The landscape for teacher evaluations is quickly evolving, as
policymakers and educators wrangle with the public’s rising
demand for greater accountability – and measurable gains – by
Currently at least 24 states have adopted policies making
“classroom effectiveness” a factor in measuring a teacher’s
performance. Here’s one indicator of just how quickly these
reforms are moving: In 2011, just 15 states required teacher
evaluations of any kind, according to the National Council on
As accountability pressures on the nation’s teaching force mount,
scrutiny of colleges of education is intensifying as well. There
is also a growing focus on teacher preparation as a critical
component to school improvement. The Hechinger Report teamed up
with news outlets nationwide to consider these critical issues.
Here’s a roundup of the reporting:
Teachers unions are facing new challenges to their influence,
even as pressures mount on their members to demonstrate their
effectiveness on the job. In a joint project, The Hechinger
Report and GothamSchools teamed up to explore the shift sphere of
teachers unions, with a special focus on New York City, the
nation’s fifth-largest school district. Here’s a roundup of the
EWA President Stephanie Banchero sits down with Pulitzer
Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman for a
wide-ranging discussion on innovation and education. Recorded May
2, 2013, at EWA’s 66th National Seminar at Stanford University.
Benjamin Herold, reporter
at WHYY’s Newsworks, in collaboration with the Philadelphia
Public School Notebook, crunched numbers at EWA’s Diving Into Data
Workshop Feb. 22-25 and came up with an interesting analysis
of neighborhood schools and how students and their parents choose
whether to stay in the local school or move elsewhere.
To do their jobs, education reporters on the federal beat depend
on access to congressional staffers. But what happens when those
staffers want anonymity while discussing policy at a public
forum? EWA asked two reporters – Libby Nelson of Inside Higher Ed
and Eric Kelderman of The Chronicle of Higher Education – to
explain why they’re pushing back against what they contend is an
University of Maryland-Baltimore County President Freeman
Hrabowski, who has been featured on 60 Minutes, will give the
keynote address Feb. 8 at EWA’s intensive one-day
conference for journalists “Under the Microscope: Examining
STEM Education.” Topics covered will include the impact of the
new Common Core math requirements, the influence Next Generation
Science Standards initiative, and the challenges of shepherding
students to STEM degrees in college.
We recently held our one-day seminar for journalists on the topic
of teacher training. Ready to Teach: Rethinking Routes to the
Classroom was held at the University of Minnesota on Oct. 26, and
if you couldn’t join us in Minneapolis, you can browse some of
the sessions below.
In addition to a large block of forthcoming videos from the 65th
National Seminar and our ongoing
series of guest blogs on Ed Beat, we captured a few sessions
as podcasts. You can find descriptions and download links below.
Hard as it may be to believe, students who were part of the
nation’s first school vouchers program are now old enough to have
graduated from college. Patrick Wolf, an education professor at
the University of Arkansas, calls in to the Wall Street Journal
to talk about his
multiyear study of the Milwaukee program, which comes away
with a pretty positive view of vouchers. Obviously there’s a lot
to consider here, but his closing statement is noteworthy:
The Washington Post did its annual
Spring Cleaning feature on Sunday, taking on societal
conventions from the arguably pointless (Premium Gas) to the
outdated (Software Patents), even venturing into Seinfeld
territory (The Social
Kiss). In the process, they deemed two education mainstays
obsolete and worth tossing out.
UVa English professor Mark Edmundson
goes head to head with the Boss in the pages of the
April 1 NYT.
“‘Everybody’s got a hungry heart,’ Bruce Springsteen sings.
Really? Is that so?
I’m willing to testify; Not all students have hungry hearts.
Some do, some don’t, and having a hungry heart (or not) is what
makes all the difference for a young person seeking an
The continuing saga of Bully’s MPAA rating reached a sort
of non-resolution Monday, when Harvey Weinstein announced that
the Weinstein Co.
will release the film, which follows the lives of a group of
students coping with bullying at school, without its R rating.
Though we haven’t posted our agenda for the 65th National
Seminar, I can tell you that one of the sessions we have planned
will be on the subject of improving access to schools. You may
incident from December in Connecticut in which New Haven
Independent reporter Melissa Bailey clashed — on video — with a
PIO who ultimately apologized and resigned (Emily Richmond
In Sunday’s Washington Post, former New York City Dept. of
Education Chancellor Joel Klein
sounds the alarm on education as an election year issue.
“Unless voters insist that candidates give education the
attention it deserves, this will be another political season in
which both sides offer pablum without seeking a mandate for the
ambitious reforms our schools require.”
The California Community Colleges Student Success Task Force this
released a set of recommendations “aimed at improving the
educational outcomes of our students and the workforce
preparedness of our state.”
Earlier today I was glued to a liveblog of the latest Apple
event, which centered around the company’s foray into
e-textbooks. The company debuted iBooks 2 for iPad, a service
aimed at revolutionizing students’ interactions with their texts,
their classrooms, and their teachers.
I just caught up with a fascinating 60 Minutes story on a student
from Great Neck, N.Y. who sold his formidable SAT-taking skills
to desperate classmates for thousands of dollars. Described as a
“hired gun” by the district attorney who prosecuted him, Sam
Eshaghoff took the SAT at least 16 times, charging as much as
$2,500 for a score in the 97th percentile or above.
Interview conducted and edited by Emily Richmond, EWA public
Gary Miron, a professor of education at Western Michigan
University, is the lead author of a new National Education Policy
Center report examining Education Management Organizations (EMOs)
that are operating public schools. Miron spoke with EWA about the
report, which you can read in full here.
EWA’s seminar for higher education reporters was held on Nov. 4
and 5 at UCLA. We’ve already got a few podcasts up, and you can
view more resources here. Below, the first of eight videos drawn
from the conference — we’ll have more next week.
This is the second in a series of podcasts drawn from EWA’s Nov.
4-5 Higher Ed seminar at UCLA.
In order to meet the workforce demands for better educated
employees, colleges and universities will have to teach more
adults. A look at the evolving options for non-traditional
students to further their educations.
Caroline Hendrie spoke yesterday with Ed Week’s Alyson Klein
about a bill coming up next week in the Senate that would make
major changes to NCLB.You can read her Ed Week piece explaining
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution just published part five in an
occasional investigative series on the state of teaching in
Georgia, looking into the state’s recruitment and retention
strategies, teacher preparation models and its largely
unsuccessful efforts to fire ineffective teachers.
There’s a lot of great reporting here, and though it is behind
the AJC paywall, the paper has been kind enough to make PDFs of
the stories available exclusively to EMC members. You can find
each of the current five parts linked at the bottom of this
Talia Milgrom-Elcott is a program officer in urban education with
Carnegie Corporation of New York. She spoke with EWA about the
new “100Kin10” initiative to add 100,000 “excellent” Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics teachers to public school
classrooms in the next 10 years.
1. Why has Carnegie chosen to make STEM teacher
recruitment a priority?
(Interview conducted and edited by Emily Richmond)
UC-Berkeley professor and author David Kirp, a member of
President Obama’s 2008 transition team, spoke with the EWA about
fresh angles on familiar education stories, how family nest eggs
can help parents and children learn fiscal responsibility, and
his new book (“Kids First:FiveBig Ideas for
Transforming Children’s Lives and America’s Future”).
When reporters get data about immigrant student achievement,
it’s typically lumped into one category. Do we need to start
asking districts to break down the data into more specified
categories, such as the length of time a student has been in the
local school system?
Due to what I can only characterize as catastrophic laptop
issues, Emily Richmond’s interview with Heather Vogell of the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution will not be posted until early next
week, contrary to the announcement in this week’s EdMedia Commons
newsletter. I’m sorry for the delay.
I’m pleased to announce that very soon you’ll be seeing a lot of
new faces here, as we’re nearing the end of our beta period.
Starting next week, we’ll be sending out the first wave of
invites to the general EWA membership.
So, first off, thanks to everyone who has participated so far. I
think I speak for the whole staff when I say we appreciate your
help in this early phase of EMC.
Note: Between June 13-16, Andreas Schleicher will be fielding
your questions on the board about the topics raised in the two
interviews below, or any other area you wish to discuss. If you
have a question, leave it as a reply below.
This is the first thread in the Education in the News forum,
which is primarily reserved for discussions of news stories,
If you’re posting a link to a news item you want to discuss, make
a new thread and fire away.
Public education was one of the largest beneficiaries of the $814
billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, but
questions remain about how – and whether – some $100 billion in
federal stimulus funds for education have made much difference.