Focus on Teachers
Challenges like low college-readiness rates and academic performance that lags behind much of the developed world weren’t created overnight. We can’t solve them overnight, either. It’s not that simple. Real school improvement requires a comprehensive plan focused on what matters most, and the willingness to stick with it over the long run.
Student Assessments That Work
Student assessment is becoming a topic of conversation. It is spurring discussions about how and why we test students and what we do with the data from those assessments. School boards will play critical roles in determining where that conversation goes in terms of public policy and student performance.
Sabbaticals for Public School Teachers
Sabbaticals encourage the scholarly aspirations of educators still early in their careers as well as of those who are veterans. If we expect teachers to act as consummate professionals, then we should treat them as such and give them some of the perquisites of academic scholars.
Why Keep Teacher Tenure?
Tenure – like it or loathe it – is an employee benefit, similar to salary, vacation, medical benefits, and sick leave. When tenure is removed, teachers have little incentive in an individual school or district and perpetually risk termination based on an administrator’s whims and foibles. Good teachers – smart teachers – will not take this gamble.
Higher Education Partners Benefit Schools
School systems in rural Virginia work with each other and higher education institutions to overcome their isolation and lack of resources. School leaders could find great value in forming similar partnerships with other districts and with colleges and universities. We recommend harnessing the energy of such collaboration.
Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Schools
Because teacher sexual misconduct is alarmingly common, a proactive, rather than reactive, approach at the district level is required to address this issue squarely and directly. Create an environment that is emotionally and physically safe and where teachers and students know in advance what behaviors are both acceptable and unacceptable.
Professional Development That Works
If a school board truly wishes to boost academic achievement, it must support professional development. The latest research says that staff training must be “down and dirty” – very practical for the classroom, including sustained coaching and support for teachers and administrators as they seek to master what they’ve learned.
Education Vital Signs: Teachers
Education Vital Signs collection of reports on Teachers.
Teacher Evaluation How-Tos
Judging teachers threatens to become a reality show with little or no payoff for educational consumers. When it comes to judging teachers, the challenges are great, but the magic words are simple: It’s time we did our homework. Here are five lessons that challenge even the most able among us.
Teacher Accountability and Testing
Testing experts worry about the many ways value-added can fall short of expectations. They urge policymakers to follow best practice principles and design prescriptions when using value-added. A few key prescriptions are: demand top-quality tests; ensure educators know what the test covers; and, ensure accuracy of formulas.
Assessments Helping Teachers
In 2002, Wyoming’s education officials set out to create accountability tests capable not only of accurately evaluating their state’s schools, but also of stimulating better instruction. Birth pangs are common with new enterprises, and that was the case in Wyoming. While not definitive, the results are definitely encouraging.
Teachers and Social Networks
While scads of attention and literature have focused on protecting and guiding student use of social networking technologies, the same diligence has not been paid to covering actions by district staff and faculty. As embarrassment after embarrassment has shown, educators need educating on these matters, too.
National Teachers Standards
The Council of Chief State School Officers has crafted a set of standards for teacher practice that could help school leaders deal with the increased federal and state demands while still maintaining local control. The consortium is seeking extensive input for the revised standards, including from school board members and administrators.