Tag Archives: Principals

New Study Examines Impacts of Evaluation Reform Across America, Findings Decidedly Unscary

You know that feeling you had when you were a kid and you got a new book? The excited rush to rip it open and start devouring it? Well, I’m that way with educational research. Some folks might say that makes me a “nerd.” Those folks would be right. Today I proudly embrace my nerdiness and present: Little Eddie’s Thursday Research Roundup. Okay, “roundup” is probably overselling it a little. I actually just want to talk a single new study on teacher evaluation reform in America. The study, conducted by Matthew Kraft of Brown University and Allison Gilmour of Vanderbilt University, takes a look at the effects of evaluation reform on teacher effectiveness ratings in 19 states across the country. It also digs into the issue a little deeper with surveys and interviews in a large urban school district.

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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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Obama Speaks to Schoolchildren … Where's the Real Local Control?

Update 5, 9/8: The speech that went off today, and the lesson plans that accompanied it, were a lot less creepy and controversial than the original release. Who knows how much the uproar had an effect on that? Anyway, I commend to you two thoughtful perspectives on the whole episode: by Jay Greene at Education Next and by coolreformchick at Edspresso. The good news about the President addressing schoolchildren across the nation? At least this time Congress won’t start an inquiry into it. Update 4, 9/4: I have gathered and posted numerous responses from Colorado teachers and schools to Obama’s address to schoolchildren. Also, my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow explains what he told Denver Post reporter Jeremy Meyer that didn’t end up being quoted in today’s story. Update 3, 9/3: Westword blogger Michael Roberts noticed me!! I’m glad he likes my sense of humor. I have a 5-year-old kid crush on him now …. Hope he also reads my latest on this topic. Update 2: Jim Geraghty notes that the Department of Education has reworded the teacher’s guide to make it less offensive. A good idea … you think? Meanwhile, Douglas County School District south of Denver, the […]

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Status Quo in Congress Holds Back Teacher Incentive Fund Growth … Somewhat

Alyson Klein, one of the ladies who cover happenings related to education on Capitol Hill for Education Week, reports about an important committee vote yesterday: A bipartisan effort to boost funding for the Teacher Incentive Fund by an extra $100 million went down to defeat today during the full Senate Appropriations Committee’s markup of the bill funding the U.S. Department of Education in fiscal year 2010. The bill already includes $300 million for the TIF, a teacher performance-pay program that is currently funded at $97 million. The proposed increase in the failed amendment would have been paid for by taking $100 million out of the federal State Grants for Improving Teacher Quality program. TIF provides competitive grants to state agencies, school districts, and charter schools that develop quality performance pay programs for teachers and for principals. As my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow has outlined in his issue paper Denver’s ProComp and Teacher Compensation in Colorado (PDF) and elsewhere, local Colorado school districts have applied for and received a significant share of TIF grant money. Besides Denver, they include Eagle County, Harrison (El Paso County), and Fort Lupton. Our K-12 education compensation system badly needs a serious overhaul, and […]

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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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Yes, We Should At Least Give the Year-Round School Idea a Chance

It isn’t easy for me to say this, and many of my fellow kids may vote me out as a Benedict Arnold, but Colorado teacher Kathy Kullback has a good point: Maybe there’s something to the year-round school idea. What? No more summer vacation, you argue? Ms. Kullback writes: As a special educator, I tried to sign up special education students with generalized learning disabilities reading below grade level for summer school, but soon learned that the only special education students who take an extended year are cognitively disabled. I was advised that I not extend my students’ school year because the esteem issues associated with students of average cognitive ability attending summer school with students with cognitive disabilities is too severe. Then why not offer different classes for the learning disabled student? If year round classes are good for cognitively disabled students, it seems to me that year round classes would give regular education students that needed boost of continuity, and aid in their achieving academic success. It just makes sense. Year-round school usually means more overall days in the classroom. But just because you give up the long summer vacation doesn’t mean you’re in school every week of […]

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"Deferred Compensation" for K-12 Employees Needs a Lot of Piggy Banks

I’m pretty smart for a 5-year-old. But sometimes I wander into a topic that’s just over my head. That doesn’t mean it’s not important, but it’s probably just best if I let the big people talk about it themselves. My friends in the Education Policy Center released a new Issue Paper today, called Deferred Retirement Compensation for Career K-12 Employees: Understanding the Need for Reform (PDF). It was researched and written by Dr. Michael Mannino from the University of Colorado Denver. Rather than try to explain the paper myself, here’s the summary from the Independence Institute website: To improve understanding of public K-12 retirement compensation, this Issue Paper provides historical estimates using a substantial sample of retiree characteristics and salary histories. Deferred retirement compensation from a hybrid defined benefit plan is defined as the difference between an employee’s estimated retirement account balance and the greater pension value she expects to receive. When accounting for K-12 employee compensation, large amounts of deferred compensation should be included. For the 846 Denver Public Schools retirees in the sample, average lump sum deferred compensation is $627,570. Wow, it would take a lot of piggy banks to put that much money in. But I think […]

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What Teachers Say Attracts Them to Work in Tougher School Environments

What does it take to attract teachers to serve in the more challenging school environments? Part of Denver’s ProComp program rewards teachers who work at hard-to-serve schools with a $2,345 bonus this year. While the extra money definitely plays a part in providing incentives to some, there are other factors that help attract teachers to challenging environments they might not otherwise choose. As Ed News Colorado reports about a new study: Augenblick, Palaich and Associates surveyed teachers and principals at 16 relatively high-performing public schools – some charters, some district schools – in six cities coast-to-coast. The study, undertaken in collaboration with district and union leaders from Aurora, Denver and Jefferson County public schools, was funded by Denver’s Rose Community Foundation. The study participants were overwhelmingly from elementary schools, so people reviewing results should keep that in mind, researchers stressed. Dale DeCesare, one of the study’s authors, said he was surprised by the emphasis teachers placed on the effective use of technology. Overall, availability of technology ranked as the third most important factor in creating positive working conditions. As someone surfing the Internet and reading an education blog, you must have some appreciation for the value of technology. The article […]

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