February 2, 2016

Teacher Preparation Via Aldeman And Mitchel, D.C. Teachers, Atlanta Scholarships, Virginia Charter Support North Of 70%, And The First Road Trip!

By Bellwether

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Chad Aldeman and Ashley Mitchel with a new Bellwether analysis of teacher preparation policy in two new papers you can read here. In RealClearEducation they write, 

Each year, new teachers collectively spend about $4.85 billion and 302 million hours on their preparation work. But there is no evidence that any of it really matters…

handful of states and the federal government are moving away from using inputs to define quality. They continue to regulate inputs, but they’re shifting their focus toward a teacher’s performance after she leaves the preparation program. These states measure certain outcomes of teacher performance – like impact on student learning, job placement, retention, and evaluation rating – and link those outcomes back to the preparation program…

Six months ago, we started writing a paper looking at these efforts. We were as excited about outcomes as anyone could be. We thought that, with some guidance from states already doing this work and the endorsement of the Department of Education, all states could affect the quality of educator preparation, and consequently of future educators, by holding programs accountable for their completers’ performance. But we were too optimistic.

Instead of overwhelming evidence, we found conflicting research…Instead of state exemplars, we found implementation challenges…

The implication can’t be overstated: If states can’t identify meaningful differences in teacher effectiveness between programs, it’s as good as having no information at all…

They have some ideas about what to do here. U.S. News on the analysis here.

Amanda Ripley:

If more parents understood what serious teaching looked like, what would they do instead? Maybe, at parties, they’d talk to teachers about their craft. They might ask to sit in on classes instead of just coming to concerts and games. And if they understood what their children would miss, they might not want them to be late for school.

The story is about the seismic shifts in Washington, D.C. over the past decade in how teachers are treated. The conflict around that story has garnered plenty of ink, but the results and the transformation not enough:

Partelow, as it happens, was a teacher. And our standard narrative about teachers has long held that they’re underpaid and underappreciated—selfless, perhaps, but not exactly aspiring masters of the universe.

That narrative isn’t true anymore, at least not in the District. Over the past decade, DC Public Schools has radically changed how it rewards teachers—and what it demands in exchange. Teachers who work in low-income public schools and get strong performance reviews can earn more than $125,000 after fewer than ten years. They can buy houses and cars, which is as it should be. Last school year, DC’s median teacher pay was $75,000, which means most teachers earned as much as other college-educated professionals.

It’s more than money. Also more opportunities for professional input, growth, and leadership. The riddle? D.C. arrived here via leaders who did everything that “everybody knows” doesn’t work…

New polling on charter schools in Virginia: Terrance Group poll of  600 likely voters statewide. 72 percent favor having more charter public schools. 22 percent opposed. 6 percent unsure. Big issue facing the state this year. Give parents more choices or keep them bottled up? Virginia took away public school choice rights from parents with almost no resistance so it’s going to be a challenge translating these sentiments into political action.

New scholarship program launching in Atlanta. Part of an effort to increase post-secondary completion there led by former Bellwether Partner Tina Fernandez.  New ACT data on college and career readiness with a look at low-income students and preparedness.

Yesterday Richard Whitmire and I took a look at Bloomberg’s education record and 2016 presidential politics.

Origins of the great American road trip.

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