Saturday, July 9, 2011

What Works: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers in All Communities

What Works: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers in All Communities
From the Center for American Progress
By Frank Adamson, Linda Darling-Hammond | May 20, 2011
The fact that well-qualified teachers are inequitably distributed to students in the United States has received growing public attention. By every measure of qualifications—certification, subject matter background, pedagogical training, selectivity of college attended, test scores, or experience—less-qualified teachers tend to be found in schools serving greater numbers of low-income and minority students. Studies in state after state have found that students of color in low- income schools are 3 to 10 times more likely to have unqualified teachers than students in predominantly white schools.

Week of July 5-8, 2011
The Great Distraction of Teacher Evaluation
This week, the 3.2 million-member National Education Association voted to accept, in principle, the inclusion of test scores in teacher evaluations. The NEA cautioned that currently available tests are too flawed to use for evaluation purposes and the union pledged to help create better student assessments (New York TimesEducation Week,Boston GlobeAtlanta Journal Constitution).  If not by student testing, what else can assure accountability and drive large-scale, sustainable upgrades to the teacher workforce? In a recent report, Frank Adamson and Linda Darling-Hammond outline and elaborate basic steps—many of which begin by addressing the huge inequalities in resources available across U.S. schools. Policy recommendations supported by a large body of research include:
·         Increase and equalize salaries;
·         Improve teacher preparation, licensing standards, evaluation for teachers and school leaders, and professional development;
·         Develop high-quality mentoring and performance-based induction systems to improve beginning-teacher retention rates and raise effectiveness.

These and other neglected approaches are not experimental. They are at the core of other high-achieving countries' schooling systems that produce student outcomes the U.S. envies. Let's get beyond distractions and work on what really matters.

Some of city's Pre-K program may be on chopping block
Saturday, July 09, 2011
By Amy McConnell Schaarsmith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Hundreds of children likely will be left without a pre-kindergarten class at Pittsburgh Public Schools in September as a result of state budget cuts enacted July 1.

FreedomWorks hired two PA Tea Party activists to lobby for school choice bill

Above Average Jane Blog Friday, July 08, 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name?

The Kitchen Table Patriots, a local tea party group, played a role in the 2010 elections in the greater Philadelphia area. Something in a recent New York Times article caught my eye. In "Tea party finds power leads to policy splits," by Katie Zernike (6/28/2011) . It mentions Ana Puig and her fellow KTP activist Anastasia Przybylski a number of times. The two women held an event in 2009 to protest the federal stimulus bill which brought their group to the attention of FreedomWorks, a national organization led by a one-time House Republican leader Dick Armey. After the 2010 election the article states that FreedomWorks hired the two to lobby for a school choice bill in Pennsylvania. Przybylski said working with FreedomWorks allowed KTP to "professionalize ourselves." The article is an interesting analysis of some of the national lobbying associated with the bill. 

David Sirota

SALON.COM FRIDAY, JUL 8, 2011 07:01 ET

Testing 4-year-olds isn't the answer

Nations like Finland are getting better results by de-emphasizing exams. Why are we doing the opposite?

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