A few weeks ago, I wrote about Memphis City Schools’ Teacher Effectiveness Initiative and what it could mean for both the city and the state of Tennessee. But one thing that was never included in the story was how Memphis came to be awarded more than $90 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Posts Tagged ‘Teacher evaluations’
The “Straight to the Top” conference wrapped up Tuesday afternoon with a message from Gov. Phil Bredesen on the importance of new education standards in the state. Other discussions Tuesday dealt with recruiting and retaining teachers, the new statewide teacher evaluations, and how to leverage academic excellence for economic success.
A higher education system struggling to cope with budget cuts. A $500 million school reform effort the rest of the nation is watching. A prekindergarten program in routine danger of ending. Tennessee’s next governor will inherit those critical education issues, which will affect families for years. The state took some aggressive steps to catch up with the rest of the country under Gov. Phil Bredesen, who leaves office in January. It will be up to one of four men vying for his seat to determine Tennessee’s educational path.
Knox County Schools, the Knoxville Chamber, the Knox County Education Association, the United Way of Greater Knoxville, SCORE and EdFirst, a panel of education experts, will hold a forum on Wednesday to discuss the new evaluations of teachers in Knox County.
It’s been two years since Bill Gates left his day-to-day role at Microsoft (MSFT) to concentrate on supervising the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—and his new enterprise is booming. While its efforts in global health are widely applauded, its record in America’s schools has been more controversial.
Having passed an ambitious education reform law, Maryland is now wrestling with complex questions about how student test scores will be used to evaluate teachers.
When summer ends, many teachers will face a new reality: A number of states have passed new laws and policies that tie teachers’ job security to how well their students do in class. Some teacher groups dropped their longstanding opposition to this idea, and now say it will be good for the profession. Still, many teachers fear the new evaluation systems are part of an attack on their profession.
What is it about education reform that trots out the sports analogies? Yesterday,we heard from the Economic Policy Institute about how Race to the Top’s scoring resembles the point scales in Winter Olympics figure skating. Today in the Huffington Post, another Beltway think tank urges Education Sec. Arne Duncan and other national reformers to take a page from the NFL draft. The Forum for Education and Democracy’s Sam Chaltrain delivers a nuanced argument against tying teacher performance to a “single measure of student success.”
We agree. That’s why in Tennessee, 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on two or more measures of student achievement. The other half will be based on other measures, including classroom observation. The state’s new teacher evaluation advisory committee – including several members nominated by the teachers’ unions – are busy hammering out the details over the next few months.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto of controversial teacher tenure and merit pay legislation is igniting an already volatile national education reform conversation. The New York Times notes the merit pay battle in Florida has “made for a season of strange bedfellows” between conservative and liberal reformers, and the Wall Street Journal outlines the partisan dynamics at play, predicting the futures of both the bill and of Crist’s next political steps. The veto is splintering the Sunshine State’s Republican Party. Former Gov. Jeb Bush said Crist’s action “jeopardized the ability of Florida to build on the progress of the last decade” in education.”
Next door in Alabama, the Mobile Press-Register rounds up nationwide legislative efforts to reform teacher compensation and tenure – including Tennessee’s First to the Top Act – and calls on Alabama and Mississippi lawmakers to pay attention.
Efforts to compete in the second round of Race to the Top are touching off a flurry of activity in state legislatures – some of which are running into staunch opposition from teachers’ unions. This week’s bill vetoed by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is just the tip of the iceberg. In Colorado, a bipartisan reform measure would tie teacher evaluations and tenure to student academic growth. But the Colorado Education Association is threatening to withhold its support of the state’s Race to the Top application if the bill becomes law.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts’ second-largest teachers’ union is boycotting Race to the Top altogether. The Boston Globe calls on the Massachusetts branch of the American Federation of Teachers to rethink its “irresponsible position.” Eduwonk suggests that the dust-ups in Colorado and Massachusetts may signal an “emerging unholy alliance” between the unions and critics of Race to the Top who question the use of stimulus funds to rapidly engineer state policy changes.