Tag Archives: individual

New Study: Teacher Performance Pay Helps Students in India Learn

I don’t know a lot about India, except that a whole lot of people live there and my parents love the food (Me? I’ll stick with hot dogs and mac & cheese). But then yesterday I found this story about a study of India’s education system (PDF): We find that the teacher performance pay program was highly effective in improving student learning. At the end of two years of the program, students in incentive schools performed significantly better than those in comparison schools by 0.28 and 0.16 standard deviations (SD) in math and language tests respectively….

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Teachers as Entrepreneurs: A Refreshing Race to the Top Idea?

Knowing that teacher quality is so essential to successful student learning, Colorado’s lawmakers and education officials should be doing more to enact policies that promote teacher autonomy, excellence, and accountability. The Maryland Public Policy Institute does just that with its new report calling for “Teachers as Entrepreneurs” (PDF). The idea? Instead of placing all instructors under the terms of a centralized bargaining contract, allow for some individual teachers or teams of teachers to contract with a school district to perform instructional services. Either union or non-union, they could agree on setting terms regarding class size, basic working conditions, performance and differential pay, and retirement plans. This approach would give individual teachers greater freedom to determine whether they want to support and subsidize political activities. It would require state law to take a neutral position on the issue of unionization and exclusive representation.

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Colorblind? Suburban Denver School Districts Enrolling More Minorities

In the middle of July, education news and conversation tends to be slow. If they’re like me, people are more interested in the baseball All-Star game or in just hanging out at the beach. That’s why all I’m going to do today is bring your attention to an article in the Sunday Denver Post titled “Denver metro districts enroll diversity”. Reflecting larger demographic trends, Denver Public Schools has started enrolling a greater share of white students in the past 8 years. Meanwhile, every other district in the metro area has taken on more racial minorities — with Mapleton, Westminster, and Sheridan registering gains in minority student enrollment of 20 percentage points or more. Commerce City, Englewood, Cherry Creek, and Aurora have also made significant shifts in the same direction. What does it all mean for education policy?

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All Eyes (Including Mine) on Radical Westminster School Innovation

I’ve told you before about Westminster School District’s program to move from seat time to standards — re-thinking the whole traditional grade system that has dominated American education for decades — and the Doogie Howser-like potential such a system could offer me. Well, earlier this week, Rebecca Jones at Ed News Colorado chronicled the fact that the moment of truth has arrived for Westminster (aka Adams 50): It’s the last day of the 2008-09 school year in the district. The last day of life as most students and teachers there have always known it. The last day that categories like “third grade” or “sixth grade” – or A or B+ or C- — will exist in most of Westminster. The district is scrapping traditional notions of grade level and doing away with letter grades. Students will instead progress through academic levels 1-10 based on their mastery of subjects, not on the length of time they’ve been in school. This concept, known as standards-based education, has been tried in individual schools and in some small districts in Alaska, but never before in a large, urban district such as Westminster. The bold step is bringing national attention to the district.

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The Real World Would Recognize (and Deal with) Both Good and Bad Teaching

Every child is always a winner … Children just need better self-esteem … We only need to use positive incentives to help children learn more … Let’s reward the good but pretend like the bad doesn’t exist … I’m only 5 years old, and I get that this is marshmallow world nonsense. In fact, it’s the kind of silliness that makes many people question (sometimes fairly, sometimes not) the value of much of what goes on in public education. It gets even worse when the principle is applied not only to students, but also to teachers. At least if the union has its way. Witness the evidence from Chicago, a city with many failing schools: principal evaluations found only 3 out of every 1,000 teachers had unsatisfactory performance. While unions thrive on fears of bogeyman administrators who take out their vindictiveness on good teachers they don’t like, this evidence at least indicates the problem tips in the other direction. In any case, wouldn’t a more objective data system be better?

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