In the News
Tracy Unified School District is re-thinking its approach to teaching STEM by developing curriculum units that feature science and engineering projects and also integrate elements such as writing, public presentations, math and computer science.
There is a belief, long-held but inaccurate, that teachers’ professional skills reach a plateau early in their careers and then barely budge. Districts can set aside these past beliefs and instead build true talent development systems that help educators flourish and grow throughout their careers.
With the wealth of information available at one’s fingertips, how can students become good consumers of information? In the age of fake news, teachers in every subject area should redouble their efforts to help students distinguish between credible and deceptive sources of information.
Jim Kadamus discusses how student test scores and proficiency goals identified in the state’s ESSA plan highlight a monumental challenge ahead for both the K-12 system and higher education in Rhode Island.
Two Virginia School Districts Invest in Teacher Training, See Student Achievement Gains, Education Week
To improve student achievement, invest in teachers. Education Week reports on two five-year studies of districts that successfully used customized professional development, on-the-job coaching, and performance-based compensation to increase student learning in low-performing schools.
ABC News and ITN Productions (UK) videos on CTAC’s work in Maryland and Delhi released nationally.
Jim Kadamus proposes adding a measure of college and/or career readiness to high school graduation requirements. Then a new high school accountability system would measure schools on whether they were successful in getting their students to be college and/or career ready and require those schools that fall short of this promise to improve or face state intervention.
Now that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has become law, K–12 leaders will get what they’ve wanted—more flexibility. Joe Frey explores what this means for building locally-developed and supported approaches to school improvement.
The newly reauthorized federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) now prohibits the U.S. Secretary of Education from interfering with state decisions on teacher evaluation. That places the burden on local school boards and superintendents to figure out an approach to teacher evaluation that is not only fair but also supports good teachers and respects their professionalism.
Not only is the nation’s biggest state calmly implementing the Common Core State Standards that have roiled the waters in a number of other states, but the Golden State is revamping its entire education architecture, from how dollars flow to schools to how teachers and principals are supported and held accountable.
We need reform, so that all U.S. schools are well run places with high quality teachers and high expectations for students. But this requires a new type of collaboration and creativity that transcends the barriers of ideology, money and power.
Evaluation systems require principals to spend increasing amounts of time observing each individual teacher. Yet other demands of the job can cut into instructional supervision. In this article, CTAC Senior Associate Joan McRobbie considers how to help support instructional leadership by principals.
This article highlights Maryland’s first full report on teacher evaluations and cites Real Progress in Maryland, the report issued by CTAC and WestEd through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center.
No one questions that what educators do or don’t do is key in school success or failure. But poverty also matters. And concentrated poverty matters a lot. If we do nothing to alleviate family poverty, especially in our hardest hit communities, our quest to fix persistently failing schools will continue to fall flat.
Jim Kadamus, CTAC Board of Directors member and former deputy commissioner at the New York State Department of Education, responds to Rhode Island’s education and work-force agenda in a Providence Journal commentary.
Maryland is, indeed, far ahead of most if not all states both in building support for the [teacher and principal] evaluations and in using them to support the instructional process. But many challenges remain.
A state report just out tracks the progress of how Maryland teachers and principals are adjusting to a new set of evaluations. “It actually gives us our areas of strengths in which we can capitalize, but it also points out our areas of needed improvement,” said state schools Superintendent Lillian Lowery.
A new independent report reveals that Maryland teachers and principals are feeling more comfortable with new evaluation methods that seek to incorporate student achievement.
Maryland education officials, teachers unions and other education organizations signed a written agreement to collaborate on methods for assessing classroom effectiveness, a central element of the state’s evaluation system for teachers and principals.
In response to a unique partnership formed by Maryland education leaders to develop an important part of teacher evaluation, Gov. Martin O’Malley stated, “Every student needs great teachers and school leaders. Every educator needs support and collaboration to be their best.”
Leaders from eight education organizations agree to improve supports for teachers and principals as they develop goals for student academic growth. The goals, known as student learning objectives, foster a spirit of collaboration and provide actionable data for improvement, rather than punishment.
“Teaching this way is an art. As such, it requires learning from the masters.” Read more about the Common Core and its implications for states and school districts across the nation in this blog post by CTAC Senior Associate Joan McRobbie.
Moves by state education departments to improve struggling districts are hampered by a focus on tactics rather than strategy, insufficient capacity building, and community input.
The new teacher evaluations should not be tied to teacher certification. There needs to be a new dialogue in Rhode Island.
A performance-bonus system that made use of “student learning objectives”—academic growth goals set by teachers in consultation with their principals—helped improve student achievement in schools using the measure, concludes a new study.
By now the consensus is clear: California needs a better, more systematic way of supporting and ensuring teacher effectiveness.
Measuring Teachers’ Contributions to Student Learning Growth for Nontested Grades and Subjects, National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality
This Research & Policy Brief was developed to help states consider options for assessing student learning growth for the majority of teachers who teach content not assessed through standardized tests.
Performance-based compensation presents enormous potential as a catalyst for districtwide change. But that will happen only if we manage to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
Data just don’t leap off the page and convert themselves to high-quality, useful information. It takes time and skill to organize, analyze, and interpret data properly, and these assets are in short supply in today’s educational landscape.
Performance-based compensation involves more than recognizing excellence in teaching; it should expand the system’s overall capacity to support classrooms and improve teaching quality.
Emphasizing student learning and the teacher’s contribution to it can be the lever for change—if the initiative also addresses the district factors that help shape the schools.