stay in the same district, they frequently move across schools; (3) after teachers leave the classroom, their likelihood of returning varies widely by district; (4) we found that few teachers depart the urban districts we studied for other districts in the same state; (5) encouragingly, we found relatively higher retention among more effective teachers.” They conclude that a focus on teacher retention and improving working conditions is needed to help teacher shortages in many states and districts.

In many large school districts, hundreds of teaching positions were unfilled as school year began
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Relying on public records requests from school districts, Matt Barnum looks at the problem of unfilled teacher vacancies in urban school districts across the United States. “Classrooms without full-time assigned teachers aren’t just a logistical problem for schools. Those vacancies also mean students learn less. That’s according to peer-reviewed research from [Matthew] Kraft, along with Brown’s John Papay. They found that students taught by late-hire teachers had slightly lower math and reading scores on year-end exams. The study [Kraft and Papay] suggests that the harmful effects come not just because students get off to a slow start when a teacher is hired late, but because late-hired teachers are less effective than others. This highlights a potential hidden cost to schools that hire late: top teachers have already been snapped up. Poor students, students of color, and students who attend struggling schools are more likely to bear those costs.”

School stats: New system for evaluating teachers may have triggered hiring spree
The Seattle Times - Dahlia Bazzaz

Dahlia Bazzaz reports on a recent study by Ana Elfers and Margaret Plecki on the hiring surge that occurred in Washington state when teacher-evaluation systems were altered six years ago. “The number of assistant principals in Washington surged by 29 percent in just five school years, according to a recent University of Washington analysis of school leadership in this state, one of the first of its kind. The biggest jump was in elementary schools, where the head count for assistant principals shot up 126 percent during that time period, from 162 to 366 people.”

Reducing Class Sizes Is Popular With Parents but Not Education Experts. New Research on CA Program Might Change That
The 74 - Kevin Mahnken

Kevin Mahnken discusses a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) that examined California’s attempt at class-size reduction (CSR). The report by Michael Gilraine, Hugh Macartney, and Robert McMillan found that California’s program had a positive impact on student achievement. The report also noted other effects, such as: “The perceived advantage of attending schools with lower student-teacher ratios led to greater demand for public school seats during the years CSR was being rolled out. In districts that succeeded in lowering their class sizes, the researchers found that home prices shot up by as much as 2.6 percent, reflecting the new found desirability of sending kids to public schools.”

The cost of charter growth: New research estimates the price tag for districts
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum shares the results of a recent study from Helen Ladd and John Singleton that looked at the cost of opening new charter schools on one North Carolina district. "The findings go straight to heart of the national debate about charter schools. Supporters say they give students added options and can spur improvement in district schools; critics respond that choice comes at the cost of other students, who may see their schools lose money and even close as a result. The latest study complicates the idea that each student’s share of resources should be individually divvied out — often referred to by school choice supporters as the ‘the money following the child.’"

Teacher Evaluation, Pay for Performance, and Learning Around Instruction: Between Dissonant Incentives and Resonant Procedures
Educational Administration Quarterly - Rick Mintrop, Miguel Ordenes, Erin Coghlan, Laura Pryor, & Cristobal Madero

Rick Mintrop, Miguel Ordenes, Erin Coghlan, Laura Pryor, and Cristobal Madero studied the logic of a performance management system supported by a TIF (Teacher Incentive Fund) grant. “The study suggests that research insights can be gained when logics of complex performance management systems are disentangled and competing dynamics deliberately studied. Practically speaking, when schools try to maintain a rich collegial culture, incentives may crowd out the use of teaching evaluations for formative learning.”

Moonlighting: Up before dawn and into the night, many educators struggle with second jobs to help make ends meet
NEA Today - John Rosales

John Rosales reports on teacher and support staff 'moonlighting' (educators who work second jobs). “They are not trying out new careers as sales representatives at clothing, electronic, and auto stores. They are not attempting to bulk up their resumes working as freelance tutors, personal trainers, electricians, plumbers, and other jobs related to their area of expertise at school. They are simply trying to keep their financial boats afloat.”

School Choice, Segregation and Democracy
AASA - School Administrator - William J. Mathis and Kevin G. Welner

Bill Mathis and Kevin Welner address how school stratification fragments society and harms the common good. They write, “Finally, school leaders must become effective advocates for schools that advance equality and strengthen democracy. The informed voices of ground-level expertise have been drowned out by the megaphones of advocacy think tanks. None of us should be bystanders watching the retreat of core values and goals for the nation’s schools.”

Establishing Universal Access to Prekindergarten as a Constitutional Right
CCI and CEE - Jessica Wolff and Betty Holcomb

A new white paper from the Center for Educational Equity at Teachers College and the Center for Children Initiatives makes the case for establishing a right to universal pre-K. The report is separated into three parts: rationale, definitions, and legal strategies. “A wealth of new research and political developments around the country support the position that pre-K must be accessible to all children at age three as a core part of their right to a free public education.”

David Berliner Offers Advice to the Citizens of Philadelphia About Their Public Schools
Diane Ravich’s Blog - David C. Berliner

David Berliner pens an open letter regarding public schools in Philadelphia. He concludes, “Getting their schools back is good for democracy in the city that played center stage in the founding of our nation’s democracy. Getting those schools to function well enough so its students can take on the role of stewards of our democracy is a whole other matter. I hope this advice helps them to do just that.”

Study suggests gentrification has boosted integration in D.C. schools
Washington Post - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss reports on a new study from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA that studied segregation in Washington, D.C.’s schools. “The report — titled ‘White Growth, Persistent Segregation: Could Gentrification Become Integration?’ — shines a light on school choice in the District, which has a flourishing charter school sector and the only federally funded program that uses public funds for private school tuition.” The report was written by researchers Kfir Mordechay and Jennifer Ayscue.

Majority of Teachers Say Reforms Have Been 'Too Much'
Education Week - Liana Loewus

Liana Loewus reveals the results of a recent survey by the Education Week Research Center.  The results reveal that teachers tend to stay positive about the reforms they’re experiencing, but teachers also reported reform fatigue. “More than half of teachers (58 percent) surveyed said they’ve experienced ‘way too much’ or ‘too much’ change in the last couple of years.”

Research Shows Performance Bonuses for Teachers Can Improve Student Achievement
Mathematica Policy Research - Hanley Chiang, Cecilia Speroni, Mariesa Herrmann, Kristin Hallgren, Paul Burkander, and Alison Wellington

The results of a multi-year evaluation report studying TIF grant recipients were released this week by Mathematica Policy Research (MPR). While the results show that some schools demonstrated student achievement gains during implementation, many teachers had limited understanding of the programs and districts were unlikely to continue the programs after the federal funds expired. “A final report on the study, now released, highlights lessons these findings can offer for policies on performance-based compensation. The study also considered possible explanations for why performance bonuses in the TIF program had positive impacts on student achievement—and why those impacts were not larger.”

What Makes a Good School?
Slate - Isaac Chotiner

Isaac Chotiner interviews Sean Reardon, author of a new study calling into question the way we evaluate low-income schools. Regarding rating schools based on average test scores, Reardon says: “It turns out that some places look great mostly because their kids came in with high test scores, but their growth rates aren’t particularly high during elementary and middle school. And other places look good, or better than you’d expect, because kids are learning a lot in elementary and middle school. So the takeaway is, by judging the school systems based on average test scores, we might be confounding what the school systems are really doing with what kind of skills kids have when they come into school.”

Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Stay
Harvard Education Press - Doris Santoro

A forthcoming book by Doris Santoro investigates teacher attrition, personal dissatisfaction, and burnout. “Featuring the voices of educators, the book offers concrete lessons for practitioners, school leaders, and policy makers on how to think more strategically to retain experienced teachers and make a difference in the lives of students.”

50-State Comparison: States' School Accountability Systems
Education Commission of the States - Julie Woods

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) surveyed each state’s accountability system under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “This resource captures an important transition period in state accountability systems by providing a national overview of these systems as described in current state statute and regulation, where available, and in states’ ESSA plans (as of October 2017). State statute and regulation often outline or provide a foundation for accountability systems.”

New Rules, Same Standards: An Analysis of New Jersey's Tenure Reforms
American Enterprise Institute - Michael Jones

Michael Jones discusses teacher tenure reforms in New Jersey since 2012. “This report analyzes specific tenure cases since the passage of TEACHNJ to understand the extent to which the rules-based and standards-based approaches were consistent with TEACHNJ’s goals of improving student achievement. It also investigates the consequences of leaving ineffective teachers in the classroom.”

Expanding High-Quality Educational Options for All Students: How States Can Create a System of Schools Worth Choosing
Learning Policy Institute - Linda Darling-Hammond, Robert Rothman, Peter W. Cookson, Jr.

Linda Darling-Hammond, Robert Rothman, and Peter Cookson authored a recent report that shows providing choices for schooling does not automatically provide high-quality options for all students. The authors examined how policymakers could strengthen school choices. “The report describes the range of high-quality education options within the public sector and considerations for policymakers as they seek to expand those options. It also lists considerations for policymakers when looking at ways to support private school options that ensure better student outcomes, appropriate uses of funds, and democratic goals.”

The Next Big Leap for Research-Practice Partnerships: Building and Testing Theories to Improve Research Use
William T. Grant Foundation - Vivian Tseng

Vivian Tseng writes about the potential for further study of research-practice partnerships between universities and school districts. She calls for supporting the use of research. “For all the focus on producing more useful research, too little attention has focused on supporting the use of research. Creating and communicating research that is more relevant, timely, and actionable is necessary but not sufficient to foster an education system that is able to learn from and incorporate research findings into policy changes, professional development, curricula, and teaching and learning.”

Colorado education group wants bigger voice for teachers in fighting shortage
Denver Post - Monte Whaley

Monte Whaley shares concern the Colorado Education Association (CEA) has with the state’s plan to address teacher shortages in Colorado. “The plan, created by state education leaders, was introduced this month and was based largely on comments gleaned from town halls held this summer throughout the state. Its recommendations include better base salaries and housing incentives for teachers living in rural areas, student loan forgiveness and ‘grow your own’ teacher preparation programs that will keep teachers from leaving the towns they grew up in."

Column: Detroit needs a new model of education
The Detroit News - Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch writes about education reform in Detroit and offers recommendations for changes. She highlights what works based on research evidence and recommends: “Every school should be staffed with credentialed and well-qualified teachers. Class sizes should be no larger than 20 in elementary schools, no larger than 24 in middle and high schools. Every school should offer a full curriculum, including the arts, civics, history, and foreign languages. Every school should have a library and media center staffed by a qualified librarian. Every school should have fully equipped laboratories for science. Every school should have a nurse and a social worker. Every school should be in tip-top physical condition.”

When union protections disappear, poor schools lose teachers, new research finds
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum reviews a report from Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) that studied the ‘war on teachers.’ In the report, the researchers could not find a strong correlation between recent teacher reforms in Michigan and teacher turnover overall. However, the researchers found a link between the teacher reforms and turnover in disadvantaged schools. “But the researchers find something different when focusing on disadvantaged schools — both those with more poor students and those with lower test scores — which often have the hardest time keeping teachers. The new laws increased teacher turnover in high-poverty districts from 6.5 percent to about 8 percent each year.”

Planning for Progress: States Reflect on Year One Implementation of ESSA
Center for Education Policy - Diane Stark Rentner, Mathew Frizzell, and Nancy Kober

Diane Stark Rentner, Mathew Frizzell, and Nancy Kober surveyed officials in 45 state agencies on the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “The report highlights states’ views on ESSA’s shift in control from the federal government to states and school districts regarding accountability and school improvement activities; stakeholder involvement in state plan development; state capacity to implement ESSA requirements; and the U.S. Department of Education’s assistance in implementing ESSA. The report also addresses the impact of the proposed elimination of Title II-A funding, and support among states for a federal private school voucher program using ESSA funds.”

New International Assessment Results Compare U.S. Students' Reading Literacy with Their International Peers
IES - U.S. Department of Education - Catharine Warner-Griffin, Huili Liu, Chrystine Tadler, Debbie Herget, & Ben Dalton

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a new report on international fourth-grade reading achievement. The report, 'Reading Achievement of U.S. Fourth-Grade Students in an International Context,' compared the performance of U.S. students against 57 other countries. “Results from PIRLS 2016 show that the U.S. average overall score for reading was higher than the averages for 30 education systems, lower than the averages for 12 education systems, and not significantly different from the averages for 15 education systems. In addition, 16 percent of U.S. fourth-graders performed at or above the Advanced international benchmark, which represents the highest level of reading literacy skills. This was higher than the international median of 10 percent.”

Will America's Schools ever be Desegregated?
Pacific Standard - Rachel Cohen and Will Stancil

Rachel Cohen and Will Stancil cover school segregation and housing: “If anything, research suggests leaders aren't worrying enough about effects in the other direction: Segregated schools creating segregated cities.”

Ending the Revolving Door of Minority Teachers
Nation Swell - Joseph Darius Jaafari

Joseph Darius Jaafari writes about efforts to diversify the teaching force in New York. “New York might be one of America’s most racially diverse cities, but its teacher pool is decidedly not. In a city where 85 percent of the public school students are racial minorities, 60 percent of the teachers serving them are not. Only a quarter are male, and of that group, less than 8 percent are men of color — a concern because, as multiple studies have shown, the more diverse the teaching population, the better the outcome for minority students. In one such study, for example, black teachers were more likely to have higher expectations of black students compared to white teachers."

How Effective Is Your School District? A New Measure Shows Where Students Learn the Most
New York Times - The Upshot - Emily Badger and Kevin Quealy

Emily Badger and Kevin Quealy write about new data from Sean Reardon, Stanford University, who used elementary school test scores to explore urban school district disparities. “This new data shows that many [schools] do overcome them [obstacles related to poverty]. It also suggests that states that rate schools and select which ones to reward or shutter based on average test scores are using the wrong metric, Mr. Reardon argues. And so are parents who rely on publicly available test scores to identify what they believe are the best school districts — and so the best places to live.”

Montanans not lining up for school choice tax credit, even though some could make a buck
Billings Gazette - Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman discusses 'Big Sky Scholarships,' a school choice tax credit program in Montana. “The program in Montana works like this: a taxpayer can make a donation to a student scholarship organization, which in turn provides scholarships to students attending private schools. Up to $150 of that donation is eligible for a one-to-one tax credit in Montana, slicing 100 percent of the eligible donation off a tax bill.”

Despite gains, Mich. schools among most segregated
Detroit News - Jennifer Chambers and Christine MacDonald

Jennifer Chambers and Christine MacDonald wrote about an Associated Press (AP) analysis of segregation in charter schools. “Research has shown high levels of segregation correspond with low achievement, including the Associated Press analysis that found highly segregated schools on average had fewer students reaching state standards for proficiency in reading and math. Michigan’s ranking for black students, including those in charters, isn’t surprising given Metro Detroit’s historic high level of residential segregation and that charters tend to locate in higher minority areas, said Joshua Cowen, an associate professor of education policy at Michigan State University.”

Students Hang In The Balance While GOP House And Senate Bills Await Reconciliation
American Journal of Education - AJE Forum - Barbara Hou and Rachel L. Montgomery

Barbara Hou and Rachel Montgomery write about a controversial tax reform bill making its way through Congress that includes a significant tax change for graduate students. A key provision in the proposed bill would tax student tuition waivers as income. “In addition to student concerns, educational leaders are further concerned that both House and Senate versions of the tax reform legislation would impose a new 1.4 percent excise tax on endowments at private colleges and universities with endowments worth at least $250,000 per full-time student. Some believe this is provision reflects shots fired in a culture war over the role and privilege of colleges. Harvard administrators claimed the proposal would have cost the university $43 million last year. Charitable contributions to institutions, such as colleges and universities may also be at risk because of another provision that doubles standardized deductions. Since taxpayers can only choose to claim standard deductions or to itemize deductions and charitable deduction can only be itemized, contributions to institutions may decline.”

A fight for teachers weakens Detroit schools.
Bridge Magazine - Erin Einhorn

Published as part of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, Erin Einhorn, Chalkbeat Detroit, discusses the scramble for teachers in a decentralized school system with a shrinking pool of teachers. “Experts say the teacher churn is driven in part by the fierce competition between schools in Detroit that has intensified as charter schools have expanded — they now comprise nearly half of the city’s schools — and as more suburban schools actively recruit city kids. Parents often enroll in multiple schools while weighing their options and schools are left to guess how many students they’ll have and how many teachers they’ll need.”

Letter: Real education policy solutions needed
Detroit News - Opinion - Daniel J. Quinn

Daniel J. Quinn, Ph.D., executive director of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, responds to a recent Detroit News Editorial that cited a think tank report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Quinn highlighted an academic review produced by the National Education Policy Center that was critical of the report. Regarding teacher absences, Quinn writes: “Fostering a nurturing and welcoming learning environment for students starts with making sure teachers have the supports they need to provide a quality education for their students. We need to support teachers and school employees who need occasional time off like other professionals. No one, teachers included, can perform at their best when they are burned out, exhausted or sick.”

A Punishing Decade for School Funding
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Michael Leachman, Kathleen Masterson, and Eric Figueroa

Michael Leachman, Kathleen Masterson, and Eric Figueroa completed an analysis of public investment in K-12 schools. “In most states, school funding has gradually improved since 2015, but some states that cut very deeply after the recession hit are still providing much less support.  As of the current 2017-18 school year, at least 12 states have cut ‘general’ or ‘formula’ funding — the primary form of state support for elementary and secondary schools — by 7 percent or more per student over the last decade, according to a survey we conducted using state budget documents.”

School Choice Creates Challenges for Parents. What Are Cities Doing to Help?
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero writes about a new single application and enrollment system being launched in Indianapolis. Her blog shares a data from a report by the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) that examined 18 city-level policies designed to help parents wade through complex school choice options. "The original motivation behind school choice policy is that market-style competition among schools would raise their academic performance. For that to happen, however, parents must know which schools are academically the best, and they must choose them. But when given the chance to pick schools, do parents actually become more informed consumers?"

Here's why two Indiana school systems went broke. And others are in danger.
IndyStar - Arika Herron and Emma Kate Fittes

Arika Herron and Emma Kate Fittes investigate school choice in Indiana. “Starting in 2001, the state began rerouting money for public schools to remake itself as a champion of school choice. First, lawmakers created a public charter school system. Second, they started what would become the largest voucher program in the nation — arguably the most hotly-contested change of the decade. The idea was to give children in failing schools a way out, through privately-managed public charter schools or the voucher program that funnels public education money to private, often religious, schools in the form of scholarships for students from low- and middle-income families. What started out small — just 11 charter schools in 2002, and a drop out of the deep bucket of public money going towards schools — became huge.”

This Is Just How Badly Scott Walker Has Decimated Public Schools in Wisconsin
Mother Jones - Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell covers a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), which studied the impact of Act 10 in Wisconsin. “In the six years since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the union-busting Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining rights for public employees, the state’s labor movement has been decimated. Wisconsin was once a leader in organized labor, but its share of workers belonging to unions plummeted from 14.2 percent in 2010 to 8.1 percent in 2016. In 2015, the state’s unionization rate dropped below the national average for the first time. Now a new study highlights the unintended consequences of Act 10, which has proven catastrophic for Wisconsin’s public schools.”

'Precious Little Evidence' That Vouchers Improve Achievement, Recent Research Finds
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero discusses private-school-voucher programs in a DeVos/Trump policy context. “There's been surging national interest in private-school-voucher programs with the Trump administration's embrace of the idea. But newer research on large-scale voucher programs has complicated the debate over private-school choice—policies which allow families to use public money or aid to attend private schools, including religious ones. What does the research say? In a nutshell: The most recent findings are mixed, but they lean more toward negative. I spoke at length with researchers from most of these studies for a story I did on how private schools receiving public money in Florida face little state oversight.”

The Impact of Charter Schools on Traditional Public Schools: Impact and Fiscal Analyses
Indiana University - Center for Evaluation & Education Policy - Nedim Yel, Thomas Sugimoto, & Anne-Maree Ruddy

From IU's Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP): "Using publicly available data from the New Jersey Department of Education and U.S. Department of Education, CEEP conducted two studies comparing traditional public schools and charter schools in New Jersey. For the impact study, CEEP examined enrollment, grade promotion and disciplinary rates, and student achievement data. The fiscal analysis examined the amount of funds transferred to charter schools as well as potential expenditure savings and the net impact on traditional districts." Impact Analysis.

Attacks on Public-Sector Unions Harm States: How Act 10 Has Affected Education in Wisconsin
Center for American Progress (CAP) - David Madland & Alex Rowell

David Madland and Alex Rowell look at the impact of ACT 10 in Wisconsin. “This issue brief examines the impact of the law on Wisconsin’s K-12 public education system and state economy. While this brief focuses on Act 10’s impact on Wisconsin teachers based on the data available, the same forces driving changes in the teaching workforce can also affect the broader public sector. Proponents of Act 10 insisted that reducing collective bargaining rights for teachers would improve education by eliminating job protections, such as tenure and seniority-based salary increases.”

Stepping Up: How Are American Cities Delivering on the Promise of Public School Choice?
Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) - Christine Campbell, Georgia Heyward, Betheny Gross, and Robin Lake

Christine Campbell, Georgia Heyward, Betheny Gross, and Robin Lake analyze school choice in 18 cities. “Public school choice is increasingly the ‘new normal’ in cities across the country, creating new opportunities for families to choose from a wider variety of instructional models across a range of school types—from traditional district-run to magnet to charter. But how well are cities delivering on the real promise of school choice, that is, ensuring that all children have access to high-quality educational options that fit their needs?”

Rating the Ratings: An Analysis of the 51 ESSA Accountability Plans
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Brandon L. Wright & Michael J. Petrilli

Brandon Wright and Mike Petrilli review state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “Although many states included elements in their school rating systems that we don’t love, it’s welcome news that so many have corrected NCLB’s biggest flaws. Moreover, none of these ESSA plans are set in stone, and we hope that states will return to the drawing board to make their systems better before too much time passes. Congress probably won’t get around to reauthorizing the law for a decade or more. States need not—and should not—wait that long to make improvements.”

States' ESSA Plans Fall Short on Educator Equity, NCTQ Analysis Finds
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Madeline Will

Madeline Will shares the findings of a recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) on state plans under ESSA. “A few states, however, are doing what the NCTQ deemed as promising practices. The group applauded Utah, for example, for giving bonuses to teachers who are considered effective in the highest poverty schools in the state. Florida has state legislation that requires districts to make sure that students are not assigned to an ineffective teacher (defined by a final rating of unsatisfactory on the state's teacher-evaluation system) for two consecutive years. And Kentucky and New York calculate and report data on student characteristics beyond poverty and race, including English-language learners and students with disabilities.”

50-State Comparison: K-12 Governance Structures
Education Commission of the States - Hunter Railey

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) completed a 50 state comparison of state education governance. “Every state has the same or similar policymaking roles; however, each of the roles operate differently in the context of each state’s governance model. This resource provides a national overview of the key policymaking roles in K-12 education policy, a summary of each role’s general powers and duties and some information on how they relate to other policymaking roles.”

When Unions Lead Education Reform
Truthout - Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel Cohen writes about a new report from the Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN). “Funded by the Ford Foundation, the report has four lead authors with deep ties to the labor movement. Adam Urbanski is still president of the Rochester Teachers Association, and Ellen Bernstein is president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation. Tom Alves is the executive director of the Sun Juan Teachers Association, and Richard Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.”

Why Addressing Teacher Turnover Matters
Learning Policy Institute - Linda Darling-Hammond, Leib Sutcher, and Desiree Carver-Thomas

Linda Darling-Hammond, Leib Sutcher, and Desiree Carver-Thomas respond to criticism published in ‘The 74’ by Chad Aldeman. “There is no denying that there is a teacher turnover problem in many communities and that it is harming hundreds of thousands of students daily. Policymakers and practitioners can work together to improve the key factors associated with teacher turnover through stronger teacher preparation and support, competitive and equitable compensation, and supportive teaching conditions”

Teachers Should Be Writers
Education Week - Teacher-Leader Voices - Tom Rademacher

Tom Rademacher discusses why writing is important for teachers. “I’ve been writing about teaching heavily for the last five years, and I've learned things. I've learned the things that have been the difference between having a few people read a piece and a few hundred thousand. I've learned about the honest desire from many to hear directly from teachers as well as the desire by some to use teacher voices for their own needs. I've learned about haters, and I've learned how amazing it is to hear how you've impacted or supported a colleague you've never met before.”

Does Homeschooling Improve Educational Opportunities?
Scholars Strategy Network - T. Jameson Brewer and Christopher Lubienski

Jameson Brewer and Chris Lubienski write about the rise in homeschooling in the U.S. “Advocates of homeschooling and the parents who engage in the practice of educating their children at home often claim that empirical evidence proves homeschooling ‘works,’ results in greater effectiveness and efficiency because it offers a more specialized or appropriate education for the individual student. But claims that homeschooling improves educational outcomes are not supported by the evidence.”

Discipline in Context: Suspension, Climate, and PBIS in the School District of Philadelphia
Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) - Abigail Gray, Philip Sirinides, Ryan Fink, Adrianne Flack, Tesla DuBois, Katrina Morrison, and Kirsten Hill

Abigail Gray, Philip Sirinides, Ryan Fink, Adrianne Flack, Tesla DuBois, Katrina Morrison, and Kirsten Hill authored a new report that explores the impact of transitioning away from harsh disciplinary practices and student outcomes in K-8 schools in Philadelphia. “In ‘Discipline in Context: Suspension, Climate, and PBIS in the School District of Philadelphia,’ researchers identified three profiles among SDP K-8 schools based on information about disciplinary practices and climate, and found that these profiles are predictive of suspension and academic outcomes. More specifically, the research reveals that students attending schools with collaborative climates and less punitive approaches to discipline have a lower risk of being suspended and better academic outcomes, even after controlling for student demographics. Other findings show that most SDP schools are making efforts to reduce suspension and improve climate, but critical barriers to these efforts include resource limitations and philosophical misalignments between teachers and school leaders. The report offers a series of concrete recommendations for strengthening the implementation of climate initiatives, including PBIS, in challenging contexts like SDP’s.”

Our TURN: Revitalizing Public Education and Strengthening Democracy Through the Collective Wisdom of Teachers
Teacher Union Reform Network - TURN

This report from the Teacher Union Reform Network (TURN) outlines four pillars to transform teaching and learning. “Drawing from research-based practices and the experiences and ideas of classroom teachers across the country about what works, we highlight creative and innovative solutions that place students at the center of learning, support teachers as professionals, promote equity, and advance negotiated agreements that improve student learning. The report provides a clear and compelling roadmap for education policymakers, practitioners and advocates alike towards a revitalized system of public education that benefits all our students.”

Little Evidence and Big Consequences: Understanding Special Education Voucher Programs
Center on Education Policy (CEP) - Matthew Braun

Matthew Braun examined special education voucher programs: “The report, which finds that the program characteristics differ considerably across states and that the research is small, dated, and often funded by voucher proponents, identifies major questions and concerns about these programs that have yet to be fully addressed by researchers or policymakers.”

New Evidence that Developmental (and Formative) Approaches to Teacher Evaluation Systems Work
Vamboozled! - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley writes about a report by Susan Moore Johnson, Harvard University. Johnson’s work studied implementation of Massachusetts’ new teacher evaluation policy in six districts. Beardsley writes, “Related, such developmental and formatively-focused teacher evaluation systems can work, they also conclude, when schools are lead by highly effective principals who are free to select high quality teachers. Their findings suggest that this ‘is probably the most important thing district officials can do to ensure that teacher evaluation will be a constructive, productive process’ (p. 403). In sum, ‘as this study makes clear, policies that are intended to improve schooling depend on both administrators and teachers for their effective implementation’ (p. 403).”

Teacher Equity Gaps in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education - James Cowen, Dan Goldhaber, & Roddy Theobald

James Cowen, Dan Goldhaber, and Roddy Theobald issued a policy brief on ‘effective’ teachers in Massachusetts. “This policy brief provides an overview of how effective teachers are identified, summarizes research from around the nation, and analyzes Massachusetts data to address the important issue of access to effective educators. It also provides connections to resources available to Massachusetts schools and districts working to eliminate equity gaps.”

Public and Private School Segregation in the District of Columbia
Albert Shanker Institute - Matthew Di Carlo and Kinga Wysienska-Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo and Kinga Wysienska-Di Carlo write about public and private school segregation in Washington, D.C. “Our results as a whole suggest that private schools may play an important role in shaping the segregation of students by race and ethnicity in many locations. Policymakers should consider that school segregation occurs not only between school districts within a single metropolitan region (e.g., between cities and surrounding suburbs), but also within and between the public and private school sectors. In D.C., at least, a fairly large share of the action is outside the purview of within-public sector integration.”

The Sensitivity of Teacher Performance Ratings to the Design of Teacher Evaluation Systems
Educational Researcher - Matthew P. Steinberg and Matthew A. Kraft

Matthew Steinberg and Matthew Kraft, using data from the Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) study, found that using test scores for students tends to lower teacher-evaluation ratings. “We find that teacher proficiency rates change substantially as the weights assigned to teacher performance measures change.”

Op-Ed: Don't blame failing schools on parents
Traverse City Record-Eagle - Sarah Lenhoff

Sarah Lenhoff, Wayne State University, responds to criticism of Michigan’s schools and parents by a member of the state board of education. She provides three remedies instead of blaming parents. “(1) Ensure that school choice supports greater integration, rather than segregation; (2) Increase base school funding and create a rational model for funding districts with declining enrollment; and (3) Use accountability data to strategically support struggling schools, rather than threatening to close them.”

The Impact of Incentives to Recruit and Retain Teachers in 'Hard-to-Staff' Subjects
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management - Li Feng & Tim R. Sass

Li Feng and Tim Sass look at a statewide incentive program designed to increase the supply of teachers in ‘hard to staff’ areas. Using several statistical methods, the researchers investigated the impact of a loan forgiveness component, which reduced mean attrition rates for middle and high school math teachers by 10.4 percent and 8.9 percent. “A back-of-the-envelope cost-benefit analysis suggests that both the loan forgiveness and the bonus program were cost effective.”

School Leadership Counts
New Teacher Center - Richard M. Ingersoll, Patrick Dougherty, Phil Sirinides

Richard Ingersoll, Patrick Dougherty, and Phil Sirinides analyzed data from the New Teacher Center’s TELL survey, which asks questions about teaching, learning, and working conditions in schools. In their conclusion the authors write: “Our study shows that the degree of both instructional leadership and teacher leadership in schools are strongly related to the performance of schools. After controlling for school background demographic characteristics, schools with higher levels of instructional leadership and higher levels of teacher leadership rank higher in student achievement, for both mathematics and ELA. Moreover, the data show that some elements of instructional leadership and some areas of teacher leadership are more strongly related than others to student achievement.”

What's it like to be a new teacher in Michigan today?
Michigan Public Radio - Stateside Staff

Stateside’s Lester Graham (Michigan Public Radio) interviewed three teachers to “discuss the challenges, and rewards, of teaching in Michigan.” On the harsh reality of teaching, Keisha Dukes says “My particular experiences with dealing with children with behavior disorders, they’ve had some type of trauma early on that impacts their ability to learn and function in a typical general ed setting. And my idea going into it was ‘I’m gonna get in there, and I’m gonna love them, and they’ll be able to learn, and they’re gonna relate to me,’ things like that. And I was not ready. At all.”

MSU Launches Effort to Support Informed Education Policy
MSU Today - Nicole Geary and Andy Henion

Nicole Geary and Andy Henion write about a new policy center to be housed at Michigan State University - the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC). The collaborative is funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation ($1.9 million grant) and will be directed by Dr. Katharine Strunk and Dr. Josh Cowen. Strunk says: “We not only evaluate what works, but answer how, why and for whom, beginning with the neediest students. In addition, we know that the labor market, human capital and education quality are interrelated, and these relationships require holistic approaches to policy. The most valuable analysis integrates these strands into a larger whole and creates a big picture approach to the research. There’s a real opportunity to do that work here with EPIC and at MSU.”

CA Students Lose More Than 800,000 Instructional Days to Suspensions
Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA’s Civil Rights Project - Daniel J. Losen and Amir Whitaker

Dan Losen and Amir Whitaker authored a new report, ‘Lost Instruction: The Disparate Impact of the School Discipline Gap in California,’ which analyzed California’s school discipline data. “This report is the first to take a close look at how suspension in California’s schools impacts lost instruction in every district in the state. This descriptive study uses the state’s reported enrollment numbers and number of suspensions, disaggregated by students’ race/ethnicity, to estimate the days of missed instruction in every district for every racial/ethnic group.”

A Cycle of Inequity: Why Access to Quality Teachers Requires Access to Quality Principals by Andrew Pendola and Edward Fuller
American Journal of Education (AJE) Forum - Andrew Pendola and Ed Fuller (Penn State)

Andrew Pendola and Ed Fuller (Penn State) look at the impact of teacher shortages and how they intersect with principal leadership. “Positive leadership effects are shown to be the greatest in schools that are the most disadvantaged. Efforts to support quality principals where they are most needed will not only help attract and retain better teachers, it will also help to create an environment where students can succeed.”

Principal-Training Secrets Shared by the World's Top School Systems
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks reviews a new report from Marc Tucker’s National Center on Education and the Economy. “Researchers from the Australian research group Learning First analyzed principal training and development in Ontario, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. They found that the school systems, which routinely score in the top 10 in math, science, and literacy on an international test, had similar approaches to training principals.”

Burnout causing Minnesota teacher 'crisis'
KARE - Janel Klein

Janel Klein investigates a teaching ‘crisis’ facing Minnesota. “We are seeing a mass exit out of our profession,” said Denise Specht, President of Education Minnesota, the state teacher’s union. The news report summarizes the problem as: “One reason? Burnout, which a study this year by the state Department of Education shows is the top cause of teacher resignations, so much that this week's MEA conference in St. Paul has sessions on mindfulness and managing stress. But the report shows Minnesota teachers are also struggling with student debt, low pay, a lack of respect, support and mentors, combining to make what Education Minnesota now calls ‘a crisis.’”

A splintered system and lack of teachers have created instability for Detroit schools. Now, leaders are craving solutions.
Chalkbeat - Erin Einhorn

Erin Einhorn looks at the teacher shortage in Detroit Public Schools. “So many schools are looking for teachers — in August, September and throughout the year — that educators can wait for bonuses and enticements to grow before accepting an offer. And every time a teacher takes an offer and leaves, that creates a vacancy likely to be filled by a teacher from another school. That other school then has a vacancy to fill. As teachers leave, students suffer. Research shows that teachers hired during or just before the school year are less effective than those who’ve had more time to prepare and to properly learn their school’s curriculum.”

Study: Hoosier teacher shortage real: 94 percent of Indiana school superintendents reporting problems
Tribune-Star - Sue Loughlin

Sue Loughlin shares the results of an annual survey of Indiana school superintendents that found teacher shortages were prevalent across the state. “The teacher shortage is real and we continue to see the proof,” said Terry McDaniel, Indiana State University professor in the department of educational leadership. He added: “We need to continue to find ways to keep our good teachers in the profession and recruit high-quality new teachers.”

Schools Without Rules: An Orlando Sentinel Investigation
Orlando Sentinel - Leslie Postal, Beth Kassab, & Annie Martin

Leslie Postal, Beth Kassab, and Annie Martin (Orlando Sentinel) launched an investigative study of the problems facing Florida’s voucher programs. “Florida private schools rake in nearly $1 billion in state scholarships with little oversight (Part 1 of 3 Parts).”

NEPC's October Education Interview of the Month Podcast Features an Eye-Opening View of the Teaching Profession
National Education Policy Center - Greg Smith and Alyssa Hadley Dunn

Greg Smith, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education, interviewed Michigan State’s Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Assistant Professor of Education, about her recent work on teachers’ viral resignation letters. “In their studies of the letters, Professor Dunn and her colleagues found that no matter what state teachers were from or how long they had been in the profession, all were experiencing the current neoliberal policy context in much the same way. ‘They felt like learning had been reduced to teaching to the test, learning opportunities had been curtailed, and that their own voices as teachers were being continually silenced.’”

Teachers and schools are well served by teacher pensions
Economic Policy Institute - Monique Morrissey

Monique Morrissey authored a recent paper on teacher pensions and schools for the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). From the press release: “Morrissey argues that replacing teacher pensions with account-style plans such as 401(k)-style defined contribution plans and cash balance plans would not only increase retirement insecurity but would also increase teacher turnover to the detriment of students. While the existing pension system can and should be tweaked to meet today’s needs, it successfully serves the goals of attracting and retaining teachers, promoting orderly retirement, and providing retired teachers with secure lifetime incomes.”

Charter Schools in New York Can Now Certify Their Own Teachers
Education Week - Charters and Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero discusses a controversial plan in New York, which allows charter schools to train and certify their won teachers. “Under the new rules, prospective teachers are required to receive 160 hours of instruction plus 40 hours of classroom practice. A typical certification pathway in New York requires a year of coursework, reports the Wall Street Journal. Aspiring teachers on the new charter certification track will also not be required to earn a master's degree, nor will they have to take all of the state teacher certification exams, according to Chalkbeat.”

Rethinking Teacher Turnover: Longitudinal Measures of Instability in Schools
Educational Researcher - Jennifer Jellison Holme, Huriya Jabbar, Emily Germain, and John Dinning

Jennifer Jellison Holme, Huriya Jabbar, Emily Germain, and John Dinning look at patterns and causes of teacher turnover. “In this conceptual essay, we outline a typology of teacher turnover measures, discussing both measures used in existing teacher turnover literature as well as new measures that we have developed. We illustrate each of the measures using 10 years of administrative data from Texas.”

Higher Pay and Increased Responsibilities Associated with Successful Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Rural Oklahoma School Districts
IES - REL Southwest - Valeriy Lazarev, Megan Toby, Jenna Zacamy, Li Lin, and Denis Newman

Valeriy Lazarev, Megan Toby, Jenna Zacamy, Li Lin, and Denis Newman investigate indicators of successful recruitment and retention efforts in Oklahoma. “What the study found: (a) Teachers in rural school districts in Oklahoma have a shorter duration of employment than teachers in nonrural school districts; (b) Teachers in rural school districts have a 70 percent chance of reaching tenure; and (c) Rural school districts successfully recruited a lower percentage of teachers than did nonrural school districts from 2006/07 to 2011/12.”

More on Within-District 'Equity' and Charter Expansion
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker looks at equity of resources across schools within districts. “In ongoing work, Mark Weber, Ajay Srikanth and I are finding that across large school districts which have sizeable and growing charter sectors, student sorting by demographics is exacerbated and school spending variations increased. That is, expanded chartering seems to be leading to increased inequality across schools within common geographic spaces. Using data from two waves of the Civil Rights Data Collection, we again find that controlling for the factors listed previously, New York City charter schools continue to spend far more than district schools serving similar populations. Results are mixed for other settings, but inequities are inequities, in whichever direction they fall.”

School Discipline Disparities: Lessons and Suggestions
Mid-Western Educational Researcher - Daniel J. Quinn

Daniel J. Quinn of Oakland University discusses ‘School Discipline Disparities: Lessons and Suggestions’ in this brief. Recent outcomes related to school discipline, such as disparities in discipline, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the costs of suspending students in the U.S. are explored.  Recommendations focus on ways school leaders and policy makers can address inequities, as well as how school cultures can be changed to reduce the number of detentions, suspensions, and expulsions.

Crisis in teaching means crisis for Michigan's kids
The Detroit News - David Campbell

David Campbell (Kalamazoo RESA) writes about the intersection between poverty, education, and teacher shortages. “Michigan is in crisis because the teaching profession is in crisis. Hundreds of thousands of children are in schools without properly trained and resourced teachers, counselors and principals, especially in rural and urban areas. Michigan’s system of public education was not designed for this century or this global economy our children are entering.”

Teachers who leave Oklahoma make $19,000 more on average, OU researcher finds
Tulsa World - Samuel Hardiman

Samuel Hardiman reports on a recent online study from the University of Oklahoma that found teachers leaving Oklahoma can earn an average of $19,000 more in other states. “Hundreds of teachers who have left Oklahoma told a University of Oklahoma researcher the economic and personal reasons why they did. Responses boiled down to higher pay — $19,000 more on average — a lack of respect and feelings of hopelessness.”

* NEW * Autonomy and Regulation of School Choice
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - CPRE Knowledge Hub

Jonathan Supovitz interviews former New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera, National Association of Charter School Authorizers Vice President of Research & Evaluation Karega Rausch, Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee, Regional Director of the American Federation for Children Ryan Cantrell, and New Mexico House of Representatives member Dennis Roch. “In these interviews, the participants recount the status of charters, choice, and vouchers in their states, whether these elements of choice will be expanding in the future, what challenges decision-makers have encountered, how research has informed these choice policies, and whether the states have done any evaluation of the effects of choice on parents or students.”

A Guide to State ESSA Plans: Goals, Teacher Quality, and More
Education Week - Alyson Klein, Stephen Sawchuk, & Andrew Ujifusa

Alyson Klein, Stephen Sawchuk, & Andrew Ujifusa review state ESSA plans. “To date, all but two states have submitted their plans as required—more than 30 of them flooding into the Education Department this month alone. Another 14 states and the District of Columbia have already gotten the federal green light on plans submitted earlier this spring. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has only 120 days from the time a plan is deemed complete to give a state a thumbs up or down. That means there’s likely to be a spate of approvals late this fall.”

U.S. Teachers' Support of Their State Standards and Assessments: Findings from the American Teacher Panel
RAND Corporation - Julia H. Kaufman, Elaine Lin Wang, Laura S. Hamilton, Lindsey E. Thompson, Gerald Hunter

Julia Kaufman, Elaine Lin Wang, Laura Hamilton, Lindsey Thompson, and Gerald Hunter authored a new report that “explores key factors that may be related to teachers’ support - or lack of support - for their current standards and assessments.” Included in the recommendations was the following statement: “Teachers may feel less frustration with accountability requirements if they know what to expect regarding their assessments and have clear evidence that their assessments are tied closely to the standards that they are expected to teach.”

When school finance research died & why it matters #MSFRGA
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker reflects on the state of school finance and research. “To reiterate a take home point of many previous posts, equitable and adequate financing are prerequisite conditions for our education systems, regardless of how we choose to deliver those systems. System delivery may alter what’s equitable or adequate. But without rigorous and relevant analyses, we can never know how or to what extent.”

Betsy DeVos vs. the mindless mob at Harvard
American Enterprise Institute - Frederick M. Hess and Grant Addison

Rick Hess and Grant Addison reflect on a recent speech by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “Against this increasingly threadbare backdrop, DeVos delivered what is probably her best speech to date. It was a constructive, serious address from someone whose remarks have not always met that standard. DeVos spoke thoughtfully — at times, even eloquently — about how school choice empowers families, creates room for a healthful diversity, and is wholly consistent with the historic aims of public education.”

New Colleges of Education: A Path for Going from Concept to Reality
Education Reform Now - David Bergeron and Michael Dannenberg

David Bergeron and Michael Dannenberg discuss current teacher accreditation programs and raising the bar for teacher candidate outcomes tied to preparation programs. They recommend: “a new type of accreditor, not dependent on schools of education and their personnel, but instead on the employers of graduates from schools of education and teacher preparation programs, should be created. State and local superintendents of schools and charter school leaders in particular should band together to form an accreditor focused on the learning gains of elementary and secondary school students taught by the graduates of teacher preparation programs seeking accreditation and the assessments of employers of whether the graduates of teacher preparation programs are adequately prepared for classroom service.”

New report examines future trends in enrollments, teachers, high school graduates and expenditures.
Institute of Education Sciences - William J. Hussar & Tabitha M. Bailey

The National Center for Education Statistics released a new annual report entitled 'Projections of Education Statistics to 2025.' This report provides national-level data on enrollment, teachers, high school graduates, and expenditures at the elementary and secondary level and enrollment and degrees at the post secondary level for the past 15 years and projections to the year 2025.

Fixing education inequalities will require fixing broader societal inequities
Economic Policy Institute - Working Economics Blog - Emma García and Elaine Weiss

Emma García and Elaine Weiss authored a new brief that describes the type and size of early achievement gaps, trends over time, and calls attention to policies that can avert or narrow them. “If we are serious about closing these gaps, we will need to combine investments in both school and society more broadly with economic and policy changes to spread economic growth more broadly across the income distribution. Because until we tackle the huge inequities at the core of these early gaps, we will continue to live with them.”

AZ: Teachers Abandon Ship
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene shares several stories out of Arizona, which has been experiencing a significant ‘teacher shortage.’ According to Greene: “Arizona does not have a teacher shortage - what Arizona has is a shortage of people willing to work as teachers for low pay, with no support, in schools without sufficient resources. Fun fact: a Costco worker will make $12,000 more in a year than the average Arizona teacher.”

Wisconsin Teachers granted a 'Lifetime' of Deprofessionalization
Busted Pencils - Tim Slekar

Tim Slekar discusses policies affecting teachers in Wisconsin, including ‘fast track’ certification and ‘lifetime’ certificates for teachers. “Schools that have been stripped of cash over the last 6 years don’t have the financial ability to reward and compensate plans that maintain teaching as a high level profession. Therefore, teachers - that have been stripped of collective bargaining - are now going to simply morph into low paid labor.  A 'lifetime license' with no continued education, professional development requirements, and no need for districts to compensate teachers for advanced degrees is simply a license to work as a low wage laborer for the rest of your life.”

'Salaries are still low': Teacher shortage leaves schools searching for new ways to recruit
Chicago Tribune & Naperville Sun - Suzanne Baker

Suzanne Baker reports on teacher shortages in Illinois. “Colleges and universities are trying to figure out how to entice more people into the teaching careers to fill vacancies, a dilemma that down the road could pose ramifications throughout educational leadership.”

Divided by Design: Race, Neighborhoods, Wealth and Schools
Have You Heard - Podcast - Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider

Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider interview Richard Rothstein, author of the ‘Color of Law,’ to explain: how "our racially segregated zip codes were created by design, the result of federal housing policy. The legacy of those policies today is not just segregated schools, but a stark racial wealth gap. And the solution to the problem isn't choosing schools, argues Rothstein, but integrating neighborhoods."

NEWS: Pensions Improve Education Quality, Reduce Teacher Turnover
National Institute on Retirement Security - Kelly Kenneally

The National Institute on Retirement Security released a brief analyzing the effectiveness of defined benefit pensions for teacher retention and productivity. The brief finds that: “(1) Teacher effectiveness increases with experience. Thus, the more retention that we see among mid career teachers, the more that the average productivity within a school will increase; (2) The cost of teacher turnover is quite high, both in terms of financial cost and loss of productivity to the school district; (3) Defined benefit pension plans help to recruit high quality teachers, and to retain highly productive teachers longer, as compared with defined contribution (DC) accounts; (4) In 2009, DB pensions helped to retain an additional 30,000 teachers nationwide. Because longer tenured teachers are more effective teachers, the increased retention that DB pensions bring increases the overall quality of public education; (5) Because the cost of teacher turnover is substantial, the retention effects of DB pension plans also save school districts money. In 2009, DB pensions saved school districts between $131 million and $284 million nationally in teacher turnover costs.”

That Teacher Absenteeism Report
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene responds to a recent Fordham Institute report on teacher absences. “My first response this morning upon seeing this covered in EdWeek was to call it cynical bullshit, and I'll stand by that initial reaction. Not because of the data. It is what it is, with the public school figures drawn from the Office of Civil Rights, which supposedly corrects for things like maternity leave and professional days. No, I'm going to stick with ‘cynical bullshit’ because what the report, and the pitching of it, lacks anything that looks like a sincere attempt to figure out what's going on here. Instead, the whole process smacks much more of someone setting out a rack of clubs next to a bunch of baby seals. ‘We're not saying you have to club the baby seals, but if you're so inclined, there are the seals and here are some clubs. Just sayin’”

Teachers Are Quitting Because They're Dissatisfied. That's a Crisis, Scholars Say
Education Week - Teaching Now - Madeline Will

Madeline Will reviews recent commentary from a panel led by the Learning Policy Institute. “States have to look beyond the constant cycle of filling the gaps for one year, and instead create lasting change, said panelist Sharon Tomiko Santos, a Democratic state representative from Washington state.” She added: “For too long, we have been too focused on the immediate crisis at hand," she said, referring to it as "putting a Band-Aid over a gushing wound.”

The true cost of charter schools | Editorial
Philadelphia Inquirer - Sandra Shea

The Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board offered their comments in response to two studies released last week - one from Research for Action and another from the U.S. Census. “If charters were an effective alternative to public schools — the belief that led to their authorization and continued expansion  — wouldn’t we have seen a change in the poverty number? Obviously, many factors impact the poverty rate, and education is only one of them.  But it’s one we have some control over, if we fund it smartly. The state’s funding priorities — or lack of them — have served as a poison pill for public education;  lacking more scrutiny and accountability, charter school spending ensures it’s a very slow-acting one.”

Education Can't Solve Poverty - So Why Do We Keep Insisting That It Can?
AlterNet - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire talks with Harvey Kantor about how the US gave up on the idea of responding to poverty directly, instead making public schools the answer to poverty. The subheading reads, “Wages are down and unions are weaker than ever, but still the myth that education can fix poverty persists.”

Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan
09/19/2017 - Annie Waldman

Annie Waldman looks at a Florida school that converted from a charter school to a private school to take advantage of a publicly funded voucher program. “While it’s widely known that private schools convert to charter status to take advantage of public dollars, more schools are now heading in the opposite direction. As voucher programs across the country proliferate, shuttered charter schools like the Orange Park Performance Arts Academy have begun to privatize in order to stay open with state assistance. A ProPublica nationwide review found that at least 16 failing or struggling charter schools in five states—Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Georgia—have gone private with the help of publicly funded voucher programs, including 13 since 2010. Four of them specialize in the arts, including Orange Park, and five serve students with special needs.”

Who benefits from Head Start? Kids who attend - and their kids, too
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum writes about a new study of Head Start that “found that the children of kids who participated were substantially more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and less likely to commit crime and become a teen parent.” He cautions, “Since the study focuses on the effects of Head Start as it existed decades ago, it’s unclear if today’s program would have the same positive effects. Still, the research is relevant to the nationwide debate on whether to expand, maintain, or reduce spending on early childhood education.”

Where have all the teachers gone?
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Linda Darling-Hammond

Linda Darling-Hammond writes about a recent report from the Learning Policy Institute that found teacher education enrollment had dropped from 691,000 to 451,000 - a 35 percent drop from 2009 to 2014. “We look forward to the day when our growing teaching force is filled with well-prepared and strongly committed teachers, so that parents don’t have to hold their breath before the school year begins and every student can learn from an effective teacher who is happy to be there for the long haul.”

Following the Money: Twenty Years of Charter School Finances in Arizona
The Grand Canyon Institute - Dave Wells and Curtis Cardine

Dave Wells and Curtis Cardine discuss school choice and free market economic theory in Arizona’s charter school movement. “This extensively researched policy report, the first in a series of three reports, highlights some of the differences in the rules that govern public district schools and charter schools. Charter schools were given greater freedom over their budgets, staffing, curricula and other operations to foster quality improvements in the education they provide and to encourage competition.”

The Myth That Integration Only Benefits Students of Color
AlterNet - Eli Horowitz

Eli Horowitz discusses segregation and integration at school. “Quantitatively, there’s no question that integrating classrooms worked at ETHS. But beyond data, creating an environment where students from all backgrounds interact regularly has social benefits, albeit ones that are challenging to categorize.”

Teachers' Pay Lags Furthest Behind Other Professionals in U.S., Study Finds
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares the results of a new report from the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD). “U.S. teachers make less than 60 cents on every dollar made by others with their education level, the biggest gap of any OECD country. And at every grade level, U.S. teachers work longer hours than their international counterparts. In America, for example, a 7th grade teacher puts in 1,366 hours at school each year, including more than 980 hours of teaching—which is nearly 270 more hours of teaching than the international average.”

America is slowly sucking the life out of education - starting with its teachers
09/12/2017 - Jenny Anderson

Jenny Anderson reacts to a recent report from the OECD. “The US has not fallen from its perch completely. Foreign students still flock to the US: For each national student enrolled abroad, the US receives 21 international or foreign students.

But if it wants to hold its place, or even—imagine it—improve it, it needs to rethink its investment in teachers, and early childhood education.”

Parents Prefer Good Neighborhood Schools Over More Choice, Poll Finds
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Madeline Will

Madeline Will covers a new poll from the American Federation of Teachers.  “Parents most want their public schools to be safe and secure, to make sure students graduate with the knowledge and academic skills to succeed in college, and to develop students' critical thinking and reasoning skills. Parents most want teachers to understand individual needs of each child and to care about children. When asked how to improve teaching, 73 percent of parents said to treat teachers like professionals, raise hiring standards, and give new and struggling teachers more support and training. The remainder of parents said schools should regularly remove poorly performing teachers from the classroom.”

Our Children Deserve Better: A Call to Resist Washington's Dangerous Vision for U.S. Education
National Education Policy Center (NEPC) - Kevin Kumashiro

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) released a statement by Education Deans for Justice and Equity (EDJE). “Building on the 'Declaration of Principles' that was released in January of this year, the Education Deans for Justice and Equity (EDJE), in partnership with the National Education Policy Center, have prepared a new statement. 'Our Children Deserve Better' details the values that underlie our vision for education in a democratic society: protecting and nurturing our children, empowering educators, and investing in public schools. We join with countless others in demanding a better future for our children and our country, and we stand ready to collaborate with federal leaders and all who care about public education as we work to bring this vision into reality.”

Michigan Gambled on Charter Schools. Its Children Lost.
New York Times Magazine - The Education Issue - Mark Binelli

Mark Binelli discusses charter schools, Betsy DeVos, and free-market education policies in Michigan. Binelli writes, “The lack of regulation had the desired effect: Michigan became a boom state for a growing new education sector.” He adds, “Charters continue to be sold in Michigan as a means of unwinding the inequality of a public-school system in which districts across the state, overwhelmingly African-American — Detroit, Highland Park, Benton Harbor, Muskegon Heights, Flint — grapple with steep population declines, towering financial obligations, deindustrialization and the legacy of segregation. By allowing experimentation, proponents argue, and by breaking the power of teachers’ unions, districts will somehow be able to innovate their way past the crushing underfunding that afflicts majority-minority school districts all around the country.”

Test Scores Don't Tell the Whole Story (Q&A): School Success Needs a Broader Definition
Education Week - Kate Stoltzfus and Jack Schneider

Education Week’s Kate Stoltzfus interviews Jack Schneider about his new book, ‘Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality.’ In the interview, Schneider says, “For students and parents and citizens who are interested in public education, it’s about getting better at all of the things that we want to get better at, not just in this one narrow area—the acquisition of the academic content in math and English—that often produces unintended consequences like undermining the rest of the curriculum.”

Americans Have Given Up on Public Schools. That's a Mistake.
The Atlantic - Erika Christakis

Erika Christakis discusses the war on public schools. “In defending our public schools, I do not mean to say they can’t be improved. But if we are serious about advancing them, we need to stop scapegoating unions and take steps to increase and improve the teaching pool. Teacher shortages are leaving many states in dire straits: The national shortfall is projected to exceed 100,000 teachers by next year.”

How to Define Public Schooling in the Age of Choice?
Education Week - Sarah M. Stitzlein

Sarah Stitzlein looks at how we define a public school. “If we continue to focus on categorizing schools as public merely on the basis of their increasingly narrowed elements of formal operation, we will gloss over their function as places of citizenship development. We must instead concentrate on what public schools can and should provide for all students—and be careful about where we toss the label. The health of our education system and democracy depend on it.”

The Impact of the Great Recession on Student Achievement: Evidence from Population Data
SSRN - Kenneth Shores and Matthew Steinberg

Kenneth Shores and Matthew Steinberg, University of Pennsylvania, recently published ‘The Impact of the Great Recession on Student Achievement: Evidence from Population Data.’ In the abstract the authors write, “We find that the onset of the Great Recession significantly reduced student math and ELA achievement. Moreover, the recessionary effect on student achievement was concentrated among school districts serving more economically disadvantaged and minority students, indicating that the adverse effects of the recession were not distributed equally among the population of U.S. students.”

Labor Day 2017: How Unions Make Strong Schools, Strong Communities
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long writes about the impact that labor unions continue to have on schools and communities. “At the turn of the 20th century, educators could lose their jobs for getting married or getting pregnant. A hundred years later, they risked losing their jobs for not adhering to strict classroom set-up or bulletin board design rules. Who protected them? Their unions. Unions – the same people who brought us weekends and paid vacations – are just as important today as they ever were.”

What Will Tax Credit Scholarships Mean for Illinois?
WTTW - Chicago Tonight - Matt Masterson

Matt Masterson discusses the potential passage of tax credit scholarships or ‘neovouchers’ in Illinois. “Attached to the historic education funding reform bill passed both by the Illinois House and Senate is a new five-year pilot program designed to take donated funds from individuals or corporations and use them to subsidize student tuition for low-income families at private schools. The $75 million endeavor is known as a tax credit scholarship program, and it was controversial enough here in Illinois to nearly kill the entire reform bill on its own. The program, which caps individual donations at $1 million per year, is set to begin next school year.”

Illinois Plans to Use Tax Credits to Send Thousands of Students to Private School
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero reviews the passage of tax credit scholarships by Illinois lawmakers. “Such programs have become something of the education policy du jour under President Donald Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos. Folded into the larger overhaul of Illinois' education funding formula, the program will use tax credits to encourage people to donate money for low- and middle-income students to attend private schools. Tax-credit scholarships, as such programs are generally called, have also been eyed by the Trump administration as a possible model for a nationwide private school choice program.”

Secret Finding from PDK Poll: Support for Vouchers is Rising
Education Next - Paul E. Peterson

Paul Peterson writes about unexplored longer-term trends from the recent PDK poll, which found that a majority of the public still oppose the use of public funds for private schools. “The just released PDK survey of U. S. adults reveals an upward shift in public support for vouchers of 10 percentage points over the past four years, with 8 of those percentage points gained since 2015. Meanwhile, voucher opposition fell by 18 percentage points over this same four-year time period. Although this finding is not reported by PDK in this year’s analysis of its findings, it emerges sharp and clear if one takes a close look at earlier PDK poll results.”

Oklahoma Teacher Shortage Is Worsening, Administrators Say
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Liana Loewus

Liana Loewus focuses on Oklahoma’s teacher shortage. “Oklahoma — the state with the lowest average teacher pay in the country—has been particularly hard hit. The state has increasingly turned to emergency-certified teachers to fill roles. According to new data from the state school boards association, the public schools there still had more than 500 teaching vacancies as of Aug. 1—and that's despite having eliminated nearly 500 teaching positions since last year.”

Survey: Public Wants Course Correction on Schools, Says No to Vouchers
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reviews some of the findings from the latest PDK Poll. “Where does a potential national expansion of private school vouchers fit in? Vouchers have never been a popular idea with the American public who have long recognized the danger of siphoning off money for public schools to pay for private school tuition. According to the PDK survey, by a margin of 52% to 39%, Americans oppose this idea, consistent with results from previous year’s polls.”

Learning from schools that close opportunity gaps
Phi Delta Kappan Magazine - - Sarah E. LaCour, Adam York, Kevin Welner, Michelle Renée Valladares, and Linda Molner Kelley

Sarah E. LaCour, Adam York, Kevin Welner, Michelle Renée Valladares, and Linda Molner Kelley write about a special project of the National Education Policy Center: the Schools of Opportunity Project. The project “offers recognition based on a set of 10 exemplary practices. Over the project’s first two years, we have recognized 37 schools that excel in these ways, and in the process, we have learned that there is no single best approach to closing opportunity gaps; each school must meet the needs of its specific students.”

Are New Educators Exposed to a 'Burnout Contagion' in School?
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker writes about a study from Michigan State University researchers that finds teacher burnout may be contagious. “Analyzing survey data on burnout of 171 early career educators (less than four years in the classroom) and 289 experienced educators who had relationships with their younger counterparts either as mentors or as colleagues. They found a substantial link between burnout levels in new educators and burnout among their more experienced colleagues.”

Schools in poor, rural districts are the hardest hit by nation's growing teacher shortage
APM Reports - Emily Hanford

Emily Hanford reports on the nation’s growing teacher shortage from West Virginia. “As in many parts of the country, remote McDowell County in West Virginia is having a hard time finding and keeping teachers. Vacancies are often filled by substitutes unqualified for the roles they must assume, and the isolated location deters many new hires.”

2017 PDK Poll of the public's attitudes toward the public schools
PDK International - Joshua Starr

The latest PDK Poll was released this week: “The PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools has been a steady reflection of U.S. opinion about public education since 1969.”

As the year begins, the burning question on every teacher's mind: 'What should I say about Charlottesville?'
Rethinking Schools Blog - Deborah Menkart

Deborah Menkart discusses how teachers should respond to the events from Charlottesville, VA. “Our best hope for the future lies with a generation of young people who value humanity, are grounded in an honest understanding of U.S. history, think critically and have the skills and vision to shape a better future. Let’s ensure that our children learn to read, write, and change the world.”

How Redlining's Racist Effects Lasted for Decades
New York Times - The Upshot - Emily Badger

Emily Badger looks at how housing policy has had a lasting impact on segregation in America. “The new research reaffirms the role of government policy in shaping racial disparities in America in access to housing, credit and wealth accumulation. And as the country grapples with the blurred lines between past racism and present-day outcomes, this new data illustrates how such history lives on.”

Report: Schools Are Being Duped by Marketers on Personalized Learning
The Journal - Sri Ravipati

Sri Ravipati summarizes a recent report from the National Education Policy center on the impact of commercialization and marketing in schools. “The researchers found that education policymaking is falling short of its duty to protect students’ personal data and have outlined several recommendations for policymakers. Many of the recommendations seem standard: Legislatures should barr schools from collecting student personal data unless safeguards are used. They should also hold school, districts and ed tech companies accountable for violations of student privacy.”

Don't Complain About Charter Schools, Compete With Them
Education Next - Arun Ramanathan

Arun Ramanathan discusses the battle over charter schools in the U.S. “In their rush to score cheap political points, both camps sidestep the reality that districts and charters are in a high-stakes competition for students. The truth is that unilateral opposition to charters has never stopped them from growing, just like it hasn’t stopped thousands of parents from enrolling their children in private schools or finding ways to get them into neighboring school districts. The futures of local charters and districts hinge on the same thing—the decisions parents make for their children.”

Tweaking Charter Marketing
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene writes about recent polling that showed a drop in public support for charter schools. "Education does not begin with parent rights, nor are they a core principle of education. It serves the narrative of privatizers to talk about education as if it were a commodity sold to parents, like diapers or Aeropestale hoodies, but it is not, and it never has been. Education is a public trust, a system that serves, yes, parents, but also future employers, neighbors, fellow voters, and most of all, the students themselves."

Americans' Satisfaction With Schools Edges Up From 2016
Gallup - Art Swift

Art Swift highlights recent survey results that find Americans are more satisfied with the quality of their schools than they were a year ago. “Although satisfaction recovered this year from a downtick in 2016, the current 47% is on par with where it has been for the past 12 years. Since Gallup began asking this question in 1999, U.S. adults generally have been more likely to say they are dissatisfied than satisfied with the state of K-12 education, with satisfaction levels typically in the 40% to 50% range.”

Survey: Quality Professional Development Still Out of Reach for Teachers
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker summarizes findings from a nationwide survey of educators about professional development opportunities. “The [survey] report recommends that schools embed continual professional development throughout the school year, citing instructional coaching and professional learning communities as proven and effective models. Because the majority of educators surveyed believe their school leaders consider them capable of leadership roles, the report urges administrators to build on this trust and provide teachers with 'more voice and choice' in professional development.”

Characteristics of Public Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in the United States: Results From the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey
Institute for Education Sciences - National Center for Education Statistics

A report from the “First Look” statistics from the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey - Public School Teacher Data File.

The 2017 EdNext Poll on School Reform: Public thinking on school choice, Common Core, higher ed, and more
Education Next - Martin R. West, Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson and Samuel Barrows

Martin R. West, Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson and Samuel Barrows discuss the findings from the latest EdNext Poll on School Reform. The report covers 10 main topics: (1) school choice; (2) common core; (3) Federalism; (4) teacher policies; (5) the Trump effect; (6) immigration and English-only instruction; (7) technology; (8) religious after school student clubs; (9) parents’ aspirations for their children’s higher education; and (10) varying views by level of education.

Yes, Race and Politics Belong in the Classroom: Ten tips for teachers to engage students in difficult conversations
Education Week - Commentary - H. Richard Milner IV

Rich Milner provides advice and assistance for teachers seeking to engage students in discussions related to race and politics. “With appropriate tools, we as educators have an opportunity to build lessons that connect to students’ interests and, perhaps, shepherd them into becoming deeply engaged citizens who work against racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.”

Union Reform and Teacher Turnover: Evidence from Wisconsin's Act 10
Harvard University - Jonathan Roth

Jonathan Roth, Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, authored this working paper on teacher attrition in Wisconsin after Act 10. “I find that student academic performance increased in grades with teachers who retired following the reform, and I obtain similar results when instrumenting for retirement using the pre-existing age distribution of teachers. Differences in value-added between retirees and their replacements can potentially explain some, but not all, of the observed academic improvements.”

Where Do Achievement Gaps Come From?
Albert Shanker Institute - Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt DiCarlo's recent blog is a reaction to an analysis by David Figlio and Krzystof Karbownik, which attempted to uncover why some schools are better at closing the achievement gap than others. DiCarlo writes, “…it is misleading and potentially damaging to hold a school accountable for the persistence of that [achievement] gap in later grades – particularly in cases where public policy has failed to provide the extra resources and supports that might help lower-performing students make accelerated achievement gains every year. In addition, the coarseness of current educational variables, particularly those usually used as income proxies, limits the detail and utility of some subgroup measures.”

Why the NAACP said 'enough' to school privatization
Salon - Rann Miller

Rann Miller discusses the NAACP’s new report on charter schools, which calls for tighter regulation and an end to for-profit schools. “Charter advocates and school choice proponents painted the NAACP as out of touch, or worse, doing the bidding of the teachers unions. These critics are missing what’s most important about the civil rights group’s strong statement. School privatization has allowed state governments to avoid their obligation to educate children of color, especially the poor. The NAACP said ’enough’ this week.”

When Privatization Means Segregation: Setting the Record Straight on School Vouchers
Dissent Magazine - Leo Casey

Leo Casey discusses the issue of private school vouchers. “Try as privatization advocates might, there is no getting around the segregationist history of school vouchers in the United States. From Milton Friedman to the recalcitrant white elites of Prince Edward County and the legislators they voted in, the forerunners of today’s ‘school choice’ movement understood their freedom as the freedom to deny others an equal education. That history continues into the present: empirical studies of voucher programs in the United States and internationally show that they increase segregation in schools."

The complications of state-level education policymaking
American Enterprise Institute - Andy Smarick

Andy Smarick looks at state-level education policymaking in the current policy climate. “It is sometimes said that the last 15 years of federal over-activity in education caused ‘learned helplessness’ among state policymakers — they don’t know what to do or are afraid to do it because of Uncle Sam’s intrusiveness. I, respectfully, disagree.”

The predictable result of demonizing teachers: Detroit schools face massive teacher shortage
Eclectablog - Chris Savage

Chris Savage writes about a looming teacher shortage in Detroit. “If you’ve been watching the ever-increasing demonization of teachers in Michigan over the past decade, you probably have asked yourself at one time or another, ‘Why the hell would ANYONE want to be a teacher in Michigan?’”

States' New Plans for Complying with the Every Student Succeeds Act Confirms Just How Little the Law Expects of States
Education Law Professor Blog - Derek Black

Derek Black looks at the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “In the end, these plans reveal the central flaw in the ESSA:  its success rests on the extent to which states are willing to engage in good faith efforts to provide equal and adequate opportunities.  As NPR writes, parents must simply trust their states.  Unfortunately, recent history reveals there is almost no reason to place this faith in states.  They have slashed public education budgets, manipulated test scores, and watched school segregation increase.”

CREDO Charter School Studies' 'X Days Of Learning' Conversion: Still Unvalidated
Jersey Jazzman - Mark Weber

Mark Weber writes about a recent CREDO report on charter schools from Texas. “In the case of the CREDO reports, avoiding a validity argument for presenting effect sizes in ‘days of learning’ has led to media reports on the effects of charter schools and policy decisions regarding charter proliferation that are based on conclusions that have not been validated. That is not to say these decisions are necessarily harmful; rather, that they are based on a reporting of the effects of charter schools that avoided having to make an argument for the validity of using test scores.”

Louisiana teachers to face tougher job reviews in new school year under controversial evaluations
The Advocate - Will Sentell

Will Sentell discusses controversial teacher evaluations in Louisiana. “After a four-year moratorium, around 15,000 of the state's roughly 50,000 teachers will again have their annual job reviews linked to how students fare on key tests.”

Performance Pay Law Not Paying Off for Top-Rated Teachers, According to Report
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Brenda Iasevoli

Brenda Iasevoli shares the findings from a recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) on pay-for-performance for teachers in Florida. The report found that pay increases for educational attainment had  outpaced performance pay. The report also found that with 98 percent of the teachers earning effective or highly effective ratings the rewards were relatively easy to get. Researcher Matthew Springer responded in the article: “Now, maybe all teachers deserve more pay in Florida. I'm not going to weigh in on that. But if the intent of the system is to reward and recognize the highest performers and somehow fundamentally alter the quality of those labor markets, then yeah, we wouldn't expect that 98 percent of teachers hit that mark.”

Who suffers when charter schools fail? (HINT: It's not the banks or the authorizers)
Eclectablog - Chris Savage

Chris Savage writes about what happens when charter schools fail. He writes, “I’d say this is a ‘cautionary tale’ about the disastrous trend of putting charter schools in charge of public education but we’ve gone far beyond cautionary tales. It’s clear that far too many of these charter schools and their management companies, most of which are for-profit, don’t see education as a social good for them to foster, nurture, and encourage. Rather, it’s just one more way to siphon public education tax dollars into the coffers of corporations. Just because Matchbook Learning is a rare charter management company that is not for-profit doesn’t mean that they and their creditors didn’t hope to enrich themselves by investing in education.”

Fewer college students want to be teachers, and why it matters (searchable database)
Bridge Magazine - Nancy Nall Derringer

Nancy Derringer writes about teacher-prep programs in Michigan enrolling fewer students since 2008-9. “The latest data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title II program, which supports teacher training and professional development, show enrollment in teacher prep at the college level is falling, sharply in some states. In Michigan, 11,099 students were enrolled in the state’s 39 teacher-prep programs in 2014-15, the most recent data available. That is a 3,273-student decline from just two years previous, in 2012-13. Since 2008, the total number of Michigan college students studying to become a teacher is down more than 50 percent.”

State Accountability Plans Fix Many NCLB-Era Mistakes
Education Next - Brandon Wright and Mike Petrilli

Brandon Wright and Mike Petrilli share the findings of a new report from the Fordham Institute that analyzed the first 17 ESSA accountability plans. They based their ratings on three measures and graded them strong, medium or weak. They conclude, “Will the remaining states do even better? We see no reason that they cannot, and we’ll be back in the autumn to find out how they do.”

Retaining minority teachers in schools where most of their colleagues are white
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Steven Bednar & Dora Gicheva

Steven Bednar and Dora Gicheva discuss how minority teachers are underrepresented in elementary and secondary schools. “In a new study, we strive to identify practices that are successful in retaining minority teachers, particularly in schools where they are underrepresented. Social identity theory and theories of the isolation postulate that individuals are less content when they are part of a group in which they are a numerical minority. In other words, teachers are predictably more likely to seek employment elsewhere when there is a pronounced mismatch between their race or ethnicity and the racial or ethnic composition of the rest of the school’s staff.”

What Works?: Research on Educational Leadership, Policy and Literacy in Black & Brown Communities
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig shares the responses of several nationally recognized professors regarding educational leadership, policy, and literacy in black and brown communities. The research citations and responses come from: Noelle Witherspoon Arnold, Ohio State University; Julian Vasquez Heilig, California State University Sacramento; Lorri J. Santamaría The University of Auckland, New Zealand; and Ty-Ron M. O. Douglas, University of Missouri, Columbia.

Exposure to Same-Race Teachers and Student Disciplinary Outcomes for Black Students in North Carolina
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis - Constance A. Lindsay & Cassandra M. D. Hart

Constance Lindsay and Cassandra Hart explore the impact of same-race teachers on Black students regarding exclusionary discipline. “We find consistent evidence that exposure to same-race teachers is associated with reduced rates of exclusionary discipline for Black students. This relationship holds for elementary, middle, and high school grade ranges for male and female students, and for students who do and do not use free and reduced-price lunch.”

These 6 themes emerged when we asked Michigan teachers about their pay
Michigan Radio - Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer Guerra writes about a survey of Michigan Public Radio listeners that asked teachers how they have seen their pay change in recent years; the survey revealed six dominant themes.

Teachers of color departing Cambridge, citing hostile workplace, failed intentions: Workforce doesn't match student body in progressive district
Cambridge Day - Jean Cummings

Jean Cummings writes about racial disparities in schools and the departure of three teachers of color from several schools in Cambridge, MA. “While 78 percent of Cambridge Public School teachers are white, just around 40 percent of the student body is. At the high school, where 30 percent of this year’s 2,000 high school students are African-American, Allen reported that as of October there were 48 teachers of color at CRLS – 22 percent of the more than 200 full-time equivalent teachers in the school. There are no black men teaching the core academic courses at the school and just two or three black male teachers in the whole school, depending on how ‘teacher’ is defined: Non-permanent staff are not counted by the administration.”

Michigan dumps its school ranking system in favor of 'dashboard'
Michigan Radio - Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer Guerra looks at how Michigan’s school accountability system will be changed. “Michigan will no longer rank schools based on test scores. The state is working on a new accountability system as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new federal education law that goes into effect this coming school year.”

Florida's education system - the one Betsy DeVos cites as a model - is in chaos
The Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Valerie Strauss writes about school reforms in Florida. “Traditional public school districts are trying to absorb the loss of millions of dollars for the new school year that starts within weeks. That money, which comes from local property taxes, is used for capital funding, but now must be shared with charter schools as a result of a widely criticized $419 million K-12 public education bill crafted by Republican legislative leaders in secret and recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott — at a Catholic school.”

DeVos Needs to Offer Principled Clarity on ESSA
Education Next - Max Eden

Max Eden writes about the role that the U.S. Department of Education should play in guiding state education policy under ESSA (the Every Student Succeeds Act). “Limited government requires clear fixed rules, flexibility beyond them, and no specter of arbitrary executive interpretation. DeVos doesn’t need to issue hundreds of pages of guidance to set matters straight. But at this point, effective leadership will require more clear and direct communication than we’ve yet seen, and the U.S. Department of Education should resolve lingering confusion by making a clear statement of principles.”

When 'Miracle' Charter Schools Shed Students
Jersey Jazzman - Mark Weber

Mark Weber reacts to an NBC story about a “successful” charter school in Philadelphia. He writes: “… you really can't make a comparison between two schools and call one ‘successful’ without taking into account the differences in resources available to both. Philadelphia's public school district has been chronically underfunded for years. It's hardly fair for Boys Latin to collect millions in extra revenue, then brag about their college persistence rate compared to schools that don't have enough funding to provide an adequate education.”

Researchers Push Back As Betsy DeVos, ALEC Advance Virtual School Expansion
EdSurge - Jenny Abamu

Jenny Abamu writes about the protests at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). “ALEC works with legislators, nonprofits and corporations to introduce legislation that affects education.”

Teacher Tests Test Teachers: The practice of evaluating teachers by their students' performance on standardized tests is coming under serious challenge.
American Prospect - Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel Cohen writes about value-added modeling (VAM), a controversial statistical method aimed at isolating a teacher’s effectiveness based on their students’ standardized test scores. “While the future of using value-added measures in teacher evaluations is unclear, some researchers have been advocating alternative ideas. One would be to use the statistical growth measures as a diagnostic tool, a preliminary screening test to help identify which districts, schools, and classrooms warrant closer attention.”

Teacher Pay Penalty Driving Educators Away From Profession
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long writes about teacher pay and the factors that keep aspiring teachers out of the profession. “Educator salaries across all the professions have never truly recovered from the recession-driven hit they took in the last few years, but a new study by the Economic Policy Institute provides some new insights particularly on K-12 classroom teachers.”

Unable to Solve Teacher Pay Issue, Oklahoma Will Promote Recruitment, Retention
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Emmanuel Felton

Emmanuel Felton writes about a proposal to pay teachers more in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has been singled out for its low pay for teachers and high turnover in recent months. Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, the state chapter of the National Education Association, told the Enid News & Eagle: “This is just a gimmick.”

Ohio's Online Charter Scandal Is a Warning to the Nation
The Progressive - Jan Ressenger

Jan Ressenger writes about Ohio’s Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), which has been at the center of a school funding scandal. “Telling the truth about Ohio's charter school corruption is only a start. As lawmakers sort out ways to effectively address the political cronyism behind these schools, what should be abundantly clear to the state and the nation is that continuing to expand charters will only worsen the problem.”

Charter Schools: Who Is Working Together to Improve Them?
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig writes about his participation in NEA's charter school task force. At its Representative Assembly, the NEA adopted a new policy statement. “The new policy lays out three criteria charter schools must meet to provide students with the support and learning environments they deserve. The first is that charter schools should only be authorized by a local and democratically accountable authorizing entity - i.e. a local school district - so that local school officials can closely monitor charter performance, and spread any potential innovations to local public schools. The statement also calls for an empirical assessment of how a new charter school will serve to improve the local public system before any charter enters a community.”

How Can Schools Make a Firebreak for Teacher Burnout?
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah D. Sparks writes about a new study on teacher burnout and school environments. “The findings suggest that improving schoolwide climate and resources may be more helpful than focusing primarily on teacher-induction programs to retain new teachers. That may also buffer students against teacher stress, which prior research suggests can hurt student learning and behavior and create another burnout cycle for teachers.”

Performance lagging at Michigan's virtual schools, study finds
MLive - Brian McVicar

Brian McVicar discusses new research from the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute on the lackluster performance of virtual schools. “The study lays out a series of other recommendations for virtual schools, including why they ‘perform poorly under a college- and career-ready accountability system and how their performance can be improved prior to expansion.’ Policymakers also should ‘define certification training and relative teacher licensure requirements specific to teaching in virtual schools’ and ‘require research-based professional development to promote effective online teaching models.’”

Worth A Read will return July 7, 2017
Great Lakes Center - Daniel J. Quinn

Worth A Read, a service of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, will return on July, 7, 2017. We hope you will continue to read our weekly selection of thought-provoking research and commentary focused on education reform and education policy.

Teacher Quality and Teacher Mobility
Education Finance and Policy - Li Feng and Tim R. Sass

Li Feng and Tim Sass, using teacher value added (VAM), investigate teacher quality and teacher mobility in Florida. “We find that top-quartile and bottom-quartile teachers exit at a higher rate than do average-quality teachers… We also find some evidence of assortative matching among teachers—more productive reading/language arts teachers are more likely to stay in teaching if they have more productive peer teachers.”

Community Schools: The Solution to Education Reform Divide
Huffington Post - Martin J. Blank

Marty Blank writes about the power of community schools. “Community Schools are public schools – hubs of their neighborhood, uniting families, educators and community partners to provide all students with top-quality academics, enrichment, health and social services, and opportunities to learn and thrive in school and in life. They are an effective strategy for all schools, particularly for low performing schools; and they are an alternative to closing schools in impoverished neighborhoods.”

ESSA: An Opportunity For Research-Practice Partnerships To Support Districts And States
Albert Shanker Institute - Bill Penuel and Caitlin C. Farrell

Bill Penuel and Caitlin Farrell discuss the role of research-practice partnerships under ESSA. “Our book chapter in 'Teaching in Context: The Social Side of Reform' presents a number of scenarios where long-term research-practice partnerships (RPPs) have helped districts select, adapt, and design evidence-based programs. RPPs are long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between practitioners and researchers around problems of practice. This promising strategy has been growing in popularity in recent years, and there is now even a network of RPPs to support exchange among them.”

'A Failed and Damaging Experiment:' NEA Takes on Unaccountable Charter Schools
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker writes about the NEA’s new policy statement on charter schools. “At its annual meeting on Tuesday, the educators of the National Education Association drew a sharp new line between charter schools that have a positive effect on public education and those unaccountable, privately managed charter schools that hurt public schools and students. A new policy statement adopted by the assembly denounces unaccountable charters as a ‘failed and damaging experiment,’ and calls for a stop to the proliferation of such schools by supporting state and local efforts to hold charters accountable, to preserve funding for public schools, and to organize charter educators.”

Why Your ESSA Plan Is Nonsense
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene reacts to a recent blog written by EdWeek’s Andrew Ujifusa, ‘Here’s Why You Can’t Understand Your State’s New Plan for Education.’ He writes, “It's not complicated. Master Plans for Education, both Great and Small, are almost always nonsense because they are written by bureaucrats, not educators.”

Upstate/Downstate: School Effectiveness in Illinois
Center for Urban Education Leadership - Paul Zavitkovsky and Steven Tozer

Paul Zavitkovsky and Steven Tozer authored a new report, ‘Upstate/Downstate: Changing Patterns of Achievement, Demographics and School Effectiveness in Illinois Public Schools,’ which looks at trends in local and regional achievement in Illinois. “Race and family income still predict standardized test scores with remarkable accuracy in most school districts.  But Upstate/Downstate offers new evidence that changes in school effectiveness - what schools and districts do to improve their impact on student and adult learning - can play as powerful a role in local and regional achievement as race and family income do.”

Twitter chat: Solving our nation's #teachershortage
Center for Teaching Quality - Staff

“In a joint Twitter chat, CTQ [the Center for Teaching Quality] is teaming up with the Learning Policy Institute [LPI] and educators who took part in the most recent roundtable blogging discussion to explore the implications teacher shortages have on the teaching and learning for all students.” The Twitter chat will take place July 12 at 4:00 pm.

How State Education Agencies Can Support College and Career Ready Standards
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - Emily Hodge, Serena Salloum, Susanna Benko

Emily Hodge, Serena Salloum, Susanna Benko authored a policy brief describing how state education agencies can support high quality instruction. “The brief reports findings about the types of resources, Race to the Top, Common Core, and state connections. Because all states have adopted college and career-ready standards, and most states continue to implement some version of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), many SEAs can now share resources with each other and draw on materials from the numerous organizations providing CCSS resources.”

First study of Indiana's voucher program - the country's largest - finds it hurts kids' math skills at first, but not over time
Chalkbeat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum highlights a new analysis of Indiana’s school voucher program. “The study, obtained by Chalkbeat, shows that students using a voucher saw math achievement fall on average, though students who remained in [a] private school for four years improved to match or outperform public school students in math and English.”

Voucher Studies in Louisiana, Indiana Show Problems in Early Years
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks reviews recent research from Louisiana and Indiana on the impact of vouchers and school choice. “In Louisiana, researchers from the University of Arkansas found students statewide who switched from public to private schools using the Louisiana Scholarship Program's lottery showed no benefit in language arts or math after three years, compared to students who remained in public school. Students showed a significant drop in performance in their first year—25 percentile points on average in math—but began to recover over the next two years in their new school.”

The Teacher Testimony Project: Mobilizing And Lifting The Voices Of Teachers Of Color
Albert Shanker Institute - Conra D. Gist

Conra D. Gist shares how 'Teachers of Color' add to the teaching profession and how teacher testimonies can help lift the experiences of Teachers of Color. “The production of knowledge about their lived experiences interrupted narratives of inadequacy with counter-narratives of abundance and possibility.  The testimony development process functioned as a witness of how alternative methodologies and pedagogies can be taken up as transformative tools when working with and for Teachers of Color.”

Lean On Me: How Mentors Help First-Year Teachers
NEA Today - Mary Ellen Flannery

Mary Ellen Flannery writes about teacher mentors and how mentors can help reduce teacher turnover, teacher churn. The Brevard Federation of Teachers (BFT) is using a grant from the NEA Great Public Schools fund to create a “teacher-led, union run orientation program, and creat[ing] meaningful mentorships between new and veteran teachers.”

Student Vouchers Aren't Working. Here's Why
Education Week - Christopher Lubienski & Sarah Theule Lubienski

Chris Lubienski and Sara Theule Lubienski tackle the issue of school choice and voucher studies. They raise a number of questions, including: “Do we, as parents, taxpayers, and voters, want to fund programs that elevate choice, but lead to detrimental outcomes for children? Is choice a means or an end? Do we want choice for its own sake, or do we want it to improve achievement for all children?”

How generous private donations have created a tale of two pre-Ks in Detroit
Chalkbeat - Erin Einhorn

Erin Einhorn writes about two pre-kindergarten classrooms in Detroit. “The tale of two pre-Ks at the Carver STEM Academy is a problem well known in high-poverty school districts like Detroit that rely on the generosity of corporate and philanthropic donations to pick up where government resources leave off. Districts are happy to accept gifts from private donors - baseball tickets or classroom supplies or money for school renovations. But inevitably, there’s not enough to go around. Schools then have to choose.”

Beyond the test score horse race: 5 big questions researchers are asking about charter schools
Chalk Beat - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum discusses a movement by some researchers to "move beyond test scores" to see how charter schools affect communities. “Studies of New Orleans’ public school system, which is composed of nearly all charters, have shown that expansion of charters (as well as a number of other reforms) led to large gains in student achievement, but also caused modest increases in racial segregation in city high schools.”

Here's How 17 States Plan to Fix Struggling Schools
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa shares Education Week’s up-to-date review of state ESSA school improvement plans. Included in the blog are links to all 17 of the submitted state plans with commentary.

What to know before using school ratings tools from real estate companies
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss

Jack Schneider tackles how websites like Zillow and Trulia use ratings to evaluate schools and neighborhoods. “Americans traffic regularly in bad data, or use otherwise reasonable data in highly problematic ways. Newspapers print rank-ordered lists of schools organized by average test score, as if somehow that tells us about school quality. Parents share opinions via word-of-mouth, often without ever having visited a school. And the state, which bears particular responsibility in all of this, punishes and stigmatizes low-scoring schools despite compelling research questioning the wisdom of such policies. All of this could be ameliorated by better data systems.”

The Trust Gap: Understanding the Effects of Leadership Churn in School Districts
The American Educator - Kara S. Finnigan and Alan J. Daly

Kara Finnigan and Alan Daly write about how positive relationships in school can build reciprocal trust in schools, which is earned over time. “In this article, we argue that studying churn among central office leaders and school principals can improve retention of high-quality leaders who can better support teachers.” 

Why schools still can't put segregation behind them
The Conversation - Derek Black

Derek Black writes about segregation, inequality, and the law. “In my view, we cannot fix those systems by way of more individual choice, charters, vouchers or school district secessions. The fact is, educational funding is down across the board, when compared to a decade ago. If we want all students to have a decent shot at better education, we need to recommit to statewide systems of public education. Only then will our base fears and racial biases begin to fade into the background.”

How for-profit charter schools are ripping off California taxpayers
The Sacramento Bee - Op-Ed - Kevin McCarty and Joshua Pechthalt

Kevin McCarty and Josua Pechthalt write about corporations expanding their ownership and operation of charter schools in California. A new Assembly Bill (406) “would prohibit for-profit corporations from operating public charter schools. The bill was approved by the Assembly on Wednesday and now heads to the state Senate.”

How States Are Approaching School Accountability
Education Post - Lane Wright

Lane Wright looks at the states’ accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “For the 17 plans submitted, this brief highlights the trends in three of the most important parts of any plan: counting students, the ‘other’ school quality factor, and the rating system.”

States Move From ESSA Planning to ESSA Training
Education Week - State Ed Watch - Daarel Burnette II

Daarel Burnette II discusses how states are planning to implement ESSA. “As we learned with the Common Core State Standards, how district administrators receive and implement new accountability systems matters greatly. While a policy may look good on paper, whether teachers, principals, and superintendents have the right tools, staff, and training to collect the right data, fill out the right forms, and use school intervention methods as intended will determine whether state plans ultimately improve student outcomes.”

Effective Teacher Professional Development
Learning Policy Institute - Linda Darling-Hammond, Maria E. Hyler, and Madelyn Gardner

Linda Darling-Hammond, Maria E. Hyler, Madelyn Gardner published a recent report on effective teacher professional development for the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). “But what constitutes effective professional development? That’s the question we set out to answer in this report, which reviews 35 methodologically rigorous studies that have demonstrated a positive link between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes. We identify key features of effective efforts and offer rich descriptions of these models to inform education leaders and policymakers seeking to leverage professional development to improve student learning.”

Experts Discuss How to Find - and Keep - Teachers of Color
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long reviews a session at the 2017 Education Writers Association National Seminar. The topics of the conference included fixing the ways in which schools are organized, teacher turnover, retention, and inclusion. NEA’s vice president, Becky Pringle, discussed her organization’s commitment to improve equity, access, and working conditions for teachers of color.

States Struggle to Define 'Ineffective Teachers' Under ESSA
Education Week - Daarel Burnette II

Daarel Burnette writes about teacher evaluations under ESSA. “About a third of the states have submitted their ESSA plans so far, and their approaches in this area vary widely.”

Beware of School Voucher Doublespeak
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker digs into a speech by Betsy DeVos that outlined her goals to shift massive amounts of taxpayer money away from public schools to private religious schools. “The intent is to obscure the fact that these spruced up proposals still produce the same result: less taxpayer money for public schools, more taxpayer money for unaccountable private schools that can, and do, discriminate.”

Improving Accountability Measurement Under ESSA
Shanker Blog - Matt Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses school accountability and non-tested indicators of school quality in the ESSA era. “There are no easy answers here, and non-test indicators are still something of a measurement frontier. But adopting non-test measures won’t be much of an accomplishment if we use them in the same misguided way we’ve been using test-based measures.”

Some states make great progress, while children in other states are left behind
National Institute for Early Education Research - W. Steven Barnett, Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, G.G. Weisenfeld, Michelle Horowitz, Richard Kasmin, & James H. Squires

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released ‘The State of Preschool 2016,’ the latest edition of its annual yearbook profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the U.S. “Nationwide, state-funded preschool program enrollment reached an all-time high, serving nearly 1.5 million children, 32 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. State funding for preschool rose 8 percent to about $7.4 billion, a $564 million increase. State funding per child increased to $4,976, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time. Six state funded preschool programs met all 10 current quality standards benchmarks. Nine states had programs that met fewer than half; and seven states do not fund preschool at all.”

NASBE Identifies Pros and Cons of Fifth Indicators
National Association of State Boards of Education - Don Long, Kimberly Charis, Daniel J. Losen, Sarah-Jane Lorenzo, Maya Boddie, & Abigail Potts

A new series of policy updates from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE): “explores the pros and cons of five frequently discussed indicators: career and technical education, school climate and student discipline, social and emotional learning, chronic absenteeism, and access to high-level course work. The brief highlights what states have proposed in their ESSA plans so far and offers key considerations for state boards that are refining their plans for September submission.”

Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality
Harvard University Press - Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider has written a new book on test scores, however, he thinks it is time to move past these metrics rethink the entire accountability system used in schools. “‘Beyond Test Scores’ reframes current debates over school quality by offering new approaches to educational data that can push us past our unproductive fixation on test scores. Using the highly diverse urban school district of Somerville, Massachusetts, as a case study, Schneider and his research team developed a new framework to more fairly and comprehensively assess educational effectiveness. And by adopting a wide range of measures aligned with that framework, they were able to more accurately capture a broader array of school strengths and weaknesses. Their new data not only provided parents, educators, and administrators with a clearer picture of school performance, but also challenged misconceptions about what makes a good school.”

Mandatory Retention Laws Are Failing Students
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez discusses the retention of third grade students, which has become policy in 16 states plus Washington, D.C. “Unless exceptions are made, students most likely to suffer from these laws are students of color, students living in poverty, English language learners, and students with special needs.”

The California Districts With a Leg-Up on ESSA
Inside Sources - Leo Doran

Leo Doran looks at nonacademic indicators of student success, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and how California has been compiling data on new student metrics for several years. Eight California districts, known as the CORE districts, have been using "school climate surveys, rates of chronic absenteeism, and the social emotional mindsets of their students" in their accountability programs.  Also, "The districts were also promising to lower the number of students enrolled necessary to trigger special disaggregated reporting for sub-group status from 100 to 20, which was seen as an important protection for minority or historically marginalized student groups.”

School choice policies may impact segregation and diversity of public schools
Penn State University - Kristie Auman-Bauer

Kristie Auman-Bauer writes about Erica Frankenberg’s work at the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State. According to an interview with Frankenberg, “the new generation of school choice policies adopted in response to legal decisions may actually be increasing school inequalities, despite their goals of maintaining integrated schools.”

Statement from Chiefs for Change on school choice
Chiefs for Change - Press Release

Chiefs for Change, a coalition of choice supporting, reform-minded state education Chiefs and district superintendents, issued a statement on the proposed federal expansion of school choice. The statement, while arguing for more choice, calls for improving the quality of choices available to students, equitable access for students, and equitable resources across.

Teacher Shortages: Top 10 Ideas from the First State ESSA Plans
American Institutes for Research - Policy Center - Ellen Sherratt

Ellen Sherratt reviews state plans to address teacher shortages under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “As the remainder of states prepare to submit their plans in September, it will be interesting to see what other strategies emerge to address the critical challenge of teacher shortages. More important, it will be critical for states and stakeholders to reprioritize this issue — through task forces, bold policies, and innovative initiatives—once the ESSA plans dust has settled.”

NYT: Value Not Added
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene discusses a recent article from the New York Times on Value-Added Measuring of teacher performance. “You'll never find me arguing against any accountability; taxpayers (and I am one) have the right to know how their money is spent. But Sander's work ultimately wasted a lot of time and money and produced a system about as effective as checking toad warts under a full moon - worse, because it looked all number and sciencey and so lots of suckers believed in it. Carey can be the apologist crafting it all into a charming and earnest tale, but the bottom line is that VAM has done plenty of damage, and we'd all be better off if Sanders had stuck to his radioactive cows.”

Segregation still prevalent in Indiana schools, data show
Indiana University - Jodi S. Moon & Lauren Krull

Jodi S. Moon and Lauren Krull investigated school segregation in Indiana for the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) at Indiana University. “Although Indiana has seen rapid growth in the enrollment of nonwhite students, overall interactions between white and nonwhite students remain low. For example, the average black student in Indiana attends a school where 68 percent of the students are nonwhite, while the average white student in Indiana attends a school where 19 percent of the students are nonwhite.”

The Takeover Lie
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene discusses school takeovers as a school reform strategy. He concludes, “The heart of the takeover idea is that there are people out there who know special secrets - how to educate students, how to run schools, how to do it all for less money - that somehow nobody in public education knows. But we've had these companies in business for years now, and there's no reason to believe that the heart of the takeover idea is anything but a profitable falsehood.”

Toward Equity and Coherence? California's Funding Formula in Year 3
Education Week - On California - LCFF Research Collaborative

The Local Control Funding Formula Research Collaborative recently released a report on the implementation of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). “After three years of following the implementation of the LCFF and hundreds of interviews with district officials, principals, teachers, school board members, parents, union officials, and community organizations, we have yet to find anyone who wants to return to the old categorical system of school funding.  At the same time, we have encountered a fair amount of confusion and apprehension about whether districts are moving quickly enough to realize the equity intent of the law, which was the reason for including S & C funds in LCFF in the first place.”

Cracking the teacher recruitment and retention code
Center for Teaching Quality - Justin Minkel

Justin Minkel writes about teacher retention, recruitment, and rewards. “I teach in a school that is 99% poverty yet has virtually 0% turnover. See if you can figure out which of the following are responsible for so many skilled teachers choosing to teach at Jones Elementary, a school where virtually every child lives in poverty.”

How Did Chronic Absenteeism Become a Thing?
Education Next - Phyllis W. Jordan

Phyllis Jordan, FutureEd’s editorial director, discusses how student chronic absenteeism became so popular among states seeking to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “In some ways, the push for tracking chronic absenteeism benefitted from timing, given the increased emphasis on education data and the ESSA’s commitment to going beyond test scores to measure school success. But it also shows the value of building support for an idea locally, getting buy-in from stakeholders and experimenting at the state level before making a move nationally. In a time of gridlock in Washington, this might just be the right model to pursue.”

Nation's 'Report Card' Looks At Student Achievement in Visual Arts, Music
NEA Today - Nicolle Schorchit

Nicolle Schorchit writes about recent findings of the national assessment of students’ performance in visual and music arts (using information from the NAEP). Some of the findings include: "In both music and visual arts: Female students scored higher on average than their male peers; Students not eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) scored higher on average than eligible students; and Students in suburban schools scored higher on average than those in city schools."

Indiana Virtual Charter School Escapes the Ax Again, Despite Poor Academic Record
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero discusses the poor performance of a virtual charter school in Indiana, which was kept open by the state. "Hoosier Academy Virtual School is run by one of those companies, K12 Inc. which is based in Herndon, Va. K12 Inc. is the country's largest for-profit operator of full-time, online charter schools and runs effective lobbying efforts in more than 20 states, including Indiana, where, according to Education Week's investigation, it had spent around $1 million dollars lobbying state lawmakers and donating to their campaigns and political parties since 2007."

New Report Released: 'Teachers' Perspectives on Learning and Work Environments under the New Orleans School Reforms'
Education Research Alliance for New Orleans - Lindsay Bell Weixler, Douglas N. Harris, and Nathan Barrett

Lindsay Bell Weixler, Douglas N. Harris, and Nathan Barrett investigated "teachers’ perceptions of how learning and work environments changed in New Orleans publicly funded schools after Hurricane Katrina." Regarding the impact of school working conditions, the researchers wrote: "Policymakers and school leaders should create environments in which both students and teachers are set up for success, as teachers’ work environments directly affect the learning environments and experiences of students."

'Moonlight' schooled Hollywood on race. Can it take on school discipline, too?
The Conversation - Derek Black

Derek Black, professor of law, University of South Carolina, discusses the impact that the movie ‘Moonlight’ might have on school discipline disparities in the U.S. He writes, "When school discipline responds to students’ needs, it produces better behavior and academic achievement for all students – not just struggling students. Schools with the highest achievement are those that deal with misbehavior through means other than just suspension, expulsion and law enforcement."

Here Are Interactive Highlights From the First Round of State ESSA Plans
Education Week - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa links to Education Week’s interactive presentation of states’ ESSA plans in six key policy areas. "We highlight what states want to do with respect to goals, school ratings, academic indicators, school quality, the minimum ’n’-size for which subgroups of students at a school must be included in accountability calculations, and testing opt-outs."

Can We Trust Policymakers to Make Good Decisions for Schools?
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan shares her recent encounter with an inexperienced state legislator, who mistakenly thinks that school choice would benefit his rural Michigan constituents. “I wondered if hanging out with other legislators in his party, and being visited and feted by ‘choice’ lobbyists, endemic in Michigan, had anything to do with this change of heart. I wondered how many times he would tell that story — ‘I met a family…’ — completely unaware that he was elevating the needs of one child over the needs of an entire district filled with children whose parents were counting on the public school to meet their needs."

A 'Forgotten History' Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America
NPR - Fresh Air - Terry Gross with Richard Rothstein

Terry Gross, NPR’s Fresh Air, interviews Richard Rothstein, Economic Policy Institute, about his new book: ‘The Color of Law.’ Rothstein’s book examines federal and state housing policies that mandated segregation in the U.S. “Rothstein says these decades-old housing policies have had a lasting effect on American society. ‘The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads ... to stagnant inequality, because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile when they're living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent.’”

Teacher Turnover in Alaska is Costing the State $20 Million Annually
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Emmanuel Felton

Emmanuel Felton reports on a recent study by the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, which found that teacher turnover in Alaska costs the sate $20 million annually. “The study found that turnover rates in rural districts averaged about 20 percent between 2004 and 2014. While in about a dozen districts, annual turnover rates exceeded 30 percent.”

What teachers' viral resignation letters reveal about the state of public education
Stateside - Michigan Public Radio - Alyssa Hadley Dunn

Michigan Public Radio recently ran an audio story on a  report by Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Michigan State University, which investigated teacher resignation letters. “Listen to the conversation [above] to hear what teachers' viral resignation letters can reveal about the state of public teaching.”

School Desegregation in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s
Education Next - Hugh B. Price

“In an excerpt from his new memoir ‘This African-American Life,’ former president of the National Urban League Hugh B. Price describes his elementary and secondary education in Washington, D.C. Price focused on his studies and dreamed of playing major-league baseball—all while he and his schoolmates made history in some of the city’s first integrated classrooms after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.”

Congress expected to reauthorize D.C. school vouchers in sweeping budget deal
Washington Post - Emma Brown & Peter Jamison

Emma Brown and Peter Jamison explain how DC school vouchers could be extended, despite new data showing that vouchers had a negative effect on some students. “The legislation would re­authorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which helps 1,100 low-income students attend private schools, through fiscal 2019. The program is the only federally funded effort of its kind.”

Impacts of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program After One Year
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) - Mark Dynarski, Ning Rui, Ann Webber, & Babette Gutman

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a report entitled: ‘Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Impacts After One Year.’ The summary reads: “A new study finds that the nation’s only federally-funded private school voucher program for low-income parents had negative impacts on student achievement. However, the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) did have positive impacts on parents’ perceptions of safety at their child’s school.”

There Are No Quick Fixes for Teacher Shortage, Report Warns
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Brenda Iasevoli

Brenda Iasevoli reviews a new report from Dan Goldhaber and Thomas Dee, ‘Understanding and Addressing Teacher Shortages in the United States.’ The report’s authors contend that teacher shortages do not exist everywhere or in every field. The report suggests that teachers in shortage areas should receive extra pay, school districts should invest in better recruitment strategies, and recruiting candidates in anticipated need areas.

Education Savings Accounts: The New Frontier in School Choice
American Enterprise Institute - Adam Peshek, Gerard Robinson, and Nat Malkus

Adam Peshek, Gerard Robinson, and Nat Malkus have a new book out from the American Enterprise Institute on Education Savings Accounts or ESAs. “Yet, for all their potential import, ESAs are barely understood. This volume seeks to provide a comprehensive, fair-minded treatment of ESAs and will address the rationale for them, the challenges they pose, what it takes for them to work and the political and legal dynamics at play.”

Public Money for Private Schools: School Vouchers, ESAs, and Tax Credits
Learning First Alliance - Ann O’Brien

Ann O’Brien explains how vouchers, ESAs, and tax credits work, with links for those interested in learning more. “What are these policies? How do they differ? Here is some background information on a few key types of private school choice.”

Experimenting with Multiple Measures of Teacher Effectiveness
Blog - Mathematica Policy Research - Stephen Lipscomb and Ann Li

Stephen Lipscomb and Ann Li attempt to answer some important questions regarding using multiple measures of teacher effectiveness. “Our report showed that these measures capture complementary teaching skills, and each measure has the potential to identify meaningful differences between teachers. Combining multiple measures provides a broader view of teacher performance that reflects not only how teachers are doing, but also what they are doing in their practices.”

Key Takeaways: State Accountability Plans Under ESSA
Education Week

Education Week has created a dashboard for those interested in reviewing state plans submitted for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A detailed look at each submitted plan is included.

Job Satisfaction and the Role of Teacher Evaluation
Michigan State University - Green & Write Education Policy Blog - Amy Auletto

Amy Auletto has reviewed a recently released study on teacher evaluation and teacher satisfaction. The study used regression discontinuity and found that higher teacher effectiveness ratings resulted in teachers having more positive perceptions of their jobs. “As states place more emphasis on formalized teacher evaluation systems with labels such as those used by Tennessee, there may be some unintended consequences for teacher retention.”

Detroit charter fights to maintain diversity as school gets whiter, wealthier
Michigan Public Radio - State of Opportunity - Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer Guerra shares an audio story about a new bill before the Michigan legislature, which could give charters enrollment preferences to certain students. According to the story, “[The bill] would allow charters in high-poverty neighborhoods to give 'geographic preference' to kids who live in the neighborhood.”

The Upside to Teacher Resignation Letters Going Viral
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares a conversation with Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Michigan State University, who recently released two studies on teacher resignation letters. She says, “What these letters are telling teachers is this: ‘I am leaving so I can speak to what is happening. I will try to combat this so you can try to collectively organize and use these letters as support for the arguments you are making every day.'”

The basics: A quick look at what you should know about vouchers
IndyStar - Allison Carter

Allison Carter discusses vouchers in Indiana and looks into what we know and don’t know about vouchers. Regarding what’s next for vouchers, she writes: “They're a favorite of new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, so expect a push on the federal level. And since Indiana has been a leader in school choice, expect lots of attention on us.”

Assessing and Resolving California's Growing Teacher Shortage Crisis
Teachers College Record - Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland critiques proposed legislative efforts in California in response to the state’s looming teacher shortage crisis. His commentary concludes with, “As a result, if state officials want to ensure that California is a perpetual leader in the twenty-first-century century global economy, they need to start seriously investing in public education and seek innovative new solutions to the teacher shortage issue.”

Denying the 'School Choice Deniers' Argument
FutureEd - Douglas Harris

Douglas Harris looks at the arguments surrounding school choice and the labels that advocates use to frame their arguments. Specifically, he examines a recent Wall Street Journal editorial suggesting that research supports private school choice.

Tax credits, school choice and 'neovouchers': What you need to know
The Conversation - Kevin G. Welner

Kevin Welner writes about conventional vouchers and tax credits. “A decade ago when I wrote a book explaining these tax credit policies and labeling them ‘neovouchers,’ they existed in only six states and generated about 100,000 vouchers. Today, 17 states have tax-credit policies similar to Arizona’s on their books, generating a quarter-million vouchers and growing every year."

The Tone-Deaf Politics of Denying Racism, Excusing Segregation
Radical Scholarship - P.L. Thomas

P.L. Thomas discusses 'colorblind' discussions in education policy today. He reviews a recent statement from Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), as well as an academic review of a report from AEI. “What is at play here, and linked by AEI, includes an ends-justify-the-means ideology paired with Social Darwinism (masked as 'parental choice’) — all of which is bereft of any sort of ethical grounding, any acknowledgement that ‘some’ (the ellipsis of race, and thus, people of color) are making pleas for being heard to create a more just and equitable education system and country.”

Today's Teaching Force Is Larger, Less Experienced, More Diverse Than Ever
Education Week - Brenda Iasevoli

Brenda Iasevoli covers a report by Richard Ingersoll that uses the School and Staffing Survey (SASS) to analyze trends in the U.S. teaching force from 1987 to 2012. “In the end, the authors write that their job was to describe the teaching force trends and not to explain or evaluate their implications. Questions about the reasons behind teacher workforce growth, the increase in the number of inexperienced teachers and its impact on schools, or the reasons for the rising number of minority teachers in high-poverty public schools, warrant further investigation.”

Maryland General Assembly passes bill limiting hours of testing in schools
Baltimore Sun - Ian Duncan

Ian Duncan writes about a recent vote by the Maryland legislature to cap testing at 2.2 percent of classroom time in a year - about 24 hours in elementary and middle school and 26 hours in high school. “The state teachers union argues that students are required to take too many tests, costing them hundreds of hours of time that could otherwise be spent learning over the course of their school careers. The Maryland State Education Association supported the bill.”

How Much Does the Public Understand About Effective Teaching and Learning?
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker discusses a survey conducted by the Center for American Progress. The survey polled 3,000 people on their understanding of effective teaching and learning. According to the report, the results “reveal a general misunderstanding about what makes effective classrooms and educators.”

CT scraps using state test scores to compute teacher ratings
CT Mirror - Kyle Constable

Kyle Constable reports that the Connecticut Board of Education voted last week to no longer use state test scores in teacher performance evaluations. “State education board Chairman Allan B. Taylor and Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell both praised the board’s approval of the plan as an important clarification of the role state tests should play: a goal-setting tool for teachers, not part of a formula for rating an individual teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom.”

School Voucher Grade Inflation
Bloomberg View - Noah Smith

Noah Smith looks at a recent survey paper on vouchers from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. The paper, written by Greg Forster, was cited by the Wall Street Journal as “evidence that voucher opponents have been cherry-picking the evidence.” Smith reviews Forster’s paper and asks several probing questions about vouchers and the research evidence.

Subgroup-Specific Accountability, Teacher Job Assignments, And Teacher Attrition: Lessons For States
Shanker Blog - Matthew Shirrell

Matthew Shirrell has blogged about his recently published study in the journal Education Finance and Policy. His study explored the effects of NCLB’s subgroup-specific accountability for teachers. “Specifically, I examine whether teaching in a school that was held accountable for a particular subgroup’s performance in the first year of NCLB affected teachers’ job assignments, turnover, and attrition.”

VAM, Teacher Bashing, and Unintended Outcomes: '(A)ll (teacher) exits increased under the new evaluations'
Radical Scholarship - P. L. Thomas

P. L. Thomas reviews a recent research analysis by Matthew Di Carlo on the Shanker Blog. He calls Di Carlo’s work some of the best available online. However, he is critical of the ‘dispassionate’ stance taken by Di Carlo in summarizing the research. Thomas says, “I am on edge when I read these careful explications of educational research because they tend to stand so far back from drawing critical conclusions that they leave a great deal of room for forgiving awful and baseless policy.” Thomas pushes for a deeper look beyond the research into the bad politics and bad media behind recent ‘bad’ teacher reforms.

Who Needs Reformers When You Have David Kirp?
Gary Rubinstein’s Blog - Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein writes about a recent piece in the New York Times by David Kirp, ‘Who Needs Charters When You have Public Schools Like These?’ Rubinstein is critical of Kirp’s article and suggests, “What I would have liked to have in this article is Kirp writing about all the great things going on at these schools and how anyone visiting these schools would be impressed by them, and then express outrage that the schools have a D- and an F rating thus demonstrating how inaccurate the A to F rating calculations are and how they are likely to be just as inaccurate in all the states throughout the country. Now that would be a powerful article.”

Fix Schools, Not Teachers
Voices in Education - Harvard Education Publishing - Esther Quintero

Esther Quintero, Senior Fellow at the Albert Shanker Institute, discusses a recent book she edited, ‘Teaching in Context: The Social Side of Education Reform.’ According to Quintero, the book was conceived to help address the problems of dissemination, misperceptions, and applicability in education policymaking. She writes: “Providing ‘lessons’ for policy and practice isn’t a job just for researchers. Ultimately, because the school improvement processes we are trying to influence are complex and dynamic, practitioners, policy makers, and academics need to figure out how to proceed together.”

Teacher Evaluations And Turnover In Houston
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo tackles a new working paper by Julie Berry Cullen, Cory Koedel, and Eric Parsons. The paper looks at the impact of the teacher evaluation system in Houston and focuses on the relationship between teacher turnover and performance before and after the implementation of the new system. He says in his conclusion, “In any case, this study by Cullen, Koedel, and Parsons, like most good policy analysis, illustrates the promise of new evaluations, but also the challenges.”

What's Next for Newark?
Center on Reinventing Public Education - Michael DeArmond & Patrick Denice

Michael DeArmond and Patrick Denice discuss Newark’s public schools, which are about to return to local control in 2017. “But the key challenge for Newark when it regains local control—and the key challenge for all cities, regardless of the makeup of their school system—will be improving school quality across its diverse system of schools. There just aren’t enough good schools to go around, charter or district. And too often, good schools are clustered in some neighborhoods and not in others.”

Maryland Showdown on Testing, Charters, and the Direction of Public Schools
The American Prospect - Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel M. Cohen looks at school accountability and ESSA implementation in Maryland. “A heated battle over the future of Maryland’s plan—specifically, how much weight standardized test scores should be given in determining a school’s rating, and how much power the state should have over low-performing schools—has become a flashpoint in the polarized education reform wars, not only within Maryland but across the country. At the crux of the debate are questions about who gets to speak on behalf of racial minorities and low-income children, and what school accountability should look like in the age of Donald Trump.”

Is Test-Based Accountability Dead?
Education Next - Jay P. Greene, Kevin Huffman and Morgan S. Polikoff

Jay P. Greene, Kevin Huffman, and Morgan S. Polikoff tackle the topic of test-based accountability in the latest Education Next. They attempt to answer the following questions: “So: is accountability on the wane, or is it here to stay? If accountability is indeed dying, would its loss be good or bad for students?”

Shaping Teacher Preparation for the Future
The Huffington Post - Robert C. Pianta

Robert C. Pianta, dean and professor at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, writes about the ever changing regulations governing teacher preparation programs. “We cannot give up on either a federal role in accountability or the funding needed to support good work at the state and local level, but one thing is now clear: those of us who care about teacher preparation can’t wait any longer to take the lead ourselves.”

Liberals, Conservatives Agree: Big Mistake for White House to Push Private School Choice
U.S. News & World Report - Lauren Camera

Lauren Camera discusses the Trump administration’s push for school choice. Advocates on both sides of the aisle are cautioning against a federal private school choice program.

Challenging the Newspeak of School Quality Measurement
Harvard University - Scholar Blog - James M. Noonan, Ed.D.

James M. Noonan, a researcher affiliated with the 'Justice in Schools' project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, writes about the challenges of education measurement. “In order to better measure school quality, then, we must first expand our imagination about what school quality means. One way to do so is to be deliberately more expansive in the way we talk about good schools. As shorthand, school quality is woefully non-specific, the Rorschach of education policy jargon. And unless or until students, teachers, and parents dare to be specific about what it means to them – to define it for ourselves – it will continue to be defined for them.”

The Complementary Benefits of Racial and Socioeconomic Diversity in Schools
National Coalition on School Diversity - Research Brief - Jennifer Ayscue, Erica Frankenberg, & Genevieve Siegel-Hawley

Jennifer Ayscue, Erica Frankenberg, and Genevieve Siegel-Hawley write about the benefits of racial diversity in schools. They say, “Racially diverse learning environments have positive impacts on academic achievement for students of all races.” And conclude, “The short-term and long-term benefits of racially diverse schools provide the structural and attitudinal foundation for social cohesion in multiethnic, democratic societies such as the United States.”

Where Are All the Black Teachers? Discrimination in the Teacher Labor Market
Harvard Educational Review - Diana D'amico, Robert J. Pawlewicz, Penelope M. Earley, and Adam P. McGeehan

Diana D'amico, Robert J. Pawlewicz, Penelope M. Earley, and Adam P. McGeehan published a study that investigates the lack of racial diversity among public school teachers. The researchers found evidence of workplace segregation and discrimination. “The authors call for researchers, policy makers, and school leaders at the district and building levels to examine hiring practices, which may be symptomatic of broader institutional biases, so that they may identify and eliminate inherent prejudices.”

Keep Us Involved in ESSA Plans, Unions and District Leaders Tell State Chiefs
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa writes about a letter sent by national representatives of school officials to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The letter expresses disappointment that the U.S. Department of Education removed a key requirement that states detail their work with stakeholder groups in their consolidated plans for ESSA. “Nonetheless, they say the group has an obligation to make sure each chief ‘demonstrates clearly and explicitly in each state plan how stakeholders were involved in its development, and how they will continue this engagement during implementation, review, and future revisions.’”

Five Vital Roles for School Leaders in the Pursuit of Evidence of Evidence-informed Practice
Teachers College Record - Chris Brown & Joel Malin

Chris Brown and Joel Malin write about the use of evidence by school leaders. “In this commentary, the authors set out thoughts on school leaders’ crucial roles in fostering evidence-informed and -engaged learning environments. They argue that school leaders must address both transformational and pedagogical aspects. Addressing both, they provide a definitive summary checklist for the role of school leaders in developing their schools in this manner.”

White House Budget Proposal Undermines Public Education, Discards Nation's Values
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min shares concerns that member associations of the Learning First Alliance (LFA) have with the White House proposal to cut $9 billion in funding for public education and the U.S. Department of Education.

Kentucky Lawmakers Approve Charter School Law
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Denisa Superville

Denisa Superville reports on Kentucky’s new charter school law. Kentucky was one of the few states that did not have a state charter school law. “The bill says nothing about how charters in Kentucky will be funded. Under its provisions, there will be no limit on the number of charter schools that can be authorized.”

Are school vouchers good for education? That debate is playing out in Indiana
PBS NewsHour - Lisa Stark

Lisa Stark, Education Week, reports on school vouchers in Indiana. “Indiana is one of nearly 30 states that offer vouchers or similar programs with the goal of allowing parents to use public funds for private schooling. When the state launched the program, it was designed for low-income students. But enrollment skyrocketed when the program was dramatically broadened by then-Gov. Mike Pence.”

What's Next for the Common Core and Its Assessments?
Future Ed - Scott Marion

Scott Marion, president of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, writes about the future of the Common Core State Standards and associated assessments. He discusses what went wrong and what went right. “American education orthodoxy often swings like a pendulum, supporting an initiative only to reject it a decade later. But as our students lag behind those in other nations, we can’t afford to waste the time and effort that went into developing the Common Core and these innovative assessments, especially when they represent such a clear step forward.”

A Practical Path to Recruitment and Retention
American Educator - Roneeta Guha, Maria E. Hyler, & Linda Darling-Hammond

Roneeta Guha, Maria E. Hyler, and Linda Darling-Hammond look at newly emerging teacher residency programs, which seek to address problems of teacher recruitment, retention, and turnover. “This model fosters tight partnerships between local school districts and teacher preparation programs. Residencies recruit teachers to meet district needs—usually in shortage fields. Then they rigorously prepare them and keep them in the district. While most teacher residencies began in urban districts, consortia of rural districts and charter school organizations have also created them.”

MI: A Blueprint for Education?
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene reviews a new report from the Michigan 21st Century Commission, which released its final report this week. The commission was established by Michigan governor Rick Snyder. “The best we can say about this report is that it's has some honest parts about how bad a hole Michigan has dug for its education system. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a clue about how to get out of that hole.”

Report Foreword: A Formula that Works
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Aaron Churchill & Chad L. Aldis

Aaron Churchill and Chad Aldis write about a new report issued by Bellwether Education Partners and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The report looked at how Ohio funds its public and charter schools and makes recommendations to reform school funding structures in Ohio. “Much work remains to be accomplished if Ohio is to craft a transparent, modern school-funding structure. We realize that the profound complexities and political realities of school funding policy make this a daunting task. In our view, the best course forward is to take one manageable step at a time. If state leaders make these essential repairs, Ohio will take its next step in the long journey toward a school funding system that supports an excellent education for all.”

Why School Choice Is Not A Thing
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene unpacks the dream of a school choice system, where “every family can choose from a wide range of schools, selecting the one that fits their own child.” He writes that choice systems may actually decrease choices: “It will not expand choice. It will simply give a different group of people the power to decide which choices will be available - disconnected people, outside people, people with a vested financial interest, people who don't have to listen to anyone in the school or community. This is not the expansion of choice - it's the expansion of a market.”

A-F School Rankings Draw Local Pushback
Education Week - Daarel Burnette II

Daarel Burnette II looks at the expansion of A-F letter grades in 18 states and local push-back in school districts across the U.S. “But in some states that already have them, A-F systems have received fierce backlash from local superintendents and school board members. They complain that the letter grades oversimplify student success or shortfalls, increase pressure to pay attention to tests, ignore school quality factors other than test scores, and demoralize teachers and parents.”

Vouchers in Indiana: A Cautionary Tale
FutureEd - Phyllis W. Jordan

Phyllis W. Jordan takes a 'deep dive' into Indiana’s voucher programs. FutureEd compiled a report investigating school choice in Indiana. The report found: “Instead of increasing private school options, a substantial number of voucher schools are simply filling existing seats with students subsidized by the state. Fewer than one percent of voucher students now come from failing public schools, and more than half never attended public school at all.”

The State of State Teachers' Pension Plans
New York Times - Karl Russell and Mary Williams Walsh

Karl Russell and Mary Williams Walsh look at teacher pension systems across the U.S. They write: “A traditional pension can be a very attractive benefit, at least for those who work long enough to get back more money than they contribute. But because of high teacher turnover, mobility from state to state and other factors, only a minority of all newly hired teachers succeed in doing that. Some states make it easier than others.”

It's Not Nothing: The Role of Money in Improving Education
Education Next - Mark Dynarski

Mark Dynarski discusses the role of spending in K-12 education. He attempts to clarify the statement that 'money doesn’t matter' in schools. He focuses on two recent papers, and writes “Two recent studies that use these methods provide evidence that money matters. But they also provide evidence that it will take massive amounts to close gaps.”

Vouchers Are Not a Viable Solution for Vast Swaths of America
Center for American Progress - Neil Campbell and Catherine Brown

Neil Campbell and Catherine Brown write about Donald Trump's proposal to reprioritize existing school funding to provide federal vouchers for private-school choice. “In short, vouchers can have detrimental effects on communities and limit high-quality options for students even in areas with an abundance of schools in close proximity to one another.”

Are Charter Schools Overrated? Experts Debate the Question
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Sarah Tully

Sarah Tully shares the results of a recent live debate on charter schools. “The debate was put on by Intelligence Squared U.S., a nonprofit organization that hosts debates on controversial topics that have ranged from ‘Give Trump a Chance’ to ‘Policing is Racially Biased.’ Online viewers, as well as the live audience, were asked to vote before and after the two-hour event in New York City.”

DeVos and Tax Credit Vouchers: Arizona Shows What Can Go Wrong
New York Times - Kevin Carey

Kevin Carey, the New America Foundation, discusses the tuition tax credit scheme in Arizona. “Some states, like Alabama and Indiana, limit tax credit vouchers to low- and middle-income families, or to students who were previously enrolled in public school. But others, including Arizona, do not, subsidizing private education for the well-off.” Carey also looks at how tax credit voucher schemes circumvent state Blaine amendments prohibiting public funds for religious schools. He writes that this 'shell-game' moves public money to non-profit donors and ultimately into private schools. This process makes it very difficult to account how public monies are being spent.

NPR Explains Charter Schools
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene attempts to provide some balance to a recent one-sided NPR piece on charter schools. “[Claudio] Sanchez decided that the best way to get a fully rounded explanation of charters was to talk to three charter advocates, a journalistic technique akin to interviewing the NRA about guns or the RJ Reynolds company about cigarettes.”

Dismantling Public Education: Turning Ideology into Gold
Institute for New Economic Thinking - Alex Molnar

Alex Molnar says that policies based on faith in the ‘market’ as a principle of social organization have wrought havoc with a founding principle of American democracy. “In the next decade the distinction between public and private will likely continue to blur, and ever more public tax dollars will be syphoned into private coffers. Public schools will limp along, underfunded and struggling to educate ever larger numbers of students with needs too great to be profitable.”

Vouchers do not improve student achievement, Stanford researcher finds
Stanford News - Carrie Spector

Education professor Martin Carnoy analyzed 25 years of research and found that voucher programs do not significantly improve test scores. Carnoy says vouchers distract from proven policies and programs with proven impact on test scores and graduation rates.

Imagine vouchers for other public services
The Des Moines Register - David Wilkerson, Letter to the Editor

David Wilkerson discusses vouchers, education savings accounts, and parents seeking taxpayer assistance for private schools. “School choice is a concept most all can rally around. We have a number of options for families in Iowa. But while no one would likely be excited about helping to pay for my friend’s private golf course membership, he’s not excited about paying for anyone’s private school education.”

Final Thoughts: Strategies for Educators to Promote Equity and Inclusion in Schools
Michigan State University - New Educator - Dorinda Carter Andrews, Terah T. Venzant Chambers, & Chezare A. Warren

Dorinda Carter Andrews, Terah T. Venzant Chambers, and Chezare A. Warren share how schools can create an inclusive culture. “Here, we offer a few key strategies and resources for school leaders and teachers as they model civility and promote equity and inclusion in schools. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of ‘what educators should do to counter hate in schools.’ However, because our children our watching, there are immediate steps that should be taken.”

Putting growth closer to the center of Ohio's overall school grading formula
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - Aaron Churchill

Aaron Churchill looks at how Ohio schools report on performance. “There is no one scientifically correct way to determine school grading weights. It will ultimately come down to judgments on issues of what we prioritize and value, how technically sound an indicator is (all measures have their challenges, including, yes, value added), how we think certain measures will affect behavior, and how we think about fairness to schools and to students.”

New 9-minute Documentary on Threatened School Closings in Michigan
We the People of Detroit - Community Research Collective

We the People of Detroit’s Community Research Collective has produced a short documentary that examines the causes and effects of school closings in Detroit.

The Decline of Accountability
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene discusses the policy movement regarding accountability in the Trump/DeVos era. “Accountability matters. We'll just have to see how completely reformsters will stop caring about it now that they are sitting in the driver's seat as the new status quo.”

Study: Weakening Tenure in Louisiana May Have Caused Thousands of Teachers to Quit
The 74 - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum reports on a new research brief on teacher tenure and teacher exits in Louisiana. “The research gives credence to concerns that limiting teacher job protections can make the job less appealing and increase teacher attrition.”

How do states integrate performance assessments into their systems of assessment?
Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) - Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Jon D. Snyder, & Katherine L. Wilczak

Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, Jon D. Snyder, and Katherine L. Wilczak completed a research brief on performance assessments. “In a 2017 study, Stosich, Snyder & Wilczak investigated the policies and capacity building efforts of 12 states to identify the strategies used to integrate performance assessment into state systems of assessment.”

Michigan shuts down bad schools. Leading states build them up.
Bridge Magazine - Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Chastity Pratt Dawsey investigates the threatened closure of 38 schools in Michigan. “Researchers across the country say Michigan’s school accountability law is in a class all its own. They note that no other state requires the closure each year of its lowest-performing public schools. To the contrary, higher-performing states focus instead on first trying to take concrete steps to improve failing schools by replacing school leaders or adopting other strong measures.”

200 Million Test Scores and What Do We Know? Income, Race, and the Geography of Educational Opportunity in the U.S.
Partnering in Education Research (PIER) - Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) - Harvard University

Sean Reardon, Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, will explore academic performance and racial/ethnic achievement gaps in a public seminar series on Monday, February 27, 2017. The event will be held at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It will be live streamed. “Professor Reardon's research focuses on the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality, the effects of educational policy on educational and social inequality, and in applied statistical methods for educational research.”

We Have to Say More About Teacher Evaluation Reforms Than Just 'They Didn't Work'
Education Next - Chad Aldeman

Chad Aldeman discusses the failure of contemporary teacher evaluation systems. He focuses on what states could learn from the last eight years. He concludes, “Rather than discarding this era and moving on, as states and advocates seem won't to do, we should learn from this massive effort: what worked and what didn’t work and why.”

Investigation: Charter school leaders, founders linked to controversial Turkish cleric
02/16/2017 - Jean Rimbach, Jeff Pillets, and Hannan Adely

Jean Rimbach, Jeff Pillets, and Hannan Adely investigate the impact of a Turkish cleric on New Jersey charter schools. “[A]n investigation by The Record and shows that some founders and leaders of the schools  have close ties to the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the controversial Islamic cleric accused of working to overthrow the government in his native Turkey last summer.”

New CEP Common Core Reports
Center on Education Policy (CEP) - Diane Stark Rentner, Mathew Frizzell, Nancy Kober, and Maria Ferguson

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) released two new reports this week on state standards and assessments. The first, ‘District Leadership in the New Era of Assessment,’ looked at school district leaders in 42 Common Core-adopting states. The other, ‘What Do Teachers and District Leaders Feel about State Standards and Assessments?,’ is part of a three report summary on leaders’ and teachers' views on the standards.

Imagine a World With an ESSA Statute - But No Accountability Regulations
Education Week - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa writes about the possible end of federal accountability rules under ESSA. “Without regulations, state and local officials will just have to show they're meeting the statute, a much lower legal burden than if they had to meet the more specific elements of regulations from the Education Department.”

Report from Indiana University center examines state education funding
Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) - Indiana University

The Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) at Indiana University released a new report this week to help guide Indiana legislators during their budget development process. The report was commissioned by the Indiana State Board of Education. There were four key findings: “(1) enrollment is projected to decline modestly in the state's public schools in 2017, compared to 2009, with larger declines in traditional public schools than in charter schools; (2) the state's public school corporations experienced substantial changes in state funding between 2009 and 2017; (3) state funding for school operations is projected to increase through July 2017; however, the increases, when adjusted for inflation, are not sufficient to fully restore funding to pre-2009 levels; and (4) the current funding-formula policy improved equity throughout the study period. Projections indicate that high levels of equity will be achieved in 2017. Equity in funding looks at whether school corporations serving similar types of students (in terms of student income) receive similar funding.”

Not Getting Enough Sleep? Tired Teachers Aren't Usually the Best Teachers
NEA Today - Dave Stuart, Jr.

Dave Stuart, Jr. discusses the impact of sleep on teachers. “Unfortunately, individual educators can’t do much to make sure their students sleep enough at night, although districts across the country have been devising new policies – including later start times, even nap clubs – to bring schools more in sync with teen sleep patterns. What we can do is pay attention to our own sleep lives. This, it turns out, is something teachers tend to be bad at  – especially early career educators. Too often, in an effort to “get it all done,” teachers stay up late and wake up early, operating on increasingly worsening sleep deficits and calling it a strong work ethic.”

Distortion in A-F Accountability Scales
Green & Write - Education Policy Research Insights - David Casalaspi

David Casalaspi provides an overview of A-F report cards. He concludes, “An A-F grading system might be appealing for its simplicity, but it also risks painting with too broad a brush, and policymakers will therefore have to be cautious.”

Addressing California's Growing Teacher Shortage: 2017 Update
Learning Policy Institute - Desiree Carver-Thomas & Linda Darling-Hammond

Desiree Carver-Thomas & Linda Darling-Hammond update a January 2016 report on teacher shortages in California. “While the state has made initial investments in increasing the supply of well-prepared teachers, these investments will take time to yield qualified educators. More action is needed to ensure a robust, well-prepared teacher workforce now and into the future.”

Do For-Profit Managers Spend Less on Schools and Instruction? A National Analysis of Charter School Staffing Expenditures
Educational Policy - Mark Weber & Bruce Baker

Mark Weber and Bruce Baker look at “school site expenditures to evaluate spending variations between traditional district operated schools and charter schools operated by for-profit versus nonprofit management firms.” Their study found that charters spend less per pupil on instructional salaries compared with public school districts. Additionally, Weber and Baker find that for-profit charters spend less on instructional salaries than nonprofits.

House Votes to Overturn ESSA Accountability, Teacher-Prep Rules
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa covers an action by the U.S. House of Representatives to overturn key provisions of accountability and teacher-prep policies under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Moody's: Closures may hit Michigan school districts financially
Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins writes about the impact of proposed school closings on the finances of Michigan school districts. According to a report from Moody’s Investors Services: "The school closing process adds unpredictability to an already volatile sector and is credit negative for the affected districts because it makes budgeting for operations challenging and threatens revenues.”

See How States Plan to Approach Equity
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein discusses how state education chiefs plan to improve equity for all students under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released a list of recommendations. “The recommendations are the culmination of months of work by state chiefs, district leaders, civil rights advocates, and others. They outline 10 areas state leaders can focus on to champion equity, including more specific steps within each of those buckets. State leaders may not decide to push on all 10 of these areas at once—instead they may decide to pick two or three to focus on initially.”

TN teachers' job satisfaction linked to performance scores
Vanderbilt University - Research News - Joan Brasher

Joan Brasher reports on recent evidence on the relationship between teacher performance ratings and teacher job satisfaction. Researchers found that higher ratings under Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation system causally improved teachers’ perceptions of work relative to lower ratings. “In a full report of the study’s findings, published by American Educational Research Journal, the researchers say there could be several reasons that teacher evaluation scores affect job satisfaction.”

The Gap Within the Gap: Using Longitudinal Data to Understand Income Differences in Educational Outcomes
AERA Open - Katharine Michelmore & Susan Dynarski

Katharine Michelmore and Susan Dynarski discuss a new measure of economic disadvantage. “Survey data show that the number of years that a child will spend eligible for subsidized lunch is negatively correlated with her or his current household income. Years eligible for subsidized meals can therefore be used as a reasonable proxy for income. Our proposed measure can be used to estimate heterogeneous effects in program evaluations, to improve value-added calculations, and to better target resources.”

School choice shouldn't take away our neighborhood schools
The Hechinger Report - Andre Perry

Andre Perry writes about schools in New Orleans, where the five remaining public schools will become charters. “New Orleans knows too well how to learn in segregated, independent schools. But of all the systems New Orleans should try to make successful, neighborhood schools is the one we’ve never had.”

How are middle school climate and academic performance related across schools and over time?
WestEd - Adam Voight and Thomas Hanson

This study, using grade 7 student data from California middle schools, explored the relationship between school climate and academic performance. Key findings include: “(1) middle schools with higher levels of positive student-reported school climate exhibited higher levels of academic performance; (2) increases in a school’s level of positive student-reported school climate were associated with simultaneous increases in that school’s academic achievement; and (3) within-school increases in academic achievement associated with school climate increases were substantially smaller than the academic performance differences across schools with different school climate levels.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act: A 101 Guide
American Enterprise Institute - Frederick M. Hess and Max Eden

Rick Hess and Max Eden introduce a series of briefs on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “The goal of these briefs is to introduce ESSA’s broad contours, not to provide comprehensive explanations of the law’s intricacies and ramifications. For the latter, readers will be better served by consulting the full volume.” Authors included in the series include: Patrick J. McGuinn, Jeffrey R. Henig, David M. Houston, Melissa Arnold Lyon, Charles Barone, Martin R. West, Chad Aldeman, and Arnold F. Shober.

Trump's $20 billion school choice plan likely to leave details to the states
Thomas B. Fordham - Flypaper - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli discusses National School Choice Week and forecasts what is likely to happen in the Trump/DeVos era. “Word on the street is that Trump’s advisors are considering some form of a proposal floated last year by Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Todd Rokita. It would offer individuals and/or corporations a federal tax credit if they donated to scholarship (i.e., voucher) programs in states with their own tax credit initiatives.”

We Live Here: A neighborhood school on the brink of closure
Michigan Radio - State of Opportunity - Jennifer Guerra

Jennifer Guerra, Michigan Radio, discusses the impact of school closings on neighborhoods. She focuses on Noble Elementary-Middle School in Detroit’s Littlefield neighborhood. “When a school closes, property values go down, crime often goes up, and families move out. Drive around some of those neighborhoods and you see a lot of emptiness. That's a fate Harris and others in the Littlefield neighborhood are hoping to avoid. How did Detroit end up with so many closed schools and emptied out neighborhoods? Find out in part two of our State of Opportunity documentary, We Live Here.”

New Reports Reveal The Big Charter School 'Accountability' Lie
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant tackles school choice, charter schools, and accountability. “Based on how charter schools operate in states like Florida – Arizona, Ohio, and Pennsylvania also come to mind – and on how Betsy DeVos provided regulatory loopholes for charters in Michigan, there is no reason to believe her claim to support accountability and no reason to believe the charter industry will use her tenure to advance accountability measures.”

What does it really cost to educate students? Let's take another stab at figuring it out.
Bridge Michigan - Gilda Jacobs & Rob Fowler

Gilda Jacobs, Michigan League for Public Policy, and Rob Fowler, Small Business Association of Michigan, discuss a new effort launched to change the way schools are funded in Michigan. A collaborative, the School Finance Research Collaborative, will create a road map to improve opportunities for Michigan schools. “The collaborative’s report will use multiple proven and established methods to measure school funding adequacy. At the end of this process, we will deliver those findings to Michigan policymakers, stakeholders and taxpayers.”

Charter schools don't serve black children well
Kappan Online - Joan Richardson

Joan Richardson, Phi Delta Kappan, interviews Julian Vasquez Heilig, Sacramento State University. According to Heilig, “We’ve done a terrible job of talking about why charter schools privately controlling public money is becoming more problematic. The core of the conversation is this: If we don’t pay attention to the democratic control of our schools, democracy could not only die in our schools, democracy could die in our communities.”

Charter schools are not the answer for Kentucky
01/23/2017 - Stephanie Winkler

Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, writes about charter schools in Kentucky. Kentucky is one of a handful of states that do not have charter schools. She says, “The biggest lie about charter schools is that competition for public dollars will improve education for everyone. But increasing competition is a business principle, not an education policy. What charter schools really do is divert taxpayer money – which is already insufficient – away from your community’s existing public schools and gives that money to private individuals to start their own businesses.”

Does Money Matter in Education? Bruce Baker's New Report Says Yes
Education Law Prof Blog - Derek Black

Derek Black, Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law, examines Bruce Baker’s 2012 report on the effects of school funding. Black shares a snippet of an updated report Baker recently released: “He boils the research on those points down to this: ‘While there may in fact be better and more efficient ways to leverage the education dollar toward improved student outcomes, we do know the following: [1] Many of the ways in which schools currently spend money do improve student outcomes; [2] When schools have more money, they have greater opportunity to spend productively. When they don’t, they can’t; [3] Arguments that across-the-board budget cuts will not hurt outcomes are completely unfounded.’” He quotes Baker, “In short, money matters, resources that cost money matter, and a more equitable distribution of school funding can improve outcomes. Policymakers would be well-advised to rely on high-quality research to guide the critical choices they make regarding school finance.”

Are Expectations Alone Enough? Estimating the Effect of a Mandatory College-Prep Curriculum in Michigan
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis - Brian Jacob, Susan Dynarski, Kenneth Frank, and Barbara Schneider

Brian Jacob, Susan Dynarski, Kenneth Frank, and Barbara Schneider examine the impact of the Michigan Merit Curriculum on the class of 2011 and later. “Our analyses suggest that the higher expectations embodied in the MMC had slight impact on student outcomes. Looking at student performance in the ACT, the only clear evidence of a change in academic performance comes in science.”

Billions in School Improvement Spending But Not Much Student Improvement
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks writes about a new study from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which released its final evaluation of the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. Sparks’ blog quotes Lisa Dragoset, Mathematica Policy Research, ”Overall, we didn't find evidence that schools implementing SIG-funded models significantly changed student outcomes more or less than other similar low-performing schools.”

Why the Proficiency-Versus-Growth Debate Matters for Assessing School Performance
Education Next - Matthew M. Chingos

Matt Chingos discusses the difference between proficiency and growth for assessing school performance. He writes, “The Every Student Succeeds Act, NCLB’s successor, provides states with much greater discretion in how they measure school performance, including in the relative importance assigned to proficiency versus growth measures. The evidence makes clear that growth measures should receive significant weight if schools are to be judged based on how well they serve students rather than on which students they serve.”

So-called 'right-to-work' laws will lower wages for union and nonunion workers in Missouri
Economic Policy Institute - Working Economics Blog - Ross Eisenbrey

Ross Eisenbrey discusses potential “right to work” legislation in Missouri. “These bills won’t lead to more manufacturing plants or better jobs or anything good. They lead only to weaker unions, less bargaining power for Missouri workers, and lower wages.”

LFA Groups Express Concerns on DeVos Nomination
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

“A coalition of more than 30 national education groups, including six Learning First Alliance members, is urging the U.S. Senate to thoroughly investigate Betsy DeVos' nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of Education. The groups circulated a letter to members of the Senate HELP Committee in advance of DeVos' confirmation hearing this evening.”

Barnum: The Growth vs. Proficiency Debate and Why Al Franken Raised a Boring but Critical Issue
The 74 Million - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum discusses the student growth versus proficiency debate. The discussion is relevant because of Sen. Al Franken’s questioning of Betsy DeVos during her confirmation hearing. “In short, studies suggest that achievement growth measures better capture the effect of schools and avoid the negative side effects of proficiency. Proficiency can provide important information about how students are performing — but very little about how schools are doing.”

Inside 'The View From Room 205': A Q&A with Reporter Linda Lutton
Chicago Tonight - Matt Masterson

Matt Masterson writes about WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton’s up close view of poverty in American education. Lawton spent a year in one of Chicago’s poorest schools. “The hourlong radio story focuses on ‘some little kids and a big idea,’ namely that schools can help students achieve the American dream regardless of their backgrounds. That students living in poverty can overcome the litany of obstacles – violence, hunger, a lack of school resources – they face each day as long as they work hard in class.”

Five key trends in U.S. student performance
Economic Policy Institute - Martin Carnoy and Emma García

Martin Carnoy and Emma García look at trends in the influence of race/ethnicity, social class, and gender on students’ academic performance in the United States. “We use individual student microdata gathered from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to estimate the math and reading performance of students in the fourth and eighth grades from 2003 to 2013, and the math performance of eighth-graders from 1996 to 2013.”

Charter Schools and Democratic Accountability
National Association of State Boards of Education - The State Education Standard - Jeffrey R. Henig

Jeff Henig, writing for the State Education Standard (NASBE), discusses the need to define the public nature of charter schools. Henig’s piece is part of a special edition on charter schools, the landscape and the horizon. Other authors in the series include: Bryan Hassel, Robin Lake, Andy Smarick, Nelson Smith, Rick Kahlenberg, Halley Potter, and Samuel Henry. Henig says, “The hybrid nature of charter schools— which occupy a nebulous space between the private and public sectors—accounts for much of their appeal. On the one hand, charters are intended to act more like private businesses, innovating and responding to parents’ demands lest they lose their student ‘customers’ and the governmental financial support that follows the students. On the other hand, charters were meant to be public institutions, open to all and accountable for meeting public needs as articulated through democratic processes.”

Will Betsy DeVos Restart The 'Education Wars'?
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant wonders if the nomination of Betsy DeVos will reignite long simmering disputes about public education in the United States. “This strong opposition to the DeVos nomination from Democrats indicates that if Weingarten is right, that the education wars are returning, the conflict will be different from the past. This time the lines dividing political parties won’t be blurred, and Democrats will know whose side they should be on.”

Betsy DeVos: Dangerous for Students and the Promise of Public Education
NEA Today - John Rosales

John Rosales discusses the nomination of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education. “With no experience as an educator or elected official, and despite a decades-long record of undermining public schools by promoting taxpayer-funded vouchers for private and religious schools, lobbyist and Republican donor Betsy DeVos could become the next secretary of education.”

Why the racist history of school vouchers matters today
Think Progress - Casey Quinlan

Casey Quinlan explores the racist history of school vouchers. She interviews Erica Frankenberg who said, “In addition to creating incentives for advantaged families to leave public schools, school choice programs don’t provide enough money to truly benefit low-income families, because the private school tuition is often much higher than what is offered through vouchers.”

A disturbing look at how charter schools are hurting a traditional school district
The Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Carol Burris

Carol Burris tells the story of Bethlehem, PA. The piece serves as a cautionary tale of the impact of charter schools in one school district in Pennsylvania. Burris says, “America must choose either a patchwork of online schools and charters with profiteers on the prowl, or a transparent community public school system run by citizens elected by their neighbors. A dual school system with the private taking funding from the public, simply cannot survive.”

Understanding Teacher Morale
Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium

The Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC) at Virginia Commonwealth University studied the impact of teacher satisfaction in seven school districts. “The report shares both the process and the findings of this collaborative research effort. This research project was also designed to support action by local policy makers, school division leaders, central office personnel, principals, and teachers.”

In Milwaukee, school vouchers have helped many private schools to fail
London School of Economics - Michael R. Ford

Michael Ford, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, discusses the effectiveness of school vouchers. His research found: “more than 40 percent of schools which received school voucher revenues now no longer exist. He writes that this high voucher school failure rate is down to the design of the scheme itself. Educational entrepreneurship and school failure, it seems, are two sides of the same coin.”

Why Michigan Doesn't Have School Vouchers and Probably Never Will
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero writes about school choice in Michigan and the impact of Blaine Amendments. She writes that vouchers in Michigan are unlikely, because Michigan’s Blaine Amendment is the most restrictive in the country. She says that, “Michigan's Blaine Amendment expressly prohibits even ‘indirect’ funding of private schools, whether through ‘payment, credit, tax benefit, exemptions or deductions, tuition voucher, subsidy, grant or loan.’”

Does Money Matter in the Long Run? Effects of School Spending on Educational Attainment
American Economic Journal - Joshua Hyman

In a forthcoming journal, Joshua Hyman, University of Connecticut, studied the long-run effects of increases in education expenditures on educational attainment in Michigan after Proposal A. He finds that increases in spending lowered class sizes, raised teacher salaries, and reduced the student to administrator ratio. Additionally, “Students exposed to $1,000 (10 percent) more spending were 3 percentage points (7 percent) more likely to enroll in college and 2.3 percentage points (11 percent) more likely to earn a postsecondary degree.” This article preview is only available for American Economic Association members.

Thoughts on Junk Indicators, School Rating Systems & Accountability
School Finance 101 - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker looks at the use, misuse, and abuse of student growth metrics for evaluating teachers and for imposing employment consequences based on those metrics. He reminds his readers, “Measures are only useful to the extent that they measure what we intend them to measure and that we use those measures appropriately based on their design and intent.”

Teachers Are Stressed, And That Should Stress Us All
NPR Ed - Morning Edition - Corey Turner

Corey Turner, NPR, covers a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that studied teacher stress and health. The report found that, “Teaching is one of the most stressful occupations in the country, but introducing organizational and individual interventions can help minimize the negative effects of teacher stress.”

Op-ed: Indiana fails test on teacher bonuses
Lafayette Journal & Courier - Dale Glenn

Dale Glenn, a former principal and an adjunct professor at Indiana University, writes about Indiana’s merit pay system: “In effect, it undermined the poorer districts and gave to the wealthy, shattering inner-city morale and contributing to a teacher shortage.”

Indiana's vouchers wow GOP
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - Emma Brown & Mandy McLaren

Emma Brown and Mandy McLaren, Washington Post, discuss Indiana’s school voucher program: “The voucher program, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing, serves more than 32,000 children and provides an early glimpse of what education policy could look like in Donald Trump’s presidency.”

'Kingdom Gain' Through School Vouchers: It's Already Working
Jersey Jazzman - Mark Weber

Mark Weber discusses school vouchers, wealthy Christians, the [Betsy] DeVos family, the idea that competition will improve schools, and a whole host of important topics in his most recent blog. He concludes, “If DeVos, or Pence, or Trump, try to weasel their way out of acknowledging this reality over the next several months, they should be called out on it -- hard. The plain truth is that Betsy DeVos's beloved school vouchers are going to get her exactly what she wants: "Kingdom gain" at the expense of the American taxpayer.”

Four Ways Teachers Can Reduce Implicit Bias
Huffington Post - Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie discusses implicit bias in American schools. She lists four ways that teachers can reduce bias in their classrooms: (1) cultivate awareness of biases; (2) work to increase empathy and empathic communication; (3) practice mindfulness and loving-kindness; and (4) develop cross-group friendships in their own lives.

Three Important Details When Discussing School Segregation
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo pushes his readers to look at school segregation through three lenses. “Segregation within districts is of particular note in that most legal and policy efforts to desegregate schools concentrate within districts. Yet, to the degree segregation reflects and perpetuates inequality of opportunity, and insofar as such inequality can be just as, if not more, pronounced between as it is within districts, integration within a given district, while positive and important, may be only part of the story.”

School Choice Won't Save Education
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Green discusses the pro-choice [school] argument from David S. D’amato. “I appreciate D'amato laying out this pro-choice argument in clear, straightforward terms, providing me with the chance to lay out in similar terms why I think he's mostly wrong. If I were willing to try my readers' patience, we could get into the parts of his argument that even pro-choicers disagree with, but I think this is enough thumb damage for smartphone based readers in one day.”

NAACP President Says Charter School Growth Weakens Public School System
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Lesli A. Maxwell

Lesli A. Maxwell writes about the NAACP moratorium on new charters. “It wants greater transparency and accountability for charter schools. Similar concerns have been raised by the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of civil rights activists that includes Black Lives Matter.”

Will DeVos Learn From Detroit's School Choice Mistakes?
CRPE - Robin Lake

Robin Lake, Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), discusses ways in which Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee for secretary of education, has helped create the wild west for schools, the unregulated charter school environment in Michigan. “The uncomfortable truth is, things are both better and worse in the Motor City as a result of school choice. Ms. DeVos and her advisors will be ineffective in supporting choice if they fail to recognize and learn from Detroit’s failures. Choice proponents should know better than anyone that markets, especially those serving disadvantaged and inexperienced customers, don’t function without good information and big investments in new capacity.”

The reason America's schools are so segregated - and the only way to fix it
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein looks at new bill introduced by the New York City Council to study racial segregation in public schools. “School segregation is primarily a problem of neighborhoods, not schools. Schools are segregated because the neighborhoods in which they are located are segregated. Some school segregation can be ameliorated by adjusting school attendance boundaries or controlling school choice, but these devices are limited and mostly inapplicable to elementary school children, for whom long travel to school is neither feasible nor desirable.”

The Charter School Company Store
School Finance 101 - Bruce D. Baker

Bruce Baker discusses “various methods by which charter school operators work largely within existing policy constraints, to achieve financial gain.” He also sheds light on arrangements between ‘graduate’ schools and alternative teacher preparation providers that allow charters to funnel public money to private organizations. “So, I know many will say, what’s the big deal? Relay affiliated charter schools are (at least perceived as) highly successful and their success reliant on strict adherence to their specific pedagogy. So why not grow their own/train their own teachers?”

The Education of Barack Obama
The Nation - Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein investigates president Obama’s education legacy. “Only recently has the president focused on progressive issues like school funding and desegregation. Don’t expect Trump to do the same.”

Is School Segregation Getting Worse? By Some Measures, No - but It's Not Getting Any Better
The 74 - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum discusses school segregation and how integration can help students. “Most troubling is the rise of income segregation. No matter how we slice the data, low-income students are increasingly likely to be isolated in schools, which research overwhelmingly finds has a deleterious effect on their academic progress.”

Dangers to public education mount
Rutland Herald - Opinion - William J. Mathis

Bill Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center and a member of the Vermont Education Board, discusses upcoming challenges facing public education.

Equity and ESSA: New Report Describes How States, Districts, and Schools Can Use the New Law to Close the Opportunity Gap for Underserved Youth
Learning Policy Institute

The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) released a report this week on the equity aspects of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “This report can help states develop thoughtful plans that focus on improving educational quality and equity.”

EdNext Podcast: School Suspensions and Teacher Race
Education Next - Marty West

Marty West, Constance Lindsay, and Cassandra Hart investigate teacher race and school discipline. They discuss a recent paper published by EdNext by Lindsay and Hart: “We find consistent evidence that North Carolina students are less likely to be removed from school as punishment when they and their teachers are the same race. This effect is driven almost entirely by black students, especially black boys, who are markedly less likely to be subjected to exclusionary discipline when taught by black teachers. There is little evidence of any benefit for white students of being matched with white teachers.”

A principled federal role in PreK-12 education
Brookings - Douglas Harris, Helen F. Ladd, Marshall S. Smith, and Martin R. West

Douglas Harris, Helen F. Ladd, Marshall S. Smith, and Martin R. West will discuss Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 and the federal government’s role in society through a series of memos for the Brookings Institution. “In order to provide concrete and constructive recommendations based on [these] principles, the Brown Center invited a diverse roster of experts of contribute memos on specific issues in education that are likely to face the new Trump administration. These memos will be released serially on the Brown Center Chalkboard over the coming weeks.”

Top 10 in 10: Overview of Michigan's 10 in 10 Strategic Plan
Michigan Department of Education - Norma Jean Sass

Michigan’s Department of Education has released an updated strategic plan: “It’s Michigan’s strategic plan to become a top 10 education state in the next 10 years.”

Five Questions You Should Ask about Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig  provides five questions that we should be asking about Donald Trump’s education nominee, Betsy DeVos: “(1) Is Betsy DeVos qualified for Secretary of Education?; (3) What is Betsy DeVos’ ideology?; (4) Do Republican and Democrat education ‘reformers’ both support Trump and DeVos?; and (5) So what should the progressive education agenda be in this new Trump era?”

Charter school practices in Michigan similar to public schools
University of Michigan - Education Policy Institute - Julie Monteiro de Castro

“A new study by the University of Michigan's Education Policy Initiative shows Michigan's charter schools follow similar practices as the traditional public schools that their students would otherwise attend.” The study, completed by U-M researchers Susan Dynarski, Brian Jacob, and Mahima Mahadevan, measured different approaches taken by charters and traditional public schools in Michigan.

What cyber charter schools are and why their growth should worry us
The Conversation - Bryan Mann & David Baker

Bryan Mann & David Baker, Penn State University, investigated cyber charter schools. They said, “Our research, along with a body of academic work, suggests that the public should be concerned about an expansion of the cyber charter schooling model.”

Exploring the consequences of charter school expansion in U.S. cities
Economic Policy Institute - Bruce Baker

Bruce Baker, Rutgers University, studied charter school expansion for the Economic Policy Institute. He found the following effects of charter school expansion: (1) District schools are surviving, but under increased stress; (2) Charter expansion is not driven by well-known, high-profile operators; and (3) Charter schools are expanding in predominantly low-income, predominantly minority urban settings. Baker’s report includes recommendations for policymakers thinking about improving charter school laws.

Supportive But Not Supported: School District Leaders' Opinions on Implementing the Common Core State Standards
American Enterprise Institute - Nat Malkus & Jenn Hatfield

Nat Malkus and Jenn Hatfield, American Enterprise Institute, surveyed school district leaders who had attempted to implement CCSS. Their findings include: (1) Common Core brought major changes in other areas, including assessments, instruction, as well as curriculum; (2) Common Core was implemented along with other major reforms, and some districts reported four or more implementation efforts; and (3) school district leaders favored the new standards, but felt unsupported.

Pushing Back Against Teacher Attrition
Teachers College Record - Rachel Klein

Rachel Klein, a consultant for the New York City Department of Education, draws on induction programs for insight into what helps novice teachers navigate the first few years of teaching. She says, “Teaching is complex, challenging, and exceedingly overwhelming as a novice. But we know from those doing the work that mentorship eases the challenges and supports new teachers in becoming effective and confident.”

For unions in Wisconsin, a fast and hard fall since Act 10
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Dave Umhoefer

Dave Umhoefer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, studied the impact of Act 10 on unions in Wisconsin. His team found, “Nationally, no state has lost more of its labor union identity since 2011, a Journal Sentinel analysis found.”

New study shows variety in teachers' influences on kids' futures, and how poorly we measure that
The Hechinger Report - Meredith Kolodner

Meredith Kolodner summarizes recent research from Matthew Kraft and David Blazar. “Most teachers know from their own experience that running a successful classroom requires a number of different skills, including managing class activities, exercising discipline, keeping students engaged and teaching content to what is often a wide range of learners. Kraft and Blazar’s study gives some empirical evidence that these skills are distinct, and that teachers who master one of them don’t necessarily master the rest.”

What the Best School Districts Do Right: Four lessons for better district-school coherence
Education Week - Susan Moore Johnson

Susan Moore Johnson, Harvard University, studied school management approaches in five large urban school districts. Her team found that: (1) Principals are central to establishing and maintaining coherence; (2) Centralized policies and practices succeed when they are continuously informed by those inside the school; (3) Coherence in school management requires the knowledge and expertise of leaders at all levels of the system; and (4) Achieving coherence depends on trust.

Real Teacher Accountability
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene discusses his own version of teacher accountability - how teachers can (and do) hold themselves accountable to their communities. “But the best accountability system for educators is still a strong relationship with the school community. It may not serve many needs of bureaucrats or policy wonks, but it serves the needs of the school, the community and the students. Build a formal digitized number-spewing accountability system if you must, but if relationships are not at its heart, you'll end up with nothing but empty, useless, meaningless faux data.”

How Workable is Trump's $20 Billion School Choice Proposal?
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein reports on Donald Trump’s $20 billion voucher promise: "Trump said during the campaign that he'd like to use existing federal funds to support his big school choice program, even though he didn't say, specifically what pot of money he was referring to. The department's current budget is about $70 billion, with roughly $15.5 billion going to Title I grants for districts, and $12 billion going to state grants for special education."

New Evidence On Teaching Quality And The Achievement Gap
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo discusses the ‘so-called ‘achievement gap’” and how it has persisted for generations. His blog focuses on a recent Mathematica Policy Research study that investigated the measurable differences in access to effective teaching in 26 districts. “So, to reiterate, this study does not support the idea that simply equalizing test-based effectiveness between teachers of higher and lower income students, within or between these 26 districts, would have a large aggregate impact insofar as access is already pretty much equal, on the whole. This also means that moving ‘effective’ teachers to higher poverty schools could actually create ‘reverse’ Effective Teaching Gaps.”

What does the 2016 election mean for public schools?
Learning First Alliance - Richard M. Long

Richard Long discusses upcoming challenges that public schools face after 2016. "We as educators and advocates must now come together to protect the immediate safety and well-being of our schoolchildren as well as their prospects for future success. Their lives are at stake."

Trump's School Choice Expansion Plan May Face Uphill Battle
NY Times - Associated Press

This NY Times/AP article summarizes potential school choice initiatives that could be implemented by the Trump administration. "Education observers said there are other ways to push that agenda, including tax incentives to move children from public to private schools or a Race to the Top-style grant program in which states are encouraged to adopt choice-friendly policies in exchange for funds."

Educators Brace for Trump
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig covers potential policy changes faced by educators in the next administration. "The Wall Street Journal recently reported on what Trump has in mind for education. In fact, Donald Trump has promised a bill in the first 100 days."

Filling the Dozen Top Jobs in Trump's Department of Education
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

Rick Hess discusses the future of the Department of Education and who will be part of the new administration. "I’ll be clear: I don't know who will populate the Trump administration's Department of Education. I do have a few thoughts on some of the folks I'd like to see in the mix, though—and I figured I’d share them with you, if only so that fewer folks feel obliged to inquire. Please understand that this isn’t an exhaustive, careful, or complete list."

Pence, Trump, and the Ed Reform Agenda
Education Next - Paul E. Peterson

Paul Peterson writes about the education reform agenda under the Trump/Pence administration. “The Obama Administration’s propensity to legislate “by pen and phone” will give Trump many opportunities to change direction quickly. Letters from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights to school district officials, warning them that the prosecutorial weight of the federal government will be employed if they do not justify disparities in discipline rates and resources across racial and ethnic lines, will be withdrawn or simply ignored.”

What Crazy Will Trump and the Republicans Deliver?
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig reacts to the election of Donal Trump: “I really need to hear from my elders… How did they feel when Nixon was elected? How did they prepare their community for what was coming? When I finish this post I am going to call my grandmother immediately. I’d also like to hear from Gary Orfield, Mike Kirst, Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, Angela Valenzuela and other elders whose wisdom we need at such a time as this. We really should set up a series of lectures and convenings to prepare our heart and minds for the next four years. I suspect the Trump presidency will challenge our notions of a civil and just nation and test the strength of our democracy.”

'I'm Going to Reassure Them That They Are Safe': Talking to Students After the Election
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long discusses the election results and how educators can talk to students about the election of Donald Trump. “Stories are flooding social media from parents whose children are afraid of what the 2016 presidential election results might mean. One boy with Autism was crying because he saw Trump mocking a disabled person. A teenager who is gay is afraid of what he will do to the LGBT community. Muslim students are asking if they’re going to be safe; Latino students are asking if they will be deported.”

Massachusetts Voters Say No to Raising State Cap on Charter Schools
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero writes about the election results in Massachusetts, where voters rejected a bid to raise the cap on the number of charter schools allowed to open in the state. “The ballot question to expand the presence of charters in the state had drawn national attention: political heavy-weights such as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on the initiative, and millions have poured in from out-of-state organizations and donors to sway voters on the issue.”

How one school created a 'safe, comfortable place' for students and teachers
Washington Post - The Answer Sheet - Kevin Welner and Carol Burris

Kevin Welner and Carol Burris profile Hillsdale High School (San Mateo, CA) as part of the 2015-16 Schools of Opportunity Project. “A strong, student-centered culture that is fostered by a strong system of teacher learning is just one of the reasons that Hillsdale was selected as a gold School of Opportunity.”

Talking school choice research and history plus NAACP stance on charters
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig joins the Rick Smith Show to discuss school choice research and recent development in the civil rights community calling for a moratorium on charter schools. The Rick Smith show is a progressive talk radio show, which airs across the state of Pennsylvania.

The effects of good teacher professional development on student achievement
Flypaper Blog - Thomas Fordham Institute - Amber M. Northern

Amber Northern writes about research on professional development. “The boost to teacher outcomes did not translate to student achievement gains, as measured on both state math assessments and a study-administered test. Unfortunately, we can’t be sure why. But this study does suggest that professional development alone on discrete aspects of math knowledge is unlikely to move the needle much on student achievement.”

Lessons learned about the impact of content-focused teacher professional development on student achievement
NCEE Evaluation Brief - Institute of Education Sciences

A new NCEE Evaluation Brief attempts to answer the question: Does content-focused teacher development work? The evaluation looked at findings from three IES studies. “Taken together, the three IES studies suggest that existing models of PD could potentially be delivered in a way that supports teachers in improving their knowledge and practice to some degree. But the studies also indicate that the field does not yet fully understand how to ensure that teacher PD leads to measurable improvements in student learning.”

School turnaround under ESSA: Progress, but not a silver bullet
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Elizabeth Mann

Elizabeth Mann writes about school turnarounds under ESSA. “While progress is possible, we should be careful not to hastily generalize from success stories. Under ESSA, as before, there is ample reason to worry that local elected officials, such as school board members and superintendents, may abandon this type of comprehensive turnaround strategy, with its high costs and long time horizon, before it has a chance to work.”

Ten Teacher Recommendations in Facilitating Conversations About Race in the Classroom
Harvard Education Publishing Group - The Blog of Harvard Education Publishing - H. Richard Milner IV

Rich Milner writes about creating and facilitating conversations about race in classrooms. “What should teachers do to facilitate conversations about race inside of the classroom? Below, I offer ten recommendations to help middle and high school teachers create classroom environments that encourage, cultivate, and address race with and among students. Some of these practices may be transferable to elementary school classrooms as well, but my focus here is on middle and high school students.”

What Obama Never Got About Education
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant looks at the Obama administration's education policies. He writes: "As early as 2010, many of the best minds in education policy - education historian Diane Ravitch, economist Richard Rothstein, and education researcher David Berliner - could already see that the Obama administration was going in the wrong direction on education. In an overview of their remarks at the website of the Economic Policy Institute, the three experts describe Obama's education policies as ‘a lot like Bush policies.'"

Vote 'no' on charter schools
Boston Globe - Jonathan Kozol

Jonathan Kozol, author of ‘Death at an Early Age’ and ‘Savage Inequalities,’ discusses charter schools, raising the cap, and public education in Massachusetts. “This commonwealth has been an exemplar of democratic public education ever since the incubation of the common school idea at the midpoint of the 19th century. For all its imperfections and constant need of diligent repair, it remains a vision worth preserving. The privatizing forces from outside of this state have wisely recognized the powerful symbolic victory they’d gain by turning Massachusetts against its own historic legacy.”

Race to the Top's Impact on Student Achievement, State Policy Unclear, Report Says
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Alyson Klein

Alyson Klein shares a report from the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), which found no evidence that Race to the Top (RttT) had any long-term impact on student achievement or state policy. "So what do the report's conclusions mean for the program's future? Nothing. Congress has already gotten rid of the program and made it virtually impossible for any future secretary of education to resurrect it."

Education, Politics, and Music: An Interview with the Jersey Jazzman
Teacher Cast - - Jeffrey Bradbury

Jeffrey Bradbury interviews Mark Weber (@jerseyjazzman) for his New Jersey educator podcast. "Welcome to a the Jersey Educator Podcast, a show created by NJEA members ... for NJEA members.  Whether you are a teacher, an education support professional, or a New Jersey Student Education Association member, this show will serve as a platform to help you bring out the best in your students ... each and every day in your schools."

Charter Management Organizations and the Need for Reform
Voices @ Temple Law - Susan L. DeJarnatt

Susan L. DeJarnatt, Temple Law School, writes about Pennsylvania's charter sector and Charter Management Organizations (CMO). "Although charter schools in Pennsylvania must be organized as non-profits, CMOs can be and often are for-profit organizations. The Pennsylvania charter law doesn't mention them because the legislature apparently did not envision such entities in the late 1990s when it wrote the law. But they have become an increasingly important part of the charter sector."

Wall Street Firms Make Money From Teachers' Pensions - And Fund Charter Schools Fight
International Business Times - David Sirota, Avi Asher-Schapiro, & Andrew Perez

An International Business Times/MapLight investigation uncovers the connection between pension funds and the charter school fight in Massachusetts. "[It] found that executives at eight financial firms with contracts to manage Massachusetts state pension assets have bypassed anti-corruption rules and funneled at least $778,000 to groups backing Question 2,  which would expand the number of charter schools in the state."

Social And Emotional Skills In School: Pivoting From Accountability To Development
Shanker Blog - David Blazar and Matthew A. Kraft

David Blazar and Matthew A. Kraft discuss nonacademic indicators as a requirement of ESSA, which "assess students' success in school and, in turn, hold schools accountable." They write: "Even as we continue to wrestle with important question about which skills to prioritize and measure, there still are many ways we can learn from the data and resources that are currently collected by education agencies."

It's not anti-charter to oppose lifting cap
CommonWealth Magazine - Michael Loconto

Michael Loconto discusses a ballot question in Massachusetts on charter school growth. "There is an alternative: public district schools and charters can continue to coexist and thrive under the cap. Massachusetts residents should celebrate that our schools consistently outperform every state in the nation."

What New Challenges To The Charter School Industry Reveal
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant writes about the complications facing the charter industry in 2016-17. His blog covers a new report out this week, 'Who controls our public schools: The privatization of American public education,' from the Independent Media Institute. He says, "The report presents a comprehensive survey of the abundant news accounts and prominent studies documenting the origins of the modern charter industry, its incredibly successful public relations and marketing effort, and the significant problems it leaves in its wake, including widespread financial fraud and abuse, dubious academic results, and a weakening of democratic control of local schools." *Bryant discloses that he consulted on the report.

The Strange Case of the Disappearing NAEP
Education Next - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless looks into the long term trend test of the NAEP and the funding of the test in future years. "Why NAEP has abandoned its foundational assessment and embarked on its current agenda should be the central question of NAEP’s request for funding next year."

The 'Value-Added' of Teacher Preparation Programs: New Research
National Education Policy Center - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley reviews a recently published study in the journal 'Education of Economics.' The study investigated teacher quality differences between teacher preparation programs. She writes, "Needless to say, this research is particularly relevant, here, given ‘Sixteen US states have begun to hold teacher preparation programs (TPPs) accountable for teacher quality, where quality is estimated by teacher value-added to student test scores.' The federal government continues to support and advance these initiatives, as well (see, for example, here)."

How Joy Became the New Grit
Edushyster - Joan Goodman

Joan Goodman, University of Pennsylvania, discusses the co-opting of *joy* by charter management organizations (CMOs). "When I first began visiting no excuses schools, I was struck by the striking juxtaposition of teachers presiding over silent class periods during which children diligently followed instructions, only to interrupt them periodically with the demand for reciprocal clapping, rhymed motivational cheers, and choral responses that seemed more appropriate to an athletic or marching event than an academic environment."

A Few Reactions To The Final Teacher Preparation Accountability Regulations
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo reacts to the final regulations for teacher preparation programs released recently. "These regulations will guide states, which are required to design their own systems for assessing TP program performance for full implementation in 2018-19."

Can Teaching Survive as a Profession?
10/19/2016 - Daniel Katz

Daniel Katz, chair of the educational studies department at Seton Hall University, tackles education reform and teaching as a profession. He writes, "In order to redirect our efforts so that teaching can genuinely thrive, we need better ideas competing for time and attention." His blog lists eight areas that "demand our attention."

School Organizational Contexts, Teacher Turnover, and Student Achievement Evidence From Panel Data
American Educational Research Journal - Matthew A. Kraft, William H. Marinell, Darrick Shen-Wei Yee

Kraft, Marinell, and Yee (2016) discuss school organizational contexts, teacher turnover, and student achievement in New York City. "We find that improvements in school leadership especially, as well as in academic expectations, teacher relationships, and school safety are all independently associated with corresponding reductions in teacher turnover. Increases in school safety and academic expectations also correspond with student achievement gains."

Listening to and Learning from Teachers: A Summary of Focus Groups on the Common Core and Assessments
Center on Education Policy - Diane Stark Rentner, Nancy Kober, Mathew Frizzell, and Maria Ferguson

The Center on Education Policy at the George Washington University issued a report summarizing teacher focus group discussions around the Common Core State Standards and aligned state math and English language arts assessments. "This report summarizes discussions from five elementary teacher focus groups conducted in Delaware, Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin in spring and summer of 2016. Topics addressed include the Common Core State Standards, curricula, instructional materials, CCSS-aligned state assessments, student achievement data from those assessments, and accountability."

A Closer Look At The Debate Over Charter Schools
NPR - WBUR - Jeremy Hobson

Jeremy Hobson investigates charter schools with guests Kevin Welner and Michelle Rhee. "As controversy continues over charter schools in the United States, Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson dives into the debate with Michelle Rhee, who ran Washington's public schools from 2007 to 2010, and Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder."

Cozy charter-school tie-ups bring risk of fraud, federal audit finds
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins writes about the findings of a new federal audit on charter schools: "The audit, conducted from 2011 to 2013, states that a lack of separation between the schools and their management companies can lead to internal control weaknesses that open the door to waste, fraud and abuse; a lack of accountability over federal funds and little assurance that charter schools are following federal guidelines while implementing federal programs."

Are charter schools truly innovative? The answer can depend on your definition
Boston Globe - James Vaznis

James Vaznis investigates charter schools in Massachusetts: "For decades, charter schools have been billed as "laboratories of innovation," conjuring up images of teachers and administrators brainstorming and testing cutting-edge instruction that - if proven successful - could deliver salvation to urban education. But the track record of Massachusetts charter schools on innovation is mixed. While some charters are innovative, others simply strive to build high-quality schools using existing methods and do not necessarily invent new practices."

New Report Examines the Sources of Newly Hired Teachers in the U.S.
The National Center for Education Statistics

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released 'Sources of Newly Hired Teachers in the United States: Results from the Schools and Staffing Survey, 1987–88 to 2011–12.' The report examines the sources of newly hired public and private primary and secondary school teachers in the U.S. The study uses data spanning 25 years from four administrations of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a sample survey of U.S. elementary and secondary schools.

Why Do Some Students Perform Better Than Others In School?
NPR - WBUR - Jeremy Hobson

Jeremy Hobson talks with Dan Losen, director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at UCLA. "Today, we’re talking about inequality and the achievement gap that persists between white, middle class students and poor, minority students in this country — and what might help to narrow it."

Charter cap debate clouds original intent
CommonWealth Magazine - Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider discusses the original purpose of charter schools: "Charter schools were supposed to be places of innovation-something we have not seen in practice. This vision, however, can still be rescued. Charters can play a critical role in the strengthening of all public schools. But not if Question 2 passes and we eliminate the cap. However ironic it may seem, then, a vote against charter expansion may be the only way to save the original promise of charter schools—as places for innovation."

Coming to a City Near You: Common School Performance Measures
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Robin Lake

Robin Lake discusses a new report on how cities have developed Common School Performance Frameworks (CSPF), which are “a set of performance metrics developed locally that apply to all schools, both district and charter.”

200 Million Test Scores and What Do We Know? Studying Educational Opportunity with Big Data
EdPolicyWorks - University of Virginia - Sean Reardon

Sean Reardon, Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education at Stanford University, will be giving a free, live streamed Ed Policy seminar this Friday October 7th from 11-12:30 PM EST. “Talk Abstract: We test students a great deal in the United States. In grades three through eight alone, U.S. students take roughly 50 million standardized state accountability tests each year. Their scores on these tests, aggregated within geographic school districts and student subgroups, provide a useful proxy measure of the sum total of educational opportunities available to children in different communities and groups.”

Pennsylvania School Tax Burden
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - Gregory Collins

“In [this] policy brief, ‘Pennsylvania School Tax Burden,’ Gregory Collins examines how the new formula directs state basic education funding, how it is allocated to local school districts based on need, its ability to pay, and the local school tax effort. ‘Pennsylvania School Tax Burden’ examines the claim that differences exist in local school tax burdens across Pennsylvania's 500 districts.”

Seven Things I Learned from Attending a Charter School Board Meeting
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan writes about her experience attending a charter school board meeting. “I’m still mulling over what to make of this. When schools are unsafe or plagued by low achievement, I understand [the] parents' desire to have options. But GTA's [Grand Traverse Academy] test scores are, at best, average - and sometimes significantly lower - compared to surrounding traditional public school.”

Wayne State University College of Education hosts lecture and community conversation featuring professor, policy advisor and author David L. Kirp
Wayne State University - Staff

The educational leadership and policy studies program in the Wayne State University College of Education is hosting a discussion that features David L. Kirp, the James D. Marver Professor of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley, senior fellow at the Learning Policy Institute, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.

The Wisdom of Mandatory Grade Retention
Education Next - Brian A. Jacob

Brian Jacob discusses mandatory grade retention in Michigan. “Last week, Michigan’s legislature passed a bill requiring schools to hold back third-graders who fall a grade-level behind in reading. If Governor Rick Snyder signs the bill, Michigan will become the 17th state to adopt such a policy. Mandatory grade retention is clearly popular, at least among many state legislators. This is understandable given the importance of early reading skills for future outcomes and the shockingly low levels of basic reading proficiency in many communities. But is it good policy?”

Can student test scores provide useful measures of school principals' performance?
Institute of Education Sciences - Mathematica Policy Research - Hanley Chiang, Moira McCullough, Stephen Lipscomb, Brian Gill

"A new report from the Institute of Education Sciences [completed by researchers at Mathematica Policy Research] examines the accuracy of test-based measures of principal performance that could be implemented broadly. The study assessed the predictive validity of these measures—the extent to which ratings from these measures accurately reflect principals’ contributions to student achievement in future years. These findings suggest that states and districts should exercise caution when using these measures to make major decisions about principals."

Elizabeth Warren Clarifies The Charter Schools Debate
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant explores recent comments by Sen. Elizabeth Warren regarding Question 2 in Massachusetts. Question 2 calls for lifting the cap on the number of charters in Massachusetts. Bryant says, “Senator Warren’s opposition to Question 2 is proof the car wreck is happening.”

The Bubble Bursts: The 2015 Opt-Out Movement in New Jersey
Consortium for Policy Research in Education - Jonathan A. Supovitz, Francine Stephens, Julie Kubelka, Patrick McGuinn, Hannah Ingersoll

A new report  from Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) analyzes the scope, factors, and context of the opt-out movement that occurred in New Jersey in the spring of 2015. “Using test participation data released in February 2016 by the New Jersey Department of Education, we found that approximately 135,000 students did not take the state assessment in the spring of 2015. Depending on how it was calculated, this represented between 11-19% of the population of students eligible for testing in grades 3 to 11 in the state. There was also a positive correlation between higher district opt-out rates and wealthier districts.”

New Study: Principals Play a Large Role in Teacher Retention
Education Week - District Dossier - Brenda Iasevoli

Brenda Iasevoli reports on a new study by Susan Burkhauser, ‘How Much Do School Principals Matter When It Comes to Teacher Working Conditions?,’ published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. “What's new about Burkhauser's study is that it suggests that a teacher's perception of working conditions is closely related to his or her perception of the principal. That is, the way a teacher sees her principal can shape the way she perceives conditions in the school, even before any changes are made, and regardless of what else is going on in the school or district.”

Massachusetts Charter Schools and Their Problems With 'Attrition'
Jersey Jazzman - Mark Weber

Mark Weber looks at lifting the charter school cap in Massachusetts and high school attrition. “Is it really worth expanding charters and risking further injury to BPS when the charter sector appears, at least at the high school level, to rely so heavily on cohort attrition?”

The Details Matter In Teacher Evaluations
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo unpacks a recent working paper by Matthew Steinberg and Matthew Kraft. “Steinberg and Kraft use data from the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project, and, after adjusting the measures for comparability, they simulate how different weights and cutpoints would affect final results of evaluations in eight large school districts. The simulated evaluation systems include observations, value-added scores, and student surveys. They also examine discrepancies in results caused by observations conducted principals versus those done by external observers.”

'Class sizes in Michigan, the quiet crisis,' policy brief and online comparison tool
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy - University of Michigan

New research from the Education Policy Initiative at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy found that many Michigan K-12 students experience very large core classes—with 40 or more students—but that some students are at greater risk. The policy brief, 'Class Size in Michigan: Investigating the Risk of Being in Very Large Classes,' was authored by Brian Jacob, Rene Crespin, CJ Libassi, and Susan Dynarski. “Black students, students attending schools in cities, and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch at their schools face a disproportionate risk of being in a class of 40 or more. These disparities are particularly troubling because numerous studies have confirmed the negative impact of large classes on test scores and adult outcomes such as college degree completion.”

EdNext Podcast: Should Massachusetts Allow More Charter Schools?
Education Next - Martin West

Marty West, EdNext editor-in-chief, talks with Sarah Cohodes, Teachers College, and Susan Dynarski, University of Michigan. The podcast includes discussion of a recent policy piece by Cohodes and Dynarski, which advanced that Massachusetts’ charter school cap “holds back disadvantaged students.”

Racism, Xenophobia, and the Election
Rethinking Schools - The Editors of Rethinking Schools

The editors of Rethinking Schools discuss how teachers and students are discussing the 2016 presidential campaign. “We need to seize on teachable moments to address racism and white supremacy during this election cycle and, after that, continue and increase our efforts. From the dinner table to the classroom, from staff meetings to school boards, educators need to find ways to put the issue of race and racism front and center and keep it there.”

Opinion: If You Can't Stand the Heat, Stay Out of the Classroom
NJ Spotlight - Mark Weber

Mark Weber discusses the impact of classroom temperature on schools, teachers, and students. “Overheated classrooms are yet another sign of how politicians really value teachers. Sure, they’re happy to tell us we’re important, but when it comes time to make certain we have decent working conditions — and students have decent learning conditions — too many are back in their air-conditioned offices, making excuses for not raising the revenues needed to upgrade our schools.”

Report: Teacher Shortage Crisis Can Be Averted by Keeping Educators in the Profession
NEA Today - Cindy Long

Cindy Long discusses new research from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) that addresses the causes and consequences of teacher shortages. “Reducing attrition would actually make a greater difference in balancing supply and demand than any other intervention, the researchers found. In fact, reducing attrition by half could virtually eliminate shortages.”

School reform: What went wrong, what went right, and what we should do in the future
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - William J. Mathis and Tina M. Trujillo

Bill Mathis and Tina Trujillo share their new book, 'Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms,' on the Answer Sheet blog. “If we were serious about improving education and truly guaranteeing that all children were successful, we would have to do things differently than we did under NCLB. To figure out how things should be changed, we called on a collection of the nation’s most eminent scholars to address what went wrong, what went right, and what we should do in the future.”

Solving Teacher Shortages: Attracting and Retaining a Talented and Diverse Teaching Workforce
Learning Policy Institute (LPI)

The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) released a series of new reports this week. The new reports analyze causes and impact of teacher shortages. "According to new research conducted by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), the nation is staring at a serious teacher deficit that is only going to get worse unless steps are taken now to address it. The analysis, 'A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand and Shortages in the U.S.,' is part of a package of research reports and briefs released today that provide the most comprehensive look to date at the causes and consequences of teacher shortages and offer evidence-based policy recommendations to develop a strong and stable teaching workforce."

Why I left a profession that I love
Center for Teaching Quality - Brianna Crowley

Brianna Crowley discusses her decision to leave teaching after only 9 years. “But if I’m honest, those frustrations weren’t the real catalyst for leaving. Teaching is a (mostly) awesome profession where I had the honor of  leading 110 unique souls every day. I left not out of frustration with the bad, but instead to follow a passion, to pursue a dream. I left because I want to change the system.”

What Are the Best Measures of School Quality? Educators Speak Out
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez shares the results of a national online poll from the National Education Association, which asked educators to specify school-level indicators they cared most about. "The two highest ranking indicators fell under the umbrella of widening the school curriculum, which came in at 85 percent, and health and wellness programs at 73 percent."

America has a teacher shortage, and a new study says it's getting worse
Washington Post - Joe Heim

Joe Heim shares the findings of several new reports on teacher shortages across the country. "Regardless of the state, students in high-poverty and high-minority schools are typically hit hardest when there are teacher shortages. In 2014, on average, less than one percent of teachers were uncertified in low-minority schools, while four times as many were uncertified in high-minority schools, the study showed."

School choice, metro Detroit's new white flight
Bridge Magazine - Mike Wilkinson and Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Against the backdrop of a regional high school football game, Mike Wilkinson and Chastity Pratt Dawsey write about the impact of schools of choice in Michigan. "Moving out of East Detroit. East Detroit students have flooded into neighboring districts for more than a decade, with more than 2,900 using schools of choice to leave East Detroit. Most headed for districts that were far whiter than East Detroit, which saw the white population of its schools fall from 50 percent to 18.6 percent from 2009 to 2015."

Schools of Opportunity Project Honors 20 Exemplary High Schools From Coast to Coast
National Education Policy Center (NEPC) - Kevin Welner & Carol Burris

Kevin Welner & Carol Burris shared the results of the annual 'Schools of Opportunity' project from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). The project "identifies and recognizes excellent public high schools that actively strive to close [the] opportunity gaps - the differences in opportunities and resources that drive the well-known achievement gaps."

Who Gains Most From School Choice? Not Low-Income Students Of Color
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant discusses school choice and communities of color. “Certainly, you can’t criticize parents for wanting to navigate to the best of their abilities any system of education, whether it’s based on choice or not. But it’s hard to see how a system based on school choice – that so easily accentuates the advantages of the privileged – is going to benefit the whole community, especially those who are the most chronically under-served.”

Back-to-School Statistics Show Slight Enrollment Increases in 2016
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min reports on the latest figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). “This fall, 50.4 million students will attend more than 98,000 public elementary and secondary schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, which each year releases the latest data on public and private schools in the U.S. In recent years, the number of students has remained relatively steady--this year's total had a slight bump--while the number of minority students has increased.”

Should black communities beware of charter schools?
Michigan Radio - Stateside - Cynthia Canty

Cynthia Canty interviews Andre Perry on charter schools in urban areas. “Perry joined us today to talk about why he believes it's time for activists like those in the Black Lives Matter movement to pay more attention to charter schools.”

Inside Detroit's Radical Experiment to Save Its Public Schools
Time - Josh Sanburn

Josh Sanburn writes about the challenges and changes inside Detroit’s public schools. MSU’s David Arsen is quoted: “It’s the Wild West. There’s nothing like it in the country. Charters are giving out computers and sneakers just to get the kid in the door. National advocates for charters are looking at Detroit and saying, ‘Don’t do it that way.’”

Teleconference: Parents and community groups demand charter accountability
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig discusses a recent conference call that included a coalition of parents, lawmakers and elected leaders, education leaders, and community groups. “Recent news reporting and academic studies have documented the waste, fraud and abuse by privately-managed charter schools, which have cost taxpayers millions while hurting students. The California Teachers Association and other civil rights groups have sponsored and supported numerous pieces of legislation to ensure equal access for all students.”

Should Value-Added Models Control for Student Absences?
Teachers College Record - Seth Gershenson

Seth Gershenson investigates the impact of student absences on value-added models. “Regardless of how between-school differences are accounted for, VAM-based rankings of teacher effectiveness are insensitive to how, and whether, student absences enter the value-added model’s conditioning set. … these findings suggest that controlling for student absences in teacher evaluation systems’ value-added models is a relatively inexpensive way to increase teacher buy-in.”

Education Matters, But Direct Anti-Poverty and Inequality-Reduction Efforts Matter More
08/31/2016 - Ben Spielberg

Ben Spielberg looks at the impact of poverty and inequality vs. education. “None of this evidence changes the fact that education is very important.  It just underscores that direct efforts to reduce poverty and inequality – efforts that put more money in the pockets of low-income people and provide them with important benefits like health care – are most important if our goal is to boost opportunities for low-income students.”

What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew
NY Times - Donna De La Cruz

Donna De La Cruz unpacks a question posed by a Denver elementary school teacher, Kyle Schwartz: "I wish my teacher knew ..."

New PDK Poll Finds Shifting Attitudes on Public Schools
Learning First Alliance - Joetta Sack-Min

Joetta Sack-Min shares the findings of the 2016 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. “Joshua P. Starr, the chief executive officer of PDK International, noted the public’s divide in prepared remarks about the findings. ‘There’s a real question today about education’s return on investment,’ Starr remarked. ‘While we know that a college degree is essential in today’s economy, parents and the public want to see a clearer connection between the public school system and the world of work.’”

Why school? Americans speak out on education goals, standards, priorities, and funding
PDK International - Joshua P. Starr

This week PDK International released the 48th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Multiple blogs and follow-up articles are linked to from this informational page.

What's the Purpose of Education? Public Doesn't Agree on the Answer
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reviews the findings of the 2016 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. “For the 15th consecutive year, a plurality of Americans (19%) believe lack of funding is the top problem facing public schools, and, by 53% to 45%, a majority favors raising local property taxes to help improve public schools. Furthermore, if taxes were raised, 34% of respondents said they would want the revenue to be allocated toward hiring new teachers and raising their salaries. Seventeen percent cited more supplies and technology, and an equal number would spend the money on classes and extracurriculars. Infrastructure improvements and new schools were identified as the top spending priority by 8 percent.”

It's All Cyclical
08/25/2016 - Derrell Bradford, 50CAN

Derrell Bradford discusses the myriad problems facing education reformers: “I love a good bout of self pity now and again, but in this instance I think we could all use a bit of tough love and advice: Get over it.”

John Oliver Slams Charter Schools And His Critics Totally Miss The Point
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

Jeff Bryant analyzes reaction to John Oliver’s recent segment on charter schools. Oliver, during his most recent episode on HBO, looked at the problems facing these schools. “None of Oliver’s critics seriously refuted the crux of his argument that there might be something fundamentally wrong by design, rather than by implementation or intent, with the idea that  a ‘free market’ of privately operated and essentially unregulated schools is a surefire way to improve education opportunities for all students.”

Report Names the 50 Most-Segregating School District Boundaries by Income
Education Week - Politics K-12 - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa shares the results of a new report from EdBuild, which identified the most segregated district boundaries by income in the United States. “The EdBuild report points the finger directly at a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Milliken v. Bradley, in which the court held that school desegregation plans cannot be enforced across districts lines, as helping to increase such economic segregation between schools.”

Educators Mobilize as School Takeovers Open Door For Charter Expansion
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

Brenda Álvarez covers a constitutional amendment in Georgia that would allow state takeover of public schools. “If history is any indication of what this could mean, Georgia will be among several states to fragment school authority, disenfranchise communities of color, and ignore parent and community concerns.”

Do Unions Belong in the Fight Against Corporate School Reform?
Common Dreams - Steven Singer

Steven Singer looks at the role of teacher unions and the health of public education. He says, “THAT’S why corporate education reformers hate teachers and their unions. We make it nearly impossible to swipe school budgets into their own pockets. So do unions belong in the fight against corporate education reform? Answer: Heck yeah! In fact, they are essential to it.”

ESSA Didn't Settle Federal Education Policy. Far From It.
Education Next - Chad Aldeman

Chad Aldeman, Bellwether Education Partners, digs into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation timetable: “To get a sense of why this matters, it’s important to consider the timeline ESSA laid out. As of August 1 this year, NCLB is dead, and, so are any waivers issued under NCLB. States are busy preparing their new accountability systems, which must be in place beginning with the 2017-18 school year, and states will be submitting their plans in the spring and summer of 2017.”

AEI: Comparing Public and Charter Schools
Curgudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene takes a closer look at the findings of a recent AEI report that attempted to compare charter schools to public schools. “AEI has always taken a patient long-term view of the charter biz, and this report concedes some ground in order to consolidate a more defensible position. … But don't expect it to change any charter fan's mind. Their premise remains the same -- charters must exist and must go on. Data like this will not change their goals; it will just help them fine tune their pursuit of those goals.”

Civil Rights organizations vs. Wealthy: Are charter schools better?
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julien Vasquez Heilig covers the charter school debate within and between civil rights groups. The blog includes several media clips on the following topics: (1) NAACP’s call for a moratorium on charter schools.  Do charters have more freedom and less accountability?; (2) What’s the role of inequality in fueling the charter movement? What is the alternative to private-control and privatization of resources for public education?; and (3) Do charter students perform better? What are the alternatives to charters that have 400-1000% more impact?

Charter schools vs. 'traditional' [sic] public schools
America Enterprise Institute - Nat Malkus

Nat Malkus, writing for the conservative American Enterprise Institute, discusses charter schools and public schools using national data. “The results show that which 'traditional' [sic] public schools you compare charters to matters a lot.”

What High Schools Can Do to Keep Students from Dropping Out
AJE Forum - Stephen Kotok, Sakiko Ikoma and Katerina Bodovski

Stephen Kotok, Sakiko Ikoma and Katerina Bodovski discuss how high schools can keep students from dropping out. Based on a recently published article in the American Journal of Education, ‘School Climate and Dropping Out of School in an Era of Accountability,’ the authors investigate the impact of school climate, organization, and composition on dropout decisions. “Although devoting time and resources to the improvement of school climate may seem like a distraction from instructional and test prep time, our research suggests that such process of capacity building is critical and ultimately raises the level of academic success over time.”

Who opts out and why? Results from a national survey on opting out of standardized tests
Teachers College - Columbia University - Oren Pizmony-Levy & Nancy Green Saraisky

Oren Pizmony-Levy and Nancy Green Saraisky completed a report based on the National Survey on Opting Out of Standardized Tests. Some key findings are: "(1) The opt out movement includes more than just parents who have opted their children out; (2) Approximately three‐quarters of respondents who are parents or guardians of school‐aged children (74.5 percent) have opted their children out of testing; (3) Parents refuse standardized tests even in states where opting out is not permitted or discouraged by policy makers; (4) The typical opt out activist is a highly educated, white, married, politically liberal parent whose children attend public school and whose household median income is well above the national average; (5) Most participants have come to the opt out movement during the past 3‐4 years; (6) The opt out movement is about more than just opposition to high‐stakes testing; (7) Motivations vary, depending on whether the respondent was a teacher or not; and (8) Opt out activists are concerned with current educational reforms and efforts to improve public schools."

California's Too-Colorful Accountability Plan
Education Next - Chester E. Finn, Jr.

Checker Finn writes about California’s new color-coded approach to school accountability: "Not only is it manifestly discriminatory against color-blind people like me; it’s overall baffling and unhelpful to just about everyone who might ever want to make use of it."

Debating charter schools: Julian Vasquez Heilig vs. Howard Fuller
Cloaking Inequity - Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig appeared on Andre Perry's WBOK 1230 AM #FREECOLLEGE show. "It's rare that the media brings a balancing perspective to education reformers arguments for anti-democratic, top-down, private control and privatization of our public schools."

What Happens to Student Learning When Teachers Change Positions in Schools?
Education Week - Teacher Beat - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk reports on a new report on teacher "churning." The study by Allison Attebery, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff looks at the impact of teacher turnover in New York City. "The new research study is among the first to provide some preliminary evidence that this churn, though probably unavoidable to some degree, on average isn't doing students any favors."

The teacher pay gap is wider than ever: Teachers' pay continues to fall further behind pay of comparable workers
Economic Policy Institute - Sylvia Allegretto & Lawrence Mishel

Sylvia Allegretto and Lawrence Mishel update their research on teachers' pay. "What this report finds: The teacher pay penalty is bigger than ever. In 2015, public school teachers' weekly wages were 17.0 percent lower than those of comparable workers-compared with just 1.8 percent lower in 1994. This erosion of relative teacher wages has fallen more heavily on experienced teachers than on entry-level teachers."

Summative School Ratings: Not So Great
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene writes about summative school ratings (grades): "When the primary objective of a school is to make its numbers so that its summative rating doesn't take a hit, it's very easy to start seeing students as obstacles or problems -- not the whole purpose of the school. Ultimately my objection to summative ratings for schools is that instead of giving schools one more tool for helping students, they get in the way of doing that job -- the most important job we have in schools."

How Think Tanks Amplify Corporate America's Influence
New York Times - Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams

Eric Lipton and Brooke Williams look into the world of think tanks. The article investigates the complicated role that think tanks play in amplifying corporate influence on public policy. The article is part of a series examining research influence in Washington, D.C.

Thinking About Tests While Rethinking Test-Based Accountability
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo writes about recently released test results in New York: "That said, no matter what you think of the new NYC approach (and I think there are arguments on both sides), there was an opportunity here not to ignore completely the testing results, but rather to present them in a manner a bit more consistent with building a more comprehensive infrastructure for assessing student and school performance, as NYC officials claim to be attempting to do."

Foundations Unfiltered
EduShyster - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire interviews Megan Tompkins-Stange for the blog EduShyster. "Tompkins-Stange spent five years conducting confidential interviews with insiders at some of the foundations most involved in education reform. What they told her will surprise you. Or not..."

Illegal Admission Policies in California Charter Schools Detailed in ACLU Report
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero shares the findings of a new report from the ACLU of Southern California. “The group analyzed admission policies on websites, in handbooks and other public materials for around 1,200 charter schools, categorizing at least 250 as having exclusionary admissions standards.”

Cyber Schools Slammed by Charters (Again)
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene offers his personal thoughts on a new report from The Fordham Foundation, which found problems with online charters in Ohio. “So this report is kind of like having Ford do a report on the safety of Yugos. But there are charts and graphs and conclusions that sort of match what we already know. There are some charts, many words and pages here, many drawn up by the Department of Redundancy Department, but the bottom line is clear enough. Ohio cyber schools aren't doing a very good job, and some folks you should try bricks and mortar charters instead.”

On the Relative Efficiency of New Jersey Public School Districts
New Jersey Education Policy Forum - Bruce D. Baker & Mark Weber

Bruce Baker and Mark Weber dig into the 'relative efficiency' of New Jersey public school districts. According to the authors, the findings “are consistent with previous findings in cost-efficiency literature and analyses specific to New Jersey.”

How Media Coverage of Charter Schools Changed in the Past Decade
American Enterprise Institute - Fredrick M. Hess, Kelsey Hamilton, Jenn Hatfield

Rick Hess, Kelsey Hamilton, and Jenn Hatfield analyze the 'tone' [sic] of press coverage of charter school in 2005 to 2015. “We found that the tenor of 2015 coverage was broadly mixed, but more negative than positive. On the whole, the analysis suggested little support for oft-heard claims that the media are strongly biased for or against charter schools.”

Researchers: No Consensus Against Using Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations, Contra Democratic Platform
The 74 - Matt Barnum

Matt Barnum, writing for the anti-teacher website ‘The 74,’ solicits feedback from researchers in response to the Democratic Party platform, which advocated against the use of test scores in teacher evaluations. The interview responses are from leading education scholars and present informed opinions that test scores, as they exist now, are not a reliable way to evaluate teachers for high stakes decisions.

Democratic Party Platform: End 'Test-and-Punish' for Students of Color, Teachers
Education Week - Politics K-12 Blog - Andrew Ujifusa

Andrew Ujifusa covers the Democratic Party platform, which was released last week. “The platform reflects several of the top K-12 policy priorities of [the] American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, both of which have backed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. As we discussed last week, it's a strong repudiation of groups that favor test-based accountability as a key tool in identifying and addressing the needs of minority students and struggling schools.”

Is Stress in the Classroom Contagious?
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker shares the results of a recent study that found a strong link between “a teacher’s occupational stress and a student’s physiological strain.” More, “The results, says co-author Eva Oberle, highlight the need to properly address the lack of support in too many schools. ‘Our study is a reminder of the systemic issues facing teachers and educators as classroom sizes increase and supports for teachers are cut.’”

Lessons Learned From the Great Recession: Layoffs and the RIF-Induced Teacher Shuffle
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis - Dan Goldhaber, Katharine O. Strunk, Nate Brown, & David S. Knight

Dan Goldhaber, Katharine O. Strunk, Nate Brown, & David S. Knight completed a study on the effects of teacher layoffs during the Great Recession. From the abstract, “We find that the layoff process leads far more teachers to leave their schools for other district schools than is necessary to reach budget savings targets. In other words, the layoff process induces teacher churn, impacting even teachers who are not actually laid off. Placebo tests confirm that this ‘structural churn’ results from the layoff process rather than from differential mobility of targeted teachers.”

Donald Trump Jr.'s call for school choice in context
The Conversation - Emily Costello & Kalpana Jain

Emily Costello & Kalpana Jain react to recent comments from Donald Trump Jr. regarding school choice in the U.S.  The authors share excerpts from scholars about what the research says about school choice, including quotes from Kevin Welner and Josh Cowen.

Think teachers can't be fired because of unions? Surprising results from new study
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire, author of the EduShyster blog, interviews Eunice Han, who completed a study on teacher unionization effects. The study, ‘The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers,’ found “the opposite of what people think: that unionized districts actually fire more bad [sic] teachers.”

Author's Advice to White Teachers in Urban Schools: Drop the 'Savior Complex' and Learn from Students
NEA Today - Maya Elie

Maya Elie interviews Chris Emdin about his new book: 'For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y'all Too.' Here’s part of Emdin’s response: "I'm not demonizing white folks or speaking to just white folks, I'm speaking to the rest of y'all too! There are black folks who also enforce those same white supremacist ideologies. The tools are for everyone, the tools are for the fact that we have 80% of white people in urban schools, but it’s also for you black and brown educators who are conditioned to accept the pedagogies that white folks are implementing. It ain't about being racist, it’s about being aware of race."

Book Review - Mission High
AJE Forum - Jesus Tirado

Jesus Tirado, University of Georgia, reviews Kristina Rizga’s ‘Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail it, and the Students and Teachers who made it Triumph.’ Tirado says, “"Mission High’ (2015) provides great insight into how complex schooling is and how history and policy shape people’s experiences today. Readers will appreciate and empathize with the struggles, triumphs, and personal insights of the students, teachers, and administrators throughout the book and see why tests should not be the ultimate and only evaluation."

A Myth Grows In The Garden State
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matt Di Carlo takes a closer look at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s 'fairness funding' plan: "Pu[t] simply, Governor Christie believes that 'money doesn’t matter' in education. He and his advisors have been told that how much you spend on schools has little real impact on results. This is also a talking point that, in many respects, coincides with an ideological framework of skepticism toward government and government spending, which Christie shares."

Book Review - Improving Teacher Evaluation Systems: Making the Most of Multiple Measures
Teachers College Record - Terek Azzam

Terek Azzam reviews 'Improving Teacher Evaluation Systems: Making the Most of Multiple Measures,' a new book by Jason A. Grissom and Peter Youngs. He says: "The inclusion of pragmatic considerations along with supporting research-based evidence is a core strength of the book because it ties theory, research, and practice together. Conceptually, the text covers four main domains that include: a) perspectives on value added models (Chapters Two to Five); b) the potential for alternative evaluation criteria (e.g., student surveys and classroom observations) (Chapters Six to Eight); c) the utility of evaluation systems for teachers and school leaders (Chapters Nine, Ten, and Twelve); and d) issues with the implementation of large-scale evaluation systems (Chapters Eleven and Thirteen)."

Continuing Change in Newark
Education Next - Richard Lee Colvin

Richard Lee Colvin looks into the tenure of Christopher Cerf as the state-appointed superintendent of Newark Public Schools. "From the start, Cerf understood that as superintendent he had to take a different approach from Anderson's, and do all he could to smooth the political waters."

How charter schools in Michigan have hurt traditional public schools, new research finds
Washington Post - Answer Sheet - Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire, author of the EduShyster blog, interviews David Arsen, Michigan State University, who completed a study on school districts in Michigan. The study, ‘Which Districts Get Into Financial Trouble and Why: Michigan’s Story,’ found that: “80% of the explained variation in district fiscal stress is due to changes in districts’ state funding, to enrollment changes including those associated with school choice policies, and to the enrollment of high-cost, special education students. We also find that the districts in which the state has intervened have significantly higher shares of African-American and low-income students than other financially troubled Michigan districts, and they are in worse financial shape by some measures.”

More than Patrons: How Foundations Fuel Policy Change and Backlash
Political Science & Politics - Sarah Reckhow

Sarah Reckhow, Michigan State University, writes about her recent study of how foundations have attempted to "coordinate and lead social-policy change from the top for Common Core and teacher quality." She concludes, “Although the long-term policy outcomes are still uncertain, the previous decade has shown that philanthropists have the resources, capacity, and inclination to substantially shape the direction of educational policy at the national level.”

New Book on Market-Based, Educational Reforms
VAMboozled! - Audrey Amrein-Beardsley

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley shares the release of a new book on market based educational reforms. "As Larry Cuban put it, the book’s editors have a 'cast of all-star scholars' in this volume, and in Gloria Ladson-Billings words, the editors 'assembled some of the nation’s best minds’ to examine the evidence on today's market-based reforms as well as more promising, equitable ones.

50 years ago, one report introduced Americans to the black-white achievement gap. Here's what we've learned since
Chalkbeat - Heather C. Hill

Heather Hill, Harvard University, looks at one of the most influential education research reports ever released: the Coleman report. “It all started with a 700-page report that said something surprising: family background, not schools, explained most of the yawning gap between the achievement of America’s white and black students.”

If Rewards Improve Test Scores, What's Really Being Tested?
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker interviews Jeffry A. Livingston, economics professor at Bentley University, who studied the impact of paying students for standardized test performance. Livingston completed the research along with John A. List and Susanne Neckermann from the University of Chicago.

State education proposal would add $1.4 billion to school budget
Bridge Magazine - Ron French & Mike Wilkinson

Ron French & Mike Wilkinson examine the findings of a recent adequacy study and calls to revamp the way the state of Michigan funds schools. "The study framed its analysis in terms of per-pupil spending, but did not offer an overall price tag for its recommendations. Bridge’s calculation of $1.4 billion is likely on the conservative side, since the study did not consider costs for special education students."

CA: K12 Caught Lying and Cheating, Again
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Greene writes about a settlement in California with the California Virtual Academies and K12. "K12, a for profit company, provides the curriculum and programming for CAVA, a non-profit cyber charter in California. As part of the settlement, K12 must cancel $160 million in 'credits' that CAVA 'owed' it and which represented part of the crushing debt that K12 saddled CAVA with. In addition, it must pay $8.5 million to the state."

Evaluation of Ohio's EdChoice Scholarship Program: Selection, Competition, and Performance Effects
Thomas B. Fordham Institute - David Figlio & Krzysztof Karbownik

David Figlio & Krzysztof Karbownik completed a report for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a school choice advocacy organization, on Ohio's Educational Choice Scholarships. "…the EdChoice Scholarship Program provides publicly funded vouchers to more than eighteen thousand Buckeye students who were previously assigned to some of the state’s lowest-performing schools, located primarily in low-income urban communities…"

NEW from IAP: Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms: Lessons for ESSA
The Becoming Radical - P.L. Thomas

P.L. Thomas shares the release of a new book edited by William J. Mathis and Tina Trujillo, which looks at market-based reforms and the future of ESSA. "Drawing on the work of the nation’s most prominent researchers, the book explores the major elements of these reforms, as well as the social, political, and educational contexts in which they take place. It examines the evidence supporting the most common school improvement strategies: school choice; reconstitutions, or massive personnel changes; and school closures. From there, it presents the research findings cutting across these strategies by addressing the evidence on test score trends, teacher evaluation, 'miracle' schools, the Common Core State Standards, school choice, the newly emerging school improvement industry, and re‐segregation, among others."

For New School Choice Laws, 2016 Has Been a Slow Year
Education Week - Charters & Choice - Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero writes, "When it comes to charter school or voucher-related laws, 2016 has not yielded much for choice advocates."

Worth A Read to Return July 15th
Great Lakes Center - Daniel J. Quinn

Worth A Read, a project of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, will return July 15, 2016. Worth A Read is a weekly selection of thought-provoking research and commentary focused on education reform. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of educational issues.

QUIZ: What Did 'Teacher Quality' Look Like in 1966?
Education Week - Inside School Research - Sarah D. Sparks

Sarah Sparks shares a portion of a test James S. Coleman used during his landmark study: "Though the study did provide insight on teachers' backgrounds, education, and racial attitudes, co-author James McPartland, also of Johns Hopkins, said the study lacked much insight into differences in real teacher practices."

We Don't Buy It: Why New Jerseyans Will Reject Governor Chris Christie's Offer to Sell Out Urban Schools
Teachers College Record - Zoë Burkholder

Zoë Burkholder offers a brief critique of Governor Chris Christie’s proposed school funding formula for New Jersey: "Placing it into historical perspective, the author argues that New Jerseyans will reject his proposal, which offers cash to middle class suburban families in the form of property tax relief, while eviscerating the budgets of urban school districts with high concentrations of poor and working class students of color. We refuse to go back to separate and unequal public schools."

NCES releases Data Point on Teacher Job Satisfaction
National Center for Education Statistics - Data Point

This "Data Point" uses Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) data from 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2011-12 to examine job satisfaction among teachers in both public and private schools. This study describes job satisfaction overall and also for teachers who had varying perceptions of administrative support.

How Fair is the 'Fairness Formula' for New Jersey School Children & Taxpayers?
New Jersey Education Policy Forum - Mark Weber & Ajay Srikanth

Mark Weber and Ajay Srikanth provide a "first look" at Chris Christie's 'Fairness Formula.' In their analysis, they show: (1) "The 'Fairness Formula' will greatly reward the most-affluent districts, which are already paying the lowest school tax rates as measured by percentage of income; (2) The 'Fairness Formula' will force the least-affluent districts to slash their school budgets, severely increase local property taxes, or both; and (3) The premise of the ‘Fairness Formula’ - that the schools enrolling New Jersey's at-risk students have "failed" during the period of substantial school reform - is contradicted by a large body of evidence."

Advanced-Stage Charter Syndrome: What 'Maturity' Means to the Charter Movement
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Nancy Flanagan

Nancy Flanagan reports on a series of articles on the 25th anniversary of charter schools in America. "If you want to know what your state may look like, given twenty-plus years' worth of burgeoning charterism, simply take a look at Michigan."

What States Can Do to Promote District-Charter Collaboration
Center for Reinventing Public Education - Alex Medler

Alex Medler reports on charter school and public school collaboration. The new paper explores how policymakers could foster cross-sector relationships. He recommends, prioritizing federal funding around collaboration; making special education funding more “rational and portable,” and helping districts adopt national authorizing standards.

Do Alternative Teaching Programs Create a Revolving Door for Schools?
Education Week - Inside School Research - Stephen Sawchuk

Stephen Sawchuk shares results from a study published by the American Educational Research Journal, which found that alternatively certified teachers were more likely than traditionally certified teachers to leave the profession. "For the researchers, the bottom-line finding is that alternative certification teachers may need more supports if the gap in turnover rates is to shrink. Otherwise, alternative certification may be fueling instability in schools serving low-income students and students of color, even if those teachers are taking hard-to-fill jobs."

Report: At-risk students need more Michigan funding
Detroit Free Press - Lori Higgins

Lori Higgins shares findings from a critical report released on school funding in Michigan. The report recommends changes to school funding in Michigan. "Whether lawmakers in Michigan do anything about the findings remains to be seen. The 2015 state law that required the study doesn't require the state to take action on its findings."

Ed Reform Battle in Los Angeles
Education Next - Richard Whitmire

Richard Whitmire looks at the school choice debate in Los Angeles. As charters continue to grow, overall enrollment in L.A. is declining.

A Sea of Charter Schools in Detroit Leaves Students Adrift
New York Times - Kate Zernike

Kate Zernike writes about the problems facing Detroit parents seeking to utilize myriad choices for school enrollment. "Detroit now has a bigger share of students in charters than any American city except New Orleans, which turned almost all its schools into charters after Hurricane Katrina. But half the charters perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit’s traditional public schools."

Class Size and Money Both Matter in Education
Tucson Weekly - David Safier

David Safier summarizes two recent briefs from the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) on why class size and money matter in education. “I believe the papers are right on both counts, but as always when I site [sic] research, whether I agree or not, I have to add that no conclusions in education research are conclusive. Education has so many moving parts, it's impossible to create perfect control groups or isolated variables. That being said…” *The Great Lakes Center funded both briefs summarized in this piece.

America's Not-So-Broken Education System
The Atlantic - Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider addresses the claim that the American education system is broken. “If the educational system had broken at some point, a look backward would reveal an end to progress—a point at which the system stopped working. Yet that isn’t at all the picture that emerges. Instead, one can see that across many generations, the schools have slowly and steadily improved.”

Statement of David G. Sciarra, ELC Executive Director, on Governor Chris Christie's School Funding Plan
Education Law Center - Sharon Krengel

David G. Sciarra, Education Law Center (NJ) Executive Director, reacts to a plan by Governor Chris Christie to alter school funding formula in New Jersey. “The Governor’s school funding plan announced today is not only the opposite of fairness, it would spell the end of our State’s commitment to an education that will prepare all New Jersey children to be good citizens and productive participants in our economy.”

Teacher pay around the world
Brookings - Brown Center Chalkboard - Dick Startz

Dick Startz discusses how American teachers are being underpaid. “Making teaching a financially more attractive career isn’t the only thing that matters for who teaches. It does matter though, and probably it matters a lot.”

Teachers' Opinions Of Teacher Evaluation Systems
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo looks at how new teacher evaluation systems are being implemented throughout the nation. “ … among the most important early indicators of how well the new systems are working is their credibility among educators. Put simply, if teachers and administrators don’t believe in the systems, they are unlikely to respond productively to them.”

Politics & Prejudices: Destroying schools, destroying Detroit
Detroit Metro Times - Jack Lessenberry

Jack Lessenberry writes about politics and schools in Detroit: "No city without a public school system parents can trust ever has any hope of attracting anyone capable of voting with their feet. Without that, Detroit is doomed to be, at best, a place of childless hipsters and menacing slums. You now know who did this to the city, and why."

Striving for Equity: District Leadership for Narrowing Opportunity and Achievement Gaps
Harvard Education Press - Robert G. Smith and S. David Brazer

Robert G. Smith and S. David Brazer have a new book out from Harvard Education Press. "Based on in-depth interviews, 'Striving for Equity' brings to light the complex and illuminating stories of thirteen longtime superintendents—all leaders of the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) — who were able to make progress toward narrowing opportunity and achievement gaps in traditional school districts with diverse populations and multiple, competing agendas."

The NAEP proficiency myth
Brookings - The Brown Center Chalkboard - Tom Loveless

Tom Loveless takes a closer look at recent statements made by Campbell Brown on the reform website 'The 74.' She claimed that "two out of three eighth graders cannot read or do math at grade level." Loveless dug into the comments and what can and cannot be said using NAEP.

Why I reject the American obsession with achievement gaps
Washington Post - Jay Mathews

Jay Mathews discusses a recent study from Stanford’s Sean Reardon, which studied the geography of racial/ethic test score gaps. He says, "We should be working to raise everyone’s level. The gaps don’t matter, particularly if you are going to school in Detroit."

Seeking accountability, states revise charter laws
Philadelphia Public School Notebook - Connie Langland

Connie Langland writes about the need to update and improve charter accountability laws: "More than a dozen states have done 'complete overhauls' of their public charter school oversight laws, regulations, and policies over the last six years, Fenton said. Four states — Maine, Mississippi, Alabama, and Washington - are newcomers, having only recently enacted charter school laws. But in Pennsylvania, the charter law was written in 1997 and it hasn’t been updated since then."

Market malfunctions in the charter sector
Fordham Institute - Flypaper Blog - Chester E. Finn, Jr. & Brandon Wright

Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Brandon Wright (4th in a series of essays marking the 25th anniversary of America's first charter school law) discuss the economic considerations of charter school market failures. They discuss the problem of too few vs. too many schools, weak consumer information, and distracted supplier effects. They say: "… we’ve reluctantly concluded that the marketplace alone—understood as individuals choosing the school their child will attend—is not a sufficient mechanism for assuring strong academic achievement and other important educational outcomes."

New Research Report: Are U.S. Schools Inefficient?
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo, Bruce Baker, & Mark Weber

Matthew Di Carlo shares findings from a new report by Bruce Baker and Mark Weber on school funding efficiencies. Di Carlo says: "… what Baker and Weber offer is an accessible, empirical discussion of the difficulties inherent in comparing educational efficiency between nations, difficulties that should be heeded far more often than they are in our public discourse."

Maybe Old Teachers Don't Suck
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

Peter Green, on his blog Curmudgucation, looks closely at the implications of a new report and policy brief from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI): "As always, I cast a somewhat dubious eyeball at educational research, but the implications here are fairly clear-- it would be useful to stop looking at experienced teachers as big ticket items that are fat that needs to be trimmed from budgets and instead see them as a major driver of excellence within schools."

Does Teaching Experience Matter? Let's Count the Ways
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reports on a new brief from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), which studied the impact of teacher experience on effectiveness. Tara Kini and Anne Podolsky write in Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? "We find that teaching experience is, on average, positively associated with student achievement gains throughout a teacher’s career."

A Stanford professor's high-stakes plan to save California schools
CALmatters - Judy Lin

Judy Lin covers Michael Kirst’s approach to local control in California. “California’s push for local control is anchored in a principle the governor calls subsidiarity, the idea that teachers, principals and local school administrators are better equipped to deal with classroom problems than state lawmakers or government bureaucrats.”

Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? A Review of the Research
Learning Policy Institute - Tara Kini & Ann Podolsky

Tara Kini and Ann Podolsky compiled a report and a research brief looking into the impact of teaching experience on teacher effectiveness. "Our report reexamines this critical question in light of recent research using advanced research methods. Based on a review of 30 studies published within the last 15 years, the authors find that as teachers gain experience throughout their careers, their students’ achievement gains increase."

Charter Schools: Failing the Test Series
Capital & Main - Staff

Capital & Main, an online publication that explores the economic and social fault lines of contemporary California, is running a series on charter schools this week. The series looks at the positives and negatives of charter school autonomy, the power brokers in the movement, special needs students, and who the winners and losers are in charter schools. Several videos are included in the series.

Could ESSA Spark an Overhaul of How We Fund Schools?
Education Next - Michael J. Petrilli

Mike Petrilli, Fordham Institute, investigates provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act that could be used to expand parental choice. "But smart state leaders and savvy advocates could use the ESSA opportunity to tip the scales in favor of reform—and in favor of the disadvantaged kids who need the most help. Who is ready to try it?"

Rx for Teacher Burnout
Education Week - Teacher in a Strange Land - Hal Portner

Nancy Flanagan provides space for Hal Portner, a former teacher and administrator, and a member of the Connecticut State Department of Education. "Regardless of the roles they assume, teacher leaders help shape the culture of their schools, districts, states, and nation. They influence the practice among their peers, impact the profession, and most importantly, work to improve student learning."

The K-12 Funding Crisis
Education Week - Charles J. Ogletree Jr. & Kimberly Jenkins Robinson

Charles J. Ogletree Jr. & Kimberly Jenkins Robinson dig into K-12 education funding: "Ending the disparities in educational opportunities across the country will require federal policies to close the opportunity and achievement gaps when individual states refuse to close them on their own. Without such foundational reforms, we are not just tinkering at the margins of education reform. We are tinkering toward nowhere."

The Push and Pull of Research: Lessons from a Multi-site Study of Research Use in Education Policy
William T. Grant Foundation - Christopher Lubienski, Elizabeth Debray, Janelle Scott

Christopher Lubienski, Elizabeth Debray, Janelle Scott address a key question: “Given what we already know, what steps can the field take to develop our understanding of how to collectively bring about optimal circumstances for effective uses of research?” The authors conducted a multi-year analysis of the role of intermediary organizations in influencing research use. They found that research “played virtually no part in the decision making for policymakers.”

Gritting My Teeth Over Grit (Bootstrap Theories)
05/25/2016 - José Vilson

José Vilson discusses the impact that the grit dialogue has on schools, kids, opportunity, and how it is being misused. "I prefer if people just said grit meant that yes, we value hard work and passion, and that’s as far as it goes. Unfortunately, a handful of people are making tons of money on the idea that 10,000 of fixing your attitude about ideas students may or may not be interested in might close the achievement gap."

Are U.S. Schools Resegregating?
Shanker Blog - Matthew Di Carlo

Matthew Di Carlo responds to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which looked into access to educational opportunities from the nation’s low income and minority public school population. “The results, most generally, suggest that the proportion of the nation's schools with high percentages of lower income (i.e., subsidized lunch eligible) and Black and Hispanic students increased between 2000 and 2013.”

Building a better school board
Bridge Magazine - Ted Roelofs

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

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

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

Rumors of Death Premature: Portfolio Management Still Alive and Kicking in New Orleans
Education Next - Paul Hill & Ashley Jochim

Paul Hill and Ashley Jochim write about portfolio management in New Orleans. The authors were responding to a piece by Jay Greene, who had declared that portfolio management was dead in New Orleans. “It looks pretty lively, with all public school kids in charter schools and results improving steadily.”

Snapshot of the Teaching Profession: What's Changed Over a Decade?
NEA Today - Tim Walker

Tim Walker reviews some of the findings from the 2014 Digest of Education Statistics, released this month by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). “A wide variety of subjects are covered, including funding, student enrollment, attitudes on education, demographic profiles, international comparisons. There’s also quite a bit of information on public school teachers – who they are, where they work, what they teach, and what they earn – and the trends that have shifted (or not) over the past decade or so.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teacher Pay Decay
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Teacher Hazing Ritual
Education Next - Robert Pondiscio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Ohio Charter Fakery
Curmudgucation - Peter Greene

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embedding Leadership in the Teaching Profession
NEA Today - Brenda Álvarez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inside the Every Student Succeeds Act
Education Week - Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bad Apples
12/14/2015 - Jennifer Berkshire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arne Duncan's Wars
Politico - Michael Grunwald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Unexplored Consequences of Student Mobility
NEA Today - Jasmine Song

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accountability and the Erasure of Democracy
Educarenow Blog - Bill Boyle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It All Turns on Affection
Educarenow Blog - Bill Boyle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Education Makes The Progressive Punchlist
Education Opportunity Network - Jeff Bryant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching = Thinking + Relationship
Shanker Blog - Bryan Mascio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pumping Up the Teacher Pipeline
NEA Today Online - Cindy Long

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Breakout Role for Teachers
Education Next - Fredrick Hess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter looks at using Networked Improvement Communities to “learn fast and implemen