Archive for the ‘Performance pay’ Category

A crisis in confidence or in the classroom? Polls and lists on education issues and challenges.

Today, the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems released 75 Examples of How Bureaucracy Stands in the Way of America’s Students and Teachers.

The interesting list follows this week’s release of the 2012 annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

There was the usual “us and them” divide in the PDK/Gallup findings; 48 percent of Americans award their own schools an A or a B, but only 19 percent feel the rest of the schools in the country merit such high grades. But 62 percent are willing to pay more in taxes in order to improve urban public schools And asked the No. 1 problem facing schools,  35 percent of respondents say lack of financial support.

The poll notes stark divisions by political party. Here are highlights from the poll:

•On providing children of illegal immigrants  free public education, school lunches, and other benefits, 65 percent of Democrats versus 21 percent of Republicans  said “yes.” But overall, the poll …

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Teacher Travis Ellington: An exceptional teacher in Toombs for exceptional children

Winning Toombs County Teacher of the Year was a family affair for Travis Ellington. (Toombs County Schools)

Winning Toombs County Teacher of the Year was a family affair for Travis Ellington. (Toombs County Schools)

UGA professor Peter Smagorinsky has a second installment in his great teacher series. In this piece, he highlights Travis Ellington of Toombs County.

By Peter Smagorinsky

With almost all discussion and policy about teacher evaluation centered on students’ test scores, I’m writing a series of profiles of great Georgia teachers whose contributions are only partially measured (if at all) by their students’ performances on standardized tests. Today, I’m heading south, down to Toombs County High School, to feature Travis Ellington. I don’t know what they’re putting in those onions down in Vidalia these days, but if Travis is any indication, I hope they start passing them around in the Gold Dome the next time they legislate their next educational policy.

As you’ll see, Travis is no ordinary guy. A remarkably high achiever throughout his life, he’s perhaps doing his greatest …

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Teachers aren’t martyrs, monks or nuns. But they are dedicated and trying their best for their students.

over (Medium)I am hearing a lot about teachers leaving their schools, even in high performing areas.

One of the Get Schooled blog’s most eloquent and articulate posters, Jordan Kohanim, who gave up her north Fulton teaching job this year, shared this list of ways schools could stem the exodus.

By Jordan Kohanim

There are some obvious solutions to this problem which can be addressed at the grass-roots level.

1.  Acknowledgement: This one of the most important factors. Recognizing that teachers have a difficult job and are doing the best they can (and often successfully so) is an essential and surprisingly easy thing to do. Acknowledgement across all realms of education — not just math and science is essential. All teachers have a role and purpose in a school. This doesn’t mean the principal needs to have a Ra-Ra session every year, but admitting that:

•This is a hard job, with not enough monetary compensation, that most people appreciate silently.

•There is a counter narrative that …

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The Irreplaceables: Study says schools losing top teachers

I listened to a panel a few weeks ago on whether schools were aware of and keeping their top teachers. I have not had a chance to write up the findings but will soon. In the meantime, here is a new report from The New Teacher Project that addresses the same issue: Whether schools are doing enough to keep their best teachers.

A new study finds that urban schools are systematically neglecting their best teachers, losing tens of thousands every year even as they keep many of their lowest-performing teachers indefinitely—with disastrous consequences for students, schools, and the teaching profession.

The study by TNTP, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all students get excellent teachers, documents the real teacher retention crisis in America’s schools: not only a failure to retain enough teachers, but a failure to retain the right teachers.

“The Irreplaceables,” released at an event featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, NEA Secretary-Treasurer Rebecca …

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DOE update on new teacher evaluation system; 50,000 teachers in mix this year

A reader sent me this question:

You may be ahead of me on this, but the second half of the school year just ended and so did the pilot test of the new teacher and principal evaluation systems. The 26 participating Race to the Top districts were asked to pilot test them with 10 percent of their faculties. Results, data and feedback were to be returned to the DOE by the end of May.  I’d sure like to know what they learned. Wonder if Teresa MacCartney and company have the summary report yet?

I asked DOE to respond and ended up in a 40-minute phone conversation Friday afternoon with Teresa MacCartney, deputy superintendent for Race to the Top implementation, and Martha Ann Todd, director of teacher and leader effectiveness.

Here is a brief summary. (I also asked DOE to write an op-ed on the teacher evaluation process and will share if I get it.)

DOE is not done analyzing all the data that came back from the pilot; it is still working on the cumulative teacher and leader …

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Obama creates elite science, math teaching corps and seeks a billion to fund it

From the White House:

President Obama announced the creation of a new STEM teachers corps. (AJC)

President Obama announced the creation of a new STEM teachers corps. (AJC)

Today, the Obama Administration announced the President’s plan for the creation of a new, national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps comprised of some of the nation’s finest educators in STEM subjects. The STEM Master Teacher Corps will begin with 50 exceptional STEM teachers established in 50 sites and will be expanded over 4 years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers.

These selected teachers will make a multi-year commitment to the Corps and, in exchange for their expertise, leadership and service, will receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary. The Administration will launch this Teacher Corps with the $1 billion from the President’s 2013 budget request currently before Congress.

President Obama said, “If America is going to compete for the jobs and industries of tomorrow, we need to make sure our children are getting …

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Can Georgia learn from Tennessee’s review of its new teacher evals?

Tennessee is ahead of Georgia in developing a teacher evaluation system that considers student outcomes, a factor in its early receipt of a federal Race to the Top grant. (Georgia won its $400 million grant in round two.)

In response to concerns about the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, the state undertook a study that was released this week.

Here are highlights of the Tennessee study, but those of you interested in this issue — and how it may play out in Georgia, which is poised to roll out its new teacher eval system this year — ought to read the full report:

In July 2011, Tennessee became one of the first states in the country to implement a comprehensive, student outcomes-based, statewide educator evaluation system. This landmark legislation established the parameters of a new teacher and principal evaluation system and committed to implementation during the 2011-12 school year.

The act required 50 percent of the evaluation to be comprised of student achievement …

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Bill Gates: Getting schools into the game to engage students

I was ill last week and missed a chance to interview Bill Gates while he was in town. Much thanks to my colleague Jaime Sarrio who stepped in at the last minute and produced an interesting story:

By Jaime Sarrio

Check out the classroom of the future, Bill Gates’ style: Students are grouped according to skill set. One cluster huddles around a computer terminal, playing an educational game or working on a simulator. Another works with a human teacher getting direct instruction, while another gets a digital lesson delivered from their teacher’s avatar.

This kind of “game-based” learning is one of the priorities of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the Microsoft creator.

Last year, the foundation announced it would invest $20 million in a variety of teacher tools, including this and other technologies geared toward changing the way teachers teach and kids learn.

Gates sat down with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week while he was in town speaking …

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Education group: Let the feds take back Georgia’s Race to the Top millions

A recently formed group called GREATER — Georgia Researchers, Educators, and Advocates for Teacher Evaluation Reform — sent a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal, State Superintendent John Barge, and other educational leaders about concerns over teacher evaluations. But the letter writers have yet to get a reply.

Here is a recent statement from the group, which now counts nearly 50 Georgia educators among its supporters, including many university professors:

Recently the U.S .Department of Education placed Georgia at “high risk” of losing $33 million dollars in Race to the Top (RT3) funds because, in fear of legal issues, Georgia removed the student input portion of their new teacher evaluation.

Well, here’s a radical suggestion: Let the federal government have it all!

As a key component of receiving the federal Race to the Top grant, the state of Georgia has crafted a new system for evaluating teachers and principals called Teacher/Leader Keys. The system is to be implemented this …

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Bill Gates in Atlanta: Don’t rush teacher evaluations. Do it right.

Here is the speech Bill Gates gave this week at the  Education Commission of the States conference in Atlanta.

I’m very excited to be here. This is a rare opportunity for me to talk to the educators and policymakers who will determine what happens in our schools in the next generation.

And it’s a special honor to be here with so many state Teachers of the Year.

If we wanted to give the United States the best chance for a great future, and we were allowed to pick one thing to promote that – I would pick great teaching in America’s classrooms. In my view, nothing is more important. That is why helping all teachers get better is the primary focus of our foundation’s work in the United States.

Right now, we are funding pilot programs in five urban school districts, working with them to develop teacher evaluation and improvement systems. This is the heart of our work.

Developing a great teacher improvement system is truly difficult – because there are no models. The country’s …

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