To better understand issues facing the teaching profession, it’s important to stay abreast of the latest data and research.
Data on the Teacher Workforce
The National Center for Education Statistics collects in-depth data every couple years on teacher background, training, pay, professional development, class sizes and other issues.
The Evolution of the Workforce
The teaching profession was once dominated by men, many of whom considered the job a stepping stone to a more prestigious career. That began to change in the 1800s, when education reformers such as Horace Mann pushed for taxpayer money to fund public schools for all children, regardless of family income. State-funded “normal schools” to train teachers were also established, and women began to be recruited to fill the ranks.
Teacher compensation — which includes pay, a pension and other benefits — is the single largest expenditure for school districts. The average base teaching salary is $57,900, according to 2017-18 federal data, although salaries vary widely by state. (The National Education Association publishes annual data on state salaries.)
In the traditional path to the classroom, an aspiring teacher enrolls in a teacher-preparation program run by a college or university and earns their bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. At some point during the program, the candidate spends some time student-teaching to get real-world experience. Upon graduation, the individual takes an exam to demonstrate their readiness to teach.
Increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of teachers is an issue of growing concern in public education. Today, 80% of teachers are white, while more than half of those who attend public schools are students of color.
Most students don’t study using methods backed by scientific research, panelists at the Education Writers Association’s deep dive on the science of learning told reporters in Chicago at the association’s 68th National Seminar.
“Why do people find learning so hard?” asked Henry Roediger, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who participated in the April event.
Despite previous reports that new teachers are ditching their professions in record numbers, new federal data suggest that a grand majority of novice classroom instructors are showing up for work year after year.
Eighty-three percent of rookie teachers in 2007 continued to educate public school students half a decade later, according to the 2007–08 Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study. Ten percent of teachers left the field after just one year.
For teacher Merlinda Maldonado’s sixth graders at Hill Middle School in Denver, it’s not necessarily about getting the answer right. It’s not about memorizing procedures, either. If Maldonado’s classroom is clicking, frustration can be a good thing.
In a wide-ranging speech on educational opportunity, teacher quality, school funding and accountability delivered at the kickoff of the Education Writers Association’s 68th National Seminar, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner shared with reporters his vision for the future of education in the Prairie State.
EWA’s 68th National Seminar kicks off today in Chicago, and it’s going to be a fantastic three days of discussions, workshops, and site visits. The theme this year is Costs and Benefits: The Economics of Education. Be sure to keep tabs on all the action via the #EWA15 hashtag on Twitter.
Top Tweets from #EWAChoice’s first session
A bill that would make it easier for undocumented immigrants to obtain teaching licenses in Nevada will soon make its way to the state’s Assembly floor, various news outlets reported this week.
Over at EWA Radio, my colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn and I talked with Boston Globe education reporter Jamie Vaznis about a plan to expand learning time in that city’s elementary and middle schools. The Globe did its own analysis of a pilot program to add time to the academic calendar, and found mixed results.
Grappling with achievement gaps between their rich and poor students, a growing number of schools and districts are resolving to add more minutes or days to the academic calendar, and Boston has emerged as a leader in this trend.
The National Council on Teacher Quality has a new report out looking at teacher pension funds, which the advocacy group contends amount to a massive, underfunded liability for states.
Teacher pension debt now stands at nearly a half-trillion dollars, up about $1 billion from two years ago. (You can read my take on NCTQ’s 2012 report here.)
Among the takeaways from this year’s report:
Despite Reports to the Contrary, New Teachers Are Staying in Their Jobs Longer
Center for American Progress
Not only do our analyses show that since 2007, new teachers have been staying in the classroom at dramatically higher rates than is commonly understood, but they also show that teachers in high-poverty schools—defined here as those with more than 80 percent of students eligible for federally subsidized lunches—are staying at statistically similar rates as all beginning teachers. Teachers find high-poverty schools to be among the most challenging work environments, and they are somewhat more likely to leave teaching after working in a high-poverty school than in a lower-poverty school.
We have two new episodes of EWA Radio this week, looking at the hot-button stories on the education beat in the coming year.
When you write a blog, the end of the year seems to require looking back and looking ahead. Today I’m going to tackle the former with a sampling of some of the year’s top stories from the K-12 and higher education beats. I’ll save the latter for early next week when the final sluggish clouds of 2014 have been swept away, and a bright new sky awaits us in 2015. (Yes, I’m an optimist.)
As tools and data profiles of students become easier to use, are teachers sufficiently data literate to make sense of the information at their fingertips? Do teachers have the skills and access to data in useful formats, and are the school leaders and institutions responsible for their professional development providing them the training they need?
What teachers are paid matters. Many factors play a role in making the decision to become a teacher, but for many people compensation heavily influences the decision not only to enter the profession but also whether to stay in it and when to leave. For teachers, knowing where salaries start and end isn’t enough; they must also understand the path they will take from starting salary to the top of the scale.
By his third year of teaching, Jonas Chartock was overwhelmed, acting as a department head and taking on a variety of other roles at his school in addition to his regular duties at the front of the classroom.
“What I could tell you is I wasn’t being trained to do any of them,” Chartock said.
Those experiences helped drive Chartock’s decision to leave the classroom and to pursue a career in education leadership outside the school.
On a recent Wednesday morning, 11th-grader Sophia Wellington took to the undersized stage at the front of her high school gym and with seamless poise demonstrated what smarter student assessment could look like.
In 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called it “laughable” that in the prior decade the majority of states had failed to rate even one teaching preparation program as inferior. On Tuesday, the White House released draft accountability regulations that are no joke for the nation’s teacher colleges, and could result in a loss of federal funding if their graduates fail to do well on the job.
According to U.S. Department of Education projections, for the first time, black, Hispanic, Asian and other non-white students made up just over 50 percent of public school students. And that share is expected to increase in the coming years.
For education reporters looking for story ideas, talking to teachers is a smart place to start. That was the key takeaway from the “Performance and Perceptions: Taking the Pulse of the Profession” session at EWA’s recent seminar on the teaching profession, held last month in Detroit.
In the Minneapolis Public Schools, nearly two-thirds of the district’s enrollment are students of color. Additionally, 65 percent of the district’s more than 35,000 students qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Beth Hawkins, a reporter for the MinnPost, had a hunch that the best-paid local teachers were working in the wealthiest schools, teaching white students. But this was just a guess, and her colleague at the nonprofit news site, data editor Tom Nehil, wanted to see the numbers.
If 49 multiplied by 5 is 245, why would a student think the answer is 405? And who is more likely to know this – a mathematician or an elementary math teacher?
Elizabeth Green, the author of “Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (And How to Teach It to Everyone), posed this question to a roomful of education reporters at EWA’s October seminar in Detroit.
Education might seem more incendiary and political than ever before, but author Dana Goldstein argues that today’s biggest policy fights aren’t exactly new battles.
“We’ve been fighting about teachers for 175 years,” said Goldstein at EWA’s October seminar on teaching, held in Detroit. At the event, Goldstein discussed her new book, The Teacher Wars, published in September.
One outcome of Tuesday’s midterm elections: Nevada can expect to retain the dubious distinction of having one of the nation’s lowest rates of per-pupil funding. A ballot measure that would have levied a new tax on large businesses to benefit public schools failed to garner support, with nearly eight out of 10 Silver State voters opposing it.
The midterm election results have big implications for education, from Republicans’ success in retaking the U.S. Senate to new governors coming in and a slew of education ballot measures, most of which were defeated.
The widely watched race for California’s schools superintendent came down to the wire, with incumbent Tom Torlakson edging out challenger Marshall Tuck — a former charter schools administrator:
Today is a day off from school for millions of students as campuses in some districts and states — including Michigan and New York — are converted into polling stations for the midterm elections. To Peter Levine, the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, that’s a missed opportunity to demonstrate democracy in action.
Why are so many principals in Denver leaving their jobs? And what is the local school district doing to try and stem the churn? EWA Radio speaks with Katharine Schimel of Chalkbeat Colorado about her story looking into the high rate of principal turnover, and what it means for student learning and campus climate in the Mile High City.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball began her career as an elementary school teacher, working for 15 years with a diverse population of students. But math stumped her.
“That troubled me,” Ball said Oct. 21 during her keynote presentation at the EWA seminar on teaching held in Detroit. “I would work really hard on how could I make the math make sense to the students, … but on Fridays they would know how to do things and on Monday they would have forgotten.”
In a new Gallup survey of teachers, U.S. public school teachers are closely split in their overall reaction to the Common Core State Standards: 41% view the program positively and 44% negatively. Even in terms of strong reactions, teachers’ attitudes are divided, with 15% saying their perceptions of the initiative are “very positive” and 16% saying “very negative.”
As the nation centers its attention on the Common Core State Standards battle brewing across the states, a lesser known overhaul is underway for America’s teachers-to-be.
The stakes have arguably never been higher for public school teachers, who are facing not only an increasingly challenging student population but also new demands for accountability and performance. What lies ahead for the nation’s largest profession, with the rollout of new academic standards and new assessments to gauge how effectively students are being taught?
We had a terrific two days in Detroit this week at our journalists-only seminar on The Push to Upgrade the Teaching Profession. I’m looking forward to sharing content from the sessions in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’ve pulled together some of the best tweets from Tuesday (you can catch up with earlier tweets here):
How are cultural and racial biases influencing classroom instruction and student learning? What does this mean for teachers and students, particularly in high-minority, urban school settings? What should education reporters know about cultural bias as it relates to their reporting on students, teachers, and schools?
Associate Professor Dorinda Carter Andrews, Michigan State University
The agenda is up for our next journalists-only seminar – The Push to Upgrade the Teaching Profession: What Reporters Need to Know. As you’ll notice, we’re spotlighting the work of some of the nation’s top education writers. Among them:
Dana Goldstein, journalist for The Marshall Project, and author of the New York Times’ bestseller “The Teacher Wars: The History of America’s Most Embattled Profession.”
Marc Tucker, president and chief executive of the National Center on Education and the Economy, recently unveiled a proposed accountability plan for public schools that includes significantly reducing the number of tests students take, and building extensive professional development time for teachers into every school day. He spoke with EWA.
This First Look report provides some selected findings from the 2012-13 Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS) along with data tables and methodological information. The TFS is a follow-up of a sample of the elementary and secondary school teachers who participated in the previous year’s Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). The TFS sample includes teachers who leave teaching in the year after the SASS data collection and those who continue to teach either in the same school as last year or in a different school.
We’re now accepting applications for our upcoming seminar: The Push to Upgrade the Teaching Profession: What Reporters Need to Know. The two-day event will be held Oct. 20-21 in Detroit.
Here’s the 411 (you can also take a look at the full agenda):
Gallup Poll: Americans Want ‘Bar Exam’ for Teachers, More Training
Support Slipping for Using Student Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations
In a new poll out today, Americans say they want teacher preparation programs to raise the bar for entrance, provide longer training periods for practice teaching, and require new teachers to pass a rigorous certification exam akin to the ones required of lawyers and doctors.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for EWA Radio, the podcast I co-host with my EWA colleague Mikhail Zinshteyn. In case you missed the most recent episodes, you can catch the replays. (I’ve been told we make a fine accompaniment to walking the dog, moderate-paced elliptical trainer activity and even the occasional lunchtime Greek yogurt consumption.)
EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn speak with Money Magazine education reporter Kim Clark about the publication’s first-ever college rankings, which focus on the return-on-investment factor of earning a degree from a particular institution.
A Chicago Tribune investigation turns up instances of lawmakers intervening in teacher licensing decisions on behalf of their friends and donors. Tribune education reporter Diane Rado speaks with EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn about her ongoing coverage of licensing issues, and what it means for local students and schools.
Low teacher pay is not news. Over the years, all sorts of observers have argued that skimpy teacher salaries keep highly qualified individuals out of the profession. One recent study found that a major difference between the education system in the United States and those in other nations with high-performing students is that the United States offers much lower pay to educators.
The July 21 issue of The New Yorker takes us deep inside the Atlanta cheating scandal, and through the lucid reporting of Rachel Aviv, we get to know some of the teachers and school administrators implicated. We learn not only how and why they say they cheated, but also about the toxic, high-pressure environment they contend was created by Superintendent Beverly Hall’s overwhelming emphasis on improving student test scores.
With the Vergara v. California lawsuit shining a spotlight on teacher tenure, it’s easy to forget that for many places, tenure isn’t the issue. The bigger problem is too many new teachers just don’t stay.
Effective teaching has long been an issue of national concern,
but in recent years focus on the effectiveness of programs to
produce high-quality teachers has sharpened. Long-standing
achievement gaps persist despite large-scale legislative changes
at the federal and state levels, and American students
continue to show poorer performance on international tests compared to peers in other developed nations. These and other factors have resulted in the creation of new accreditation standards for teacher education programs. These
Oregon public schools are struggling to meet teacher diversity hiring goals set by the state Legislature. The state had set the goal of increasing the number of minority teachers by 10 percent between 2012 and 2015. But they are currently not on track to achieve that goal.
The U.S. Department of Education on Monday announced a new initiative to increase the number of high-quality teachers working in low-income and predominantly minority schools.
According to the Obama administration, Latino students are three times as likely as white students to attend schools where more than 20 percent of the teachers are in their first year of teaching.
Many teachers — especially those in high-poverty urban and rural schools — say goodbye to the classroom by their fifth year on the job. While views vary on how serious a toll teacher turnover takes on U.S. schools, mitigating its downsides is a widely shared goal.
The nation’s public school teachers love their jobs, despite feeling underappreciated by society and facing enormous challenges in the workplace, according to a new international survey of educators.
If you’re wondering just how contentious a new set of rankings for the nation’s teacher preparation programs really are, consider this: the advocacy group that compiled them had to offer cash rewards to students for basic information such as syllabi when colleges and universities declined to provided them.
For decades teaching was considered a stable profession, with many individuals spending their entire careers at the front of the classroom. But the reality of a young teachers entering the teaching profession right out of school and only leaving when they retire is no more.
The subject of new teachers, and how long they’re staying in the profession, was the focus of a panel discussion at EWA’s 67th National Seminar in Nashville last month.
A California judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary decision finding that the state’s teacher tenure laws disproportionately hurt disadvantaged and minority students.
Los Angeles Judge Rolf M. Treu went as far as to write that the situation “shocks the conscience” and violated students’ civil rights. The lawsuit alleged that tenure and layoff policies hurt students by making it harder to get rid of bad teachers.
Several recent studies have examined the impacts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on school operations and student achievement. We complement that work by investigating the law’s impacts on teachers’ perceptions of their work environments and related job attitudes, including satisfaction and commitment to remain in teaching.
You’d think it would be clear when a teacher is absent from class, but the response to this week’s big report from the National Council on Teacher Quality has shown that not every district agrees on the definitions for excused absences, and that efforts to curtail them are having little effect. The report also exposes the debate over what impact these teacher absences have on student learning.
Avalon School in St. Paul, Minn. doesn’t have a defined leader, but it’s easy to see who is in charge.
Instead of having a traditional principal, the charter school is governed by a cooperative of the teaching staff that oversees decisions such as curriculum, budgets and training.
Teachers share administrative roles and work as a group to make decisions.
When Randi Weingarten gets depressed about the state of public education, she told attendees of EWA’s 67th National Seminar, she calls up memories of her students at the “We the People” competition in upstate New York a couple of decades ago.
AFT President Randi Weingarten discusses value-added teacher evaluation models with the Washington Post’s Lyndsey Layton.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
AFT President Randi Weingarten calls the Obama administration out for perceived hypocrisy in how it judges teacher preparation programs.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
AFT President Randi Weingarten talks support for Hillary Clinton, the possibility of a union-backed Republican candidate, and next year’s mayoral race in Chicago.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
Geoff Decker of Chalkbeat New York asks Weingarten about the United Federation of Teachers contract and the how the proposed career-ladder model compares to other school districts. Recorded in May 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
AFT President Randi Weingarten takes a question on the possibility of a strike in Philadelphia at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
Tenure reforms in NYC led to a substantial drop in the percent of
eligible teachers approved for tenure – from 94 percent during
academic years 2007-08 and 2008-09, the two years prior to the
introduction of the policy, to 89 percent in the first year of
the policy (2009-10) and to an average of 56 percent during the
three subsequent years.
The vast majority of eligible teachers who were not approved for tenure had their probationary period extended. The proportion of teachers denied tenure changed only slightly, from two to three percent, following reform.
This report by Bellwether Education Partners examines how the teacher quality movement took hold and propelled policy changes in dozens of states. Here are excerpts from its executive summary:
The perception of teachers as widgets began to change in the late 1990s and early aughts as new organizations launched and policymakers and philanthropists began to concentrate on teacher effectiveness. Under the Obama administration, the pace of change quickened. …
The Denver Public Schools system is hiring Latino teachers who came to the United States as undocumented immigrants as children.
The school district is hiring young people who qualified for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and now are allowed to work as a result.
On this week’s show, Emily and Mikhail talk with Tampa Bay Times reporter Lisa Gartner about whether Florida’s evaluation system might be falling short when it comes to identifying the state’s best teachers.
Couldn’t make it to our March 6th webinar? View it on demand now!
When education reporters are looking for the teacher’s point of view, the default approach is to call the union spokesperson for comment. But increasingly teachers are taking advantage of grassroots opportunities to express their views, to connect with each other, and to influence policy decisions in their districts and states.
When it comes to having their voices heard, teachers overwhelmingly say they aren’t being listened to on matters of education policy at the state or national level.
At the school level, however, 69 percent of teachers said their opinions carried weight, according to the third edition of the “Primary Sources” survey by Scholastic and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was published Tuesday.
In episode 4 of EWA Radio, Emily Richmond talks to Gabrielle Russon of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune about covering teacher evaluations from the perspective of teacher and principal.
Many states are struggling mightily to hire minority teachers who reflect the growing diversity of their public school students.
In Iowa, the gap is particularly jarring. According to the state’s recently released “2013 Annual Condition of Education” report, in 2012-13 about 20.2 percent of the state’s students were minorities (about 9.3 percent were Hispanic).
You may know that teachers make up roughly half of the education staff in school districts, but who are the other employees on the rolls? To provide a clearer picture, I broke down data from the U.S. Department of Education on district staffing to visualize this often-overlooked slice of the workforce.
For decades, children in Chicago had one of the shortest elementary school days in the country, and students were in class fewer days than their peers not only nationally but also in much of the developed world. Rahm Emanuel vowed in his successful 2011 mayoral campaign both to rectify the situation and to give Chicago’s kids a well-rounded education during their additional school hours.
This week, we’re revisiting some of the top sessions from EWA’s 66th National Seminar held at Stanford University. We asked journalists who attended to contribute posts, and today’s guest blogger is Trevon Milliard of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Stream any session from National Seminar in your browser, or subscribe via RSS or iTunes.
This week, we’re revisiting some of the top sessions from EWA’s 66th National Seminar held at Stanford University. We asked journalists who attended to contribute posts, and today’s guest blogger is Kyla Calvert of San Diego Public Radio. Stream any session from National Seminar in your browser, or subscribe via RSS or iTunes.
With the release of audio recordings of the Sandy Hook 911 calls,
media outlets are weighing the news value of using them against
the inevitable criticism that to do so is macabre
When it comes to student success, “smaller is better” has been the conventional wisdom on class size, despite a less-than-persuasive body of research. But what if that concept were turned on its head, with more students per classroom – provided they’re being taught by the most effective teachers?
The “Nation’s Report Card” is out today for fourth and eighth graders in reading and math, and while there are some positive trends over the past two decades, a significant achievement gap persists among minorities and for America’s students when compared with their peers internationally.
More teachers are seeing their incomes and performance reviews tied to student test scores, a new national report shows.
Two new reports are out today addressing issues related to teacher quality, and both deserve a close reading.
Depending on who you talk to, Memphis is rapidly becoming one of the best cities to teach in America—or one of the worst.
EWA asked some of the education reporters who joined us at our 66th National Seminar (held at Stanford University in May) to contribute blog posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Debbie Cafazzo of the Tacoma News-Tribune. Stream sessions from National Seminar in your browser, or subscribe via RSS or iTunes.
I’m at the University of Chicago for the next few days for our EWA seminar for journalists looking at the current — and future — landscape for teacher evaluations. We’ll be posting content from the sessions, but in the meantime you can get up to speed with a handy backgrounder over on EdMedia Commons. You can also check out some recent posts I’ve written on this and related topics:
With the partial shutdown of the federal government well into its second week, it’s reasonable to ask what lessons students might be absorbing from the actions of Congress – or lack thereof.
Teacher evaluations are here to stay. But what is their purpose and what are teachers doing to make them their own? Next month, EWA will hold a journalists-only seminar to examine how new collaborations and methodologies are bringing greater depth to the evaluation process, and how that information is being used to improve both the teaching profession and student learning.
Across the country, tens of millions of students are back in class for a new school year. But while the ritual of hitting the books is the same, changes are occurring in everything from K-12 curricula to how college students earn their degrees. If you’re writing about these shifts in our nation’s schools and universities, this free, journalists-only event will give you better context for your coverage.
- Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
- Emily Richmond, EWA Public Editor (Moderator)
Teachers’ unions can be powerful forces – in addition to contract negotiations, the unions can have an impact on school board decisions on everything from zoning changes to classroom technology purchases to budget cuts. But in many cases the greatest influence of unions – specifically, where they choose to spend their money – happens behind the scenes.
This webinar focused on how education reporters can better connect with classroom teachers, and techniques for making the most of those interviews. Topics include creative ways to use social media and other non-traditional methods to reach out to school site personnel, and how to manage central-office hurdles that often limit access.
Benjamin Herold of Education Week talks about the coverage he did for WHYY and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook in 2012, a particularly tumultuous year for the city’s school system. Herold’s coverage was awarded first prize in the beat reporting category, medium newsroom, in EWA’s 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting. Recorded at EWA’s 66th National Seminar, May 4, 2013 at Stanford University.
Jenny Brundin of Colorado Public Radio talks about following a group of teachers, administrators and students going through a turnaround effort at a failing school in Denver. “Trevista” was awarded first prize, Single-Topic News, Series or Feature in Broadcast in EWA’s 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting. Recorded at EWA’s 66th National Seminar, May 4, 2013, at Stanford University.
*Please note: Due to technical difficulties during recording, the audio in the first half of this video is distorted. There is nothing wrong with your speakers.
These interactive sessions feature reporters, analysts and educators spotlighting efforts under way to harness the power of innovation to spark new approaches to K-12 and higher education. In this session, Mark Shermis, University of Akron, is interviewed by Molly Bloom, WKSU, about the debate over computerized grading of student essays. Recorded May 4, 2013 at EWA’s 66th National Seminar at Stanford University.
These interactive sessions feature reporters, analysts and educators spotlighting efforts under way to harness the power of innovation to spark new approaches to K-12 and higher education. Learn about experimental tools, offerings and practices being made possible by emerging digital technologies, and gather new ideas for covering innovation on your own beat.
In this session, Wanda Longoria, Northside Independent School District (San Antonio, TX), is interviewed by Kelsey Sheehy, U.S. News & World Report, about new ways for teachers to share lessons online.
Technology Counts 2013—the 16th edition of Education Week’s annual report on educational technology—tackles how school districts are working to incorporate more multimedia into classrooms, upgrade online professional development, and do a better job using data to improve student achievement.
If you couldn’t make it to our Feb. 8 seminar, Under the Microscope: Examining STEM Education, we’ll be collecting resources from it on this page over the next few days.
First, check out this video report featuring participants from our STEM Science Fair:
Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, delivers the keynote address at EWA’s Oct. 26, 2012 seminar, “Ready to Teach: Rethinking Routes to the Classroom.”
Recorded at the University of Minnesota.
Greg Toppo of USA Today closes out the Tomorrow’s Teachers session at EWA’s 65th National Seminar.
This presentation was a part of “Tomorrow’s Teacher: Paths to Prestige and Effectiveness,” a session held May 18, 2012 at EWA’s 65th National Seminar at the University of Pennsylvania.
Speaker: Elena Silva, senior policy analyst, Education Sector
This presentation was a part of “Tomorrow’s Teacher: Paths to Prestige and Effectiveness,” a session held May 18, 2012 at EWA’s 65th National Seminar at the University of Pennsylvania.
Speaker: Ron Thorpe, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
This presentation was a part of “Tomorrow’s Teacher: Paths to Prestige and Effectiveness,” a session held May 18, 2012 at EWA’s 65th National Seminar at the University of Pennsylvania.
Speaker: Rebecca Pringle, secretary-treasurer, National Education Association
Speaker: Anthony Bryk, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Speaker: Denise Khaalis, South Pointe High School, S.C.
The Dynamic Trio of Effective Teaching Measures: Classroom Observations, Student Surveys and Student Achievement Gains
Speaker: Tom Kane, Harvard Graduate School of Ed/Gates MET Study
Speaker: Bryan Hassel, Public Impact
Speaker: Roxanna Elden, Hialeah High School teacher
Speaker: Ted Mitchell, NewSchools Venture Fund
Speaker: Deborah Loewenberg Ball, University of Michigan
Speaker: Richard Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania
Greg Toppo of USA Today introduces the Tomorrow’s Teacher session
Hawaii has traditionally been one of the most labor-friendly states in the nation. But by last November, Hawaii’s 13,000 teachers had reached a breaking point.
This three-hour plenary session at EWA’s 65th National Seminar saw a series of experts take different approaches to answer one central question: How do we make teaching into a prestigious profession? (Education Writers Association)
The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future “develops prototypes for innovative teacher preparation, collaborative teaching teams, and strategies to leverage community engagement, sharing the impact of these programs with those who influence education legislation and policy.”
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1987 with the goal of advancing teacher quality by developing voluntary professional standards that could be used to certify teachers across the country.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center focused on improving teacher quality and learning.
The CALDER Center of the American Institutes for Research publishes a wealth of research and other information regarding teacher effectiveness.
The Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, based at the Teachers College at Columbia University, tracks a number of issues involving teachers and their coverage in the media through case studies, blogs, and the Hechinger Report website.
The American Federation of Teachers, with more than 1.5 million members, is one of the country’s two largest teachers’ unions. The organization was founded in 1916 and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest teachers’ union with nearly 3 million members. Its members work at every level of education, from preschool through postsecondary, but the bulk of its members work in K-12 education.
The National Council on Teacher Quality is a nonpartisan research group that advocates for reforms with the goal of ensuring that each student has an effective teacher. Among other things, they gather information about policies affecting teacher preparation, compensation, evaluations and other issues on a state-by-state basis.
The Douglas County School District evaluation system is drawing rebuke from some parents who say it has created an inconsistent measure of educator performance and is pushing some of their favorite teachers out of the school district.
Teachers at one of Chicago’s largest charter-school networks — run by the United Neighborhood Organization — have voted to organize into a union.
Across the country, education reformers and their allies in both parties have revamped the way teachers are graded, abandoning methods under which nearly everyone was deemed satisfactory, even when students were falling behind.
States’ Perspectives on Waivers: Relief from NCLB, Concern about Long-term Solutions, by Jennifer McMurrer and Nanami Yoshioka at the Center on Education Policy
This report describes states’ early experiences in applying for flexibility from key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as NCLB waivers, and their plans for implementing the new systems outlined in their applications. Findings from the 38 survey states indicate states believe that the waivers address several of the problems they see with the NCLB accountability requirements, however, many state officials are concerned about what will happen to the programs and policies in their waiver plans if ESEA is reauthorized.
Teachers in Michigan need some kind of certificate or permit to teach. Whether it’s in a public school or a charter school, it doesn’t matter; it’s Michigan law.
Changes to evaluation systems yield only subtle differences.
A new study explores what happens to students who aren’t allowed to suffer through setbacks.
Flipped learning — which flips the time-honored model of classroom lecture and exercises for homework — apparently is catching on in schools across the nation as a younger, more tech-savvy generation of teachers is moving into classrooms.
Data, while imprecise, suggest that some states are producing far more new teachers at the elementary level than will be able to find jobs in their respective states—even as districts struggle to find enough recruits in other certification fields.
For some observers, the imbalances reflect a failure of teacher colleges—by far, the largest source of new teachers—and their regulatory agencies to cap the number of entrants.
For New York City, that means that it will not receive $250 million in aid, money that city officials said would result in midyear cuts and could affect school funding for school staff, technology and after school and arts programs. The absence of an evaluation means that the city will also not be able to claim up to another $200 million in state and federal grant money.
Behind a locked classroom door, a Los Angeles third-grade teacher purportedly committed lewd acts against students. The charges spurred demands for classrooms to remain open during the school day. But after the shooting deaths of 20 first-graders in Connecticut last month, calls were made to keep classrooms locked. The intent of both efforts is to keep students safe. But as school districts nationwide examine their security measures following the Newtown, Conn., massacre, the question of locked versus unlocked classroom doors is in debate.
Should teachers and administrators use their secured doors as a shield from an outside danger?
This non-technical research brief for policymakers and practitioners summarizes recent analyses from the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project on identifying effective teaching while accounting for differences among teachers’ students, on combining measures into composites, and on assuring reliable classroom observations. (Editor’s note: The study was part of a three-year, $50 million project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that included dozens of researchers and over 3,000 teachers who volunteered.
Teachers in Louisiana have all but lost the tenure rules that once protected their jobs. Beginning this year, all 50,000 of them will be evaluated and ranked on an annual basis, often with test scores factoring in heavily. Soon, consistently “ineffective” teachers will no longer be welcome in the classroom. This, depending on one’s point of view, is either the latest assault on Louisiana’s educators or an urgent step toward modernizing the teaching profession and lifting the state out of academic mediocrity.
Seventy-three Western Pennsylvania public school districts paid nearly $25 million for substitute teachers to cover classes when full-time educators were not in the classroom during the last school year.
For 15 years, teachers in three Southern states paid Clarence Mumford Sr. — himself a longtime educator — to send someone else to take the tests in their place, authorities said. Each time, Mumford received a fee of between $1,500 and $3,000 to send one of his test ringers with fake identification to the Praxis exam. In return, his customers got a passing grade and began their careers as cheaters, according to federal prosecutors in Memphis. Authorities say the scheme affected hundreds — if not thousands — of public school students who ended up being taught by unqualified instructors.
Teachers unions won several big victories in both red and blue states Tuesday, overturning laws that would have eliminated tenure in Idaho and South Dakota, defeating a threat to union political work in California, and ousting a state schools chief in Indiana who sought to fundamentally remake public education.
The superintendent of San Jose Unified and leaders of the district’s teachers union have agreed on an innovative evaluation and compensation system that, if implemented, would be significantly different from any in California. With education groups in Sacramento and legislators still bruised over a grueling, failed effort to revise the state’s teacher evaluation law last summer, the San Jose plan offers hope that a progressive compromise on divisive issues is possible.
The findings paint a picture of a new generation of teachers who have high expectations for their students and a strong desire to build a profession based on high standards. And while they are strikingly similar to their more veteran colleagues when it comes to certain traditional working conditions issues like class size, we found them to be more open to performance-driven options for how they are evaluated and paid.
Parents, practitioners, and policymakers agree that the key to improving public education in America is placing highly skilled and effective teachers in all classrooms. Yet the nation still lacks a practical set of standards and assessments that can guarantee that teachers, particularly new teachers, are well prepared and ready to teach.
In Illinois, the top two recipients of political contributions from the Illinois Education Association through June 30 were Republicans, including a State House candidate who has Tea Party support and advocates lower taxes and smaller government.
The percentage of teachers and other certificated staff lacking proper credentials was actually 29 percent, not the 58 percent the state reported for the 2005-06 school year. The revelation, sparked by errors in state data identified by California Watch, means the state has been using an incorrect baseline as it measures progress at its lowest-performing schools.
Education Nation: Program Aims to Lure Next-Generation Engineers and Math Whizzes into the Classroom
Her pitch was the first step in a special program at the University of Texas known as UTeach, an effort to entice talented math and science majors who might otherwise become doctors or engineers to choose teaching instead. It was developed in answer to a growing crisis in American education.
But Lansing teachers have plenty of company, as an Education Trust-Midwest survey of large Michigan districts revealed that 87.75 percent of teachers were deemed “effective,” and 11.60 percent were ranked higher, as “highly effective.” Together, 99.36 percent of the educators were in the top categories. At the other end, just 0.65 percent of the teachers were deemed “ineffective” or “minimally effective,” according to the study, released today.
A decade ago, an economist at Harvard, Ronald Ferguson, wondered what would happen if teachers were evaluated by the people who see them every day—their students. The idea—as simple as it sounds, and as familiar as it is on college campuses—was revolutionary. And the results seemed to be, too: remarkable consistency from grade to grade, and across racial divides. Even among kindergarten students. A growing number of school systems are administering the surveys—and might be able to overcome teacher resistance in order to link results to salaries and promotions.
Chicago public school teachers returned to their classrooms on Wednesday but thorny questions remained over how Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the cash-strapped school system will pay for the tentative contract that ended a strike of more than a week.
Like most school librarians, Ms. Hearne has been trained both as a teacher and a librarian, a combination she thinks is perfectly suited to helping students and teachers as the Common Core State Standards presses them into inquiry-based modes of learning and teaching. She helps them find a range of reading materials in printed or online form and collaborates to develop challenging cross-disciplinary projects. And like colleagues around the country, Ms.
The apologetic tone was not an emotional, spur-of-the-moment outburst, even if Weingarten is given to raising her voice and slapping her hand on her leg to emphasize a point. She appeared to recognize that if teachers’ unions are going to weather another round of criticism, brought on by a new Hollywood film, “Won’t Back Down,” in which the union is the bad guy, they will have to adopt a strategy that starts with conciliation.
But while teachers’ union chiefs opine on the importance of social justice, tolerance, workers’ rights and abortion rights, similar scrutiny shows that in recent years, national and local affiliates of the National Education Association — the nation’s largest teachers’ union — have endorsed candidates who disagree on all those counts. Since 1989, five percent of campaign contributions by the NEA have gone to Republicans, according to public records.
Today, Fordham is releasing a groundbreaking study that helps address those questions: Boosting the Quality and Efficiency of Special Education. Author Nate Levenson of the District Management Council uses the largest database of information on special education spending and staffing ever assembled to uncover significant variance in how districts staff for special education.
The end result: a more than threefold increase in the sheer number of inexperienced teachers in U.S. schools. In the 1987-88 school year, Ingersoll estimates, there were about 65,000 first-year teachers; by 2007-08, the number had grown to more than 200,000. In the 1987-88 school year, he found, the biggest group of teachers had 15 years of experience. By the 2007-08 school year, the most recent data available, the biggest group of teachers had one year experience.
“The National Parent Teacher Association has revamped its policy to make it clear that it supports giving entities other than local school boards the right to approve charter schools, a new position the group argues will increase its ability to shape policy within the diverse and growing sector of independent public schools.”
What do the American Ireland Fund, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network have in common? All have received some of the more than $330 million that America’s two largest teachers unions spent in the past five years on outside causes, political campaigns, lobbying and issue education.
The Hechinger Report is investigating how professional-development funds are spent in the country’s largest school system—New York City—as well as in other districts around the nation to see what we can learn from schools, districts and countries that excel at ongoing teacher training.
“Trending Toward Reform shows how teachers’ thinking has evolved on some reform issues. It repeats questions from Education Sector’s 2007 survey Waiting to Be Won Over and a 2003 Public Agenda survey on these same issues. Our findings show continued strong support for teachers unions. But teachers also want more from their unions.”
This cover story explores the debate over whether great teachers are born or made, and investigates the push to tease out the teachable tricks of the trade that may masquerade as innate genius.
To close the achievement gap between poor and affluent students in Tennessee, some students may need to learn at double the rate of their high-performing peers, according to Tennessee Department of Education materials.
Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.
An overwhelming majority of Americans are frustrated that it’s too difficult to get rid of bad teachers, while most also believe that teachers aren’t paid enough, a new poll shows.
By 2015, with the help of a $50 million federal grant, program recruits could make up one-quarter of all new teachers in 60 of the nation’s highest need school districts.
Teacher evaluations for years were based on brief classroom observations by the principal. But now, prodded by President Barack Obama’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top program, at least 26 states have agreed to judge teachers based, in part, on results from their students’ performance on standardized tests.
The new Illinois law that overhauls teacher tenure, collective bargaining, layoff procedures, and the right to strike took the stage in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, with several key people behind the measure holding it up as a model for other states.
In a bizarre game of musical chairs, nearly 1,000 Los Angeles teachers — who are guaranteed jobs somewhere in the school system — have been hunting for a school that wants them. And hundreds of them have to counter a stigma that they are undesirable castoffs, because they previously worked at low-performing schools that are being restructured.
Student teaching serves as a capstone experience for nearly 200,000 teacher candidates each year. In an effort to understand how to get student teaching “right,” the National Center on Teacher Quality embarked on an ambitious effort to measure student teaching programs nationwide, assessing the degree to which they have the right pieces in place necessary for delivering a high quality program.
As policymakers and school leaders seek new ways to measure and improve teacher effectiveness, it’s important for journalists and others to understand what is known about the topic so far, and what remains unsettled or unknown. This research brief does not synthesize all the studies in this highly technical field. But it does aim to improve the accuracy and clarity of reporting by exploring what the research says about timely questions surrounding the complex topic of teacher effectiveness.
How a German scientist is using test data to revolutionize global learning.
“Does increased teacher knowledge and improved instruction result in better student learning in STEM?” The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future “found the answer from published research especially promising in mathematics, and our expert panel confirmed this by drawing upon many unpublished local results.”
The fact that well-qualified teachers are inequitably distributed to students in the United States has received growing public attention. By every measure of qualifications—certification, subject matter background, pedagogical training, selectivity of college attended, test scores, or experience—less-qualified teachers tend to be found in schools serving greater numbers of low-income and minority students.
New data include ratings for about 11,500 teachers, nearly double the number covered last August. School and civic leaders had sought to halt release of the data.
The District’s new teacher evaluation system is becoming a national model, even as unions and some experts question the wisdom of staking careers on it. And in the moment when school reform meets the teachers expected to carry it out, master educators observe teachers in class — and then have a conference that can end careers.
To improve its public schools, the United States should raise the status of the teaching profession by recruiting more qualified candidates, training them better and paying them more, according to a new report on comparative educational systems.
You would think the Department of Education would want to replicate Stacey Isaacson — a dedicated teacher who has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia and works long hours every school day — and sprinkle Ms. Isaacsons all over town. Instead, the department’s accountability experts have developed a complex formula to calculate how much academic progress a teacher’s students make in a year — the teacher’s value-added score — and that formula indicates that Ms. Isaacson is one of the city’s worst teachers.
Around the country, many teachers see demands to cut their income, benefits and say in how schools are run through collective bargaining as attacks not just on their livelihoods, but on their value to society.
“The root cause cause of the nation’s failing educational system is now widely recognized as the lack of well-prepared, high-performing teachers, especially in high-poverty areas. This is one area where federal policy, state policy, and public opinion coincide: making sure that every student has a great teacher is everyone’s top priority,” wrote Carnegie Corporation of New York officials in a Boston Globe op-ed. Carnegie issued a challenge calling for an excellent teacher for every student in every school.
An economist and education researcher takes on one of the most hotly debated topics in education.
EWA 2010 National Reporting Contest winner. From the series description: “In a series appearing over eight Sundays, ‘Building a Better Teacher’ looked at challenges to the way teachers are trained, evaluated, paid, promoted and dismissed - and how all of it comes to bear on student success.”
The evaluation of teachers based on the contribution they make to the learning of their students, value-added, is an increasingly popular but controversial education reform policy. We highlight and try to clarify four areas of confusion about value-added.
Improving teacher effectiveness to lift student achievement has become a major theme in U.S. education. Most efforts focus on improving the effectiveness of teachers already in the classroom or on retaining the best performers and dismissing the least effective. Attracting more young people with stronger academic backgrounds to teaching has received comparatively little attention.
Read this Center on Education Policy report examining how school districts have spent funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). CEP’s report finds that the federal appropriations helped school districts save teaching jobs, but severe cutbacks are expected for the 2010-2011 school year.
Read Education Sector’s report on Understanding Teachers Contracts an issue at the center of education reform today.
This report shows what happens when teachers are not included in planning a new policy for pay and benefits.
The Center on Reinventing Public Education examines school districts with large budget gaps and what they can do to avoid laying off teachers and to see how much salaries are costing the district.
This report reveals that about 100 Chicago schools suffer from chronically high rates of teacher turnover, losing a quarter or more of their teaching staff every year, and many of these schools serve predominantly low-income African American children. In the typical Chicago elementary school, 51 percent of the teachers working in 2002 had left four years later, while the typical high school had seen 54 percent leave by 2006.
The teaching profession is attracting more qualified people. The new crop of teachers scored higher on national exams such as the SAT and earned higher grades in the classroom.
This report, funded by the Joyce Foundation, offers guidelines on creating a successful system for rewarding educators based on their performance. Reporters will probably find the stories of school systems where this practice is being used helpful.
The Commission on No Child Left Behind explains how the Highly Qualified Teacher part of NCLB does work and how it could be improved in a concise Q&A format.