Teachers Rule, Teachers Trained, Teachers Win

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EEP & Signatory News
Andy “Eduwonk” Rotherham (EEP signatory) writes in TIME: “Teacher pensions may not sound like a sexy or even high-profile issue, but keep reading: they’re threatening the fiscal health of many states and could cost you — yes, you — thousands of dollars.”

President of Democrats for Education Reform (and EEP Board Members) Joe Williams offers new NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black some advice in the New York Post to ensure her success as schools chief.  On teacher quality, for example, Joe writes, “Ultimately, great teachers are what make great students. When we can finally start truly rewarding effective teachers and removing ineffective teachers from the classroom is when our students will finally have a real chance at success.”

Math teacher Fred Belmont approves of President Obama’s Digital Learning Plan in the Huffington Post.  “Not only could this plan prompt Democrats and Republicans in the incoming Congress to cross the aisle to focus on a crucial learning roadmap, but the plan — and each of its five very specific goals — makes sense!”
Peter Meyer of Education Next talks with students and teachers (video) from Hudson, New York about the problem with middle schools (based on his new article, “The Middle School Mess,” in the Winter 2011 issue of EdNext) and about alternatives to standalone schools for students in grades 6-8.
Education Next’s Paul Peterson and Chester E. Finn, Jr. (EEP signatory) talk about what the election results are likely to mean for federal education policy. Will the landslide be followed by gridlock? Will there be any agreement on what to do and how much to spend? Will Obama be able to advance his agenda?
EdWeek examines the shortfalls of teacher professional development, and takes a look at some possible improvements to a program whose name is now “both ubiquitous and all but meaningless.”

From the States
Two California teachers pen a letter to the San Francisco Gate on improving teacher effectiveness, offering several recommendations from a recent report, “A Quality Teacher in Every Classroom: Creating a Teacher Evaluation System That Works for California.”

WBEZ-FM reports that although charter schools are growing in popularity in Chicago, data show that students are leaving the charters at a high rate. Critics say the schools weed out the weakest students — particularly those who are struggling academically or have behavioral difficulties — but charter officials say they carefully consider all transfer requests and work hard to ensure that struggling students stay on and improve.
The Chicago Tribune reports that eight of 10 public high school juniors in Illinois weren’t considered ready for college classes in all subjects based on ACT testing last spring — and many students missed the mark even at posh suburban Chicago schools that graduate some of the state’s brightest kids.

The Times Picayune reports that an Wildcat Success Academy in New Orleans aims to boost graduation rates by serving students who are over the standard age for their grade level and are considered at risk for dropping out.

The Baltimore Sun reports that a group of teachers in Maryland has created an online tool designed to improve the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math. STEMnet Teachers Hub will allow teachers to collaborate and share lesson plans and connect with researchers in STEM fields.

New Jersey
EdWeek reports that a large majority of New Jerseyites–70 percent–sees teacher tenure protections as an obstacle to removing ineffective teachers, a new poll by Rutgers-Eagleton has found.

New York
The Daily News reports that Cathie Black, new NYC Schools Chancellor has wasted no time meeting many of the most important players in public education in the Big Apple, including the heads of the teachers and principals unions, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Gotham Schools offers Cathie Black a reading list for the next six weeks to get up-to-speed on education reform and history.
The New York Times looks at the “big school problems” that await the new schools chancellor.

The Portland Tribune reports that Whitman Elementary School, where roughly one-third of students are English-language learners is improving these students’ reading skills with intensive two-hour periods of daily literacy time.

Washington D.C.
The Washington Post reports that D.C. officials this week acknowledged for the first time that combining the athletic departments of D.C. Public Schools and D.C. Public Charter Schools under the same administrative body might be inevitable.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reports that the Oshkosh school district is investing $300,000 in training its K-5 teachers to provide intervention to students who are having difficulty with math. The training will allow all classroom teachers to help their students while the district’s intervention specialists work with students who are struggling the most.

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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