Study: Teaching Credentials Still Matter
If you listen to a lot of policy discussions on education, chances are that you've heard one scholar or another stand up to talk about how teacher credentials, such as holding a traditional license or having earned a master's degree, don't seem to matter much when it comes to improving student achievement.
Duke University researcher Helen F. Ladd says that there are two problems with those studies. The studies are: 1) old, and 2) focused mostly on elementary school children.
To gather newer data on the impact of teacher credentials and characteristics on high school students' achievement, Ladd and her research partners took a look at scores from the end-of-course exams that all high school students are required to take in North Carolina. They looked in particular at statewide data for four cohorts of 9th and 10th graders for whom they could find and match up data on their teachers. (The final sample included tens of thousands of students.)The bottom line, the researchers found, was that at the high school level, most measurable teacher credentials do indeed matter. And they have a large enough impact on student achievement, Ladd and her colleagues say, to suggest that they ought to figure into policymakers' decisions on how to raise the quality of instruction in schools.
Read the rest here.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
There's a frightening post today on Diane Ravitch's Education Week blog. Apparently the view inside the Obama administration is that we need even more tests.
NCTE has published a statement opposing the policy of the Arizona department of education which targets teachers with "accents."
And, on a more positive note, a reminder that the call for proposals for the April 2011 IFTE conference in New Zealand is now available.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Also, the final draft of the Common Core Standards is now available.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Much Ado About English: IFTE Conference 2011
Please plan to attend the 2011 International Federation for the Teaching of English (IFTE) conference at the University of Auckland, April 18-21. The conference promises to deliver something special for all teachers and teacher educators who attend. The conference will have four key strands: Literacies and Literatures, Diversity and Voice, English Teachers @ Work, and New Technologies, New Practices.
For more information and details about how to register, please see http://www.ifte.net/ConferenceFront.htm (when you get there, click on OPEN).
Note that proposals are due September 1.
Monday, May 24, 2010
More enlightening is this exchange between Diane Ravitch and Mike Rose.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
In Arizona, ethnic studies courses are being banned and state superintendent of public instruction Tom Horne says he doesn't like Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
The National Writing Project has posted links to some great articles about how writing supports reading.
And finally, here's some research support for using literacy coaches, (especially in schools where teachers have real authority and strong relationships with their peers).
Monday, May 10, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
Scene: Last fall, at the MI Association of Public School Academies conference. A panel featuring an array of high-profile leadership figures in Detroit is asked about the most effective strategies for fixing schools in Detroit. Surprisingly, nobody mentions more charters. One of the panelists suggests that Teach for America would make a big difference. A former corps member herself, she refers to TFA as the Peace Corps of Teaching.
Q from the audience: Wow, that sounds great! What special training do TFA members get before they come to Detroit? Special classes for working in tough urban districts? Do they student teach here first?
Panelist: Ummm. Well, there's this five-week summer seminar called Institute that's, like, intense. But mostly, they're graduates of top colleges who have to compete to get into the program. They're the best and the brightest!
Sitting at a table with several DPS NBCTs and a Milken winner, I hear one mutter something about also being the cheapest. And--in the end--it is about money, more or less.
Read the whole thing here.
Monday, May 03, 2010
On the other hand, as I said in a previous post, I know there are some teacher ed. programs that have built productive relationships with charters.
Friday, April 30, 2010
It reminds me of anther ploy that I run into a lot in the print media. "Everyone agrees," "a consensus has developed"—sometimes followed by a quote from the head of the union as the sole dissenter. I don't recall there ever being a discussion, so where and when did this consensus form around getting rid of "traditional" public schooling that rests on local communities? When did we have a discussion about the larger moral issues that "seniority" represents in general, not just in schools? Or due process? Why do we presume guilt, not innocence, when someone is arbitrarily sent to the so-called "rubber room"? Or, who should decide what curriculum and pedagogy to adopt—or reject? Or, how we should judge schools or teachers...not to mention kids! Who decided that algebra would be a gateway skill to possessing a high school diploma (and thus entry to almost any job)? Who decided that private, for-profit managers should take over large portions of public education—including replacing entire former public school space? Who decided that the representatives of teachers don't represent them—but are just "labor bosses"? Who decided that Ivy League-educated students fresh out of college will be better teachers of our kids than experienced graduates of the non-elite universities?I could be mistaken, but it seems as if the ideas behind the specific examples she lists have really put down roots in the mainstream media over the past two or three years: schools are bad, teachers are self-serving and cling relentlessly to the status quo, teacher education is a waste of time, any ideas coming from outside education are by definition better than any ideas coming from inside, etc. Has anyone read anything interesting that helps explain how perceptions of education are currently being shaped by the media and other forces?
A related post worth reading is this one at Public School Insights by Claus von Zastrow.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
Conservatives Hail Fla. Teacher Bill as ModelI'd be interested in hearing any thoughts from Florida CEE members about this.Hailed as a national model by conservative academics and politicians, legislation that would make it easier to fire Florida teachers and link their pay to student test scores went to Gov. Charlie Crist in the wee hours of Friday morning after a marathon House debate that began Thursday night.
Business interests as well as most Republicans backed the bill that was opposed by teachers and their unions, local school officials and Democrats.
Read the rest here.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
And, on the same theme, more news from Florida.
(One thought about the moves to undermine teacher tenure occurring in Florida and elsewhere: I usually assume that attacks on the teaching profession are at least partly about union-busting. But isn't it likely that teachers who are deprived of the due process protections offered by tenure will turn elsewhere for such protections? Could this end up reinvigorating the unions in education?)
Monday, April 05, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
And a couple of other items of interest:
Maybe you were aware that Larry Cuban has a blog, but it was news to me. Full of interesting observations about education reform, especially its historical antecedents.
Diane Ravitch comments on the recently passed law in Florida that will undermine teacher professionalism.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Due process? Valid and reliable research? Teachers as professionals? Apparently those are old-fashioned concepts. The whole column is worth reading. You can find it here.
The bill would:
*Require that school systems evaluate and pay teachers primarily on the basis of student test scores. Testing experts say this is an invalid assessment tool.
*Require that experience, advanced degrees or professional certification not be considered when paying teachers.
*Require that new teachers be put on probation for five years and then work on one-year contracts, which would allow any principal to easily get rid of any teacher who bothered them in any way.
*Require the creation of new annual tests for every subject that is not measured already by state assessments or other tests, such as the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate end-of-course tests.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Time is running out. If you agree with our petition below, we ask you to go to the SUBMIT FEEDBACK section of the COMMON CORE STANDARDS documents (online) at http://www.corestandards.org/Standards/K12/ this week.
Please share this message with your colleagues today.
Frank Baker (Media Literacy Clearinghouse), Richard Beach (University of Minnesota)
Whereas in 1996, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) passed a resolution urging language arts teachers to consider the importance of bringing visual texts into the classroom. The resolution said: "Viewing and visually representing (defined in the NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts) are a part of our growing consciousness of how people gather and share information. Teachers and students need to expand their appreciation of the power of print and nonprint texts. Teachers should guide students in constructing meaning through creating and viewing nonprint texts."
Whereas in 2000, the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) defined
media literacy as: (empowering) “people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language, and sound. It is the skillful application of literacy skills to media and technology messages. As communication technologies transform society, they impact our understanding of ourselves, our communities, and our diverse cultures, making media literacy an essential life skill for the 21st century.”
Whereas the 2009 K-12 Horizon Report (http://www.nmc.org/horizon), declared the number one critical challenge for schools in the 21st century is: "a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy."
Whereas the 2010 K-12 Horizon Report continues to include this critical challenge when it says:
“Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession.;
Whereas media/digital literacy has become central to life and work in society;
Whereas, today’s educators recognize that the words “text” and “literacy” are not confined to the words on page;
Whereas the Common Core Standards only refer in general terms to media as “nonprint texts in media forms old and new. The need to research and to consume and produce media is embedded into every element of today’s curriculum;”
Whereas media/digital literacy are now well articulated in much more detail in most state standards, often under the category of “viewing” or “visually representing,” resulting in a strong media literacy curriculum focus;
Whereas if media/digital literacy is not explicitly articulated “in the standards,” many teachers many not focus on media/digital instruction;
We, the undersigned urge that more specific media/digital literacy standards related to critical analysis of media/digital consumption/use, production, representations, social/cultural analysis, ownership, and influence on society be explicitly stated in the Common Core Standards.
If you agree with our petition below, you need to go to the SUBMIT FEEDBACK section of the COMMON CORE STANDARDS documents (online) at http://www.corestandards.org/Standards/K12/ this week.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Specifically, the federal government should:
- Revise the "Highly Qualified Teacher" definition within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to require that teachers must establish not only their content expertise, but their ability to teach it effectively, as measured by their actual performance in classrooms, following extended clinical experience;
- Invest in the development of a National Teacher Performance Assessment that would parallel the development and adoption of Common Core Standards;
- Maintain the Teacher Quality Partnership Grants, with a specific clinical preparation focus, in the Higher Education Opportunity Act while increasing funding for the program;
Specifically, state governments should:
- Require a minimum of 450 hours, or one semester, of clinical experience during pre-service teacher preparation;
- Ensure that all teacher preparation routes, regardless of pathway, include the same clinical preparation requirements;
- Require a high-quality teacher performance assessment of all teacher candidates;
- Collaborate to agree upon common clinical experience requirements;
- Offer incentives to schools that act as clinical settings for teacher candidates; and
- Support the expansion or replication of successful teacher residency programs.
Providers of teacher preparation should:
- Ensure school districts and universities work jointly to design and supervise strong clinical practice collaborations;
- Provide all teacher candidates substantial and appropriate clinical preparation prior to becoming "teacher of record" in their own classrooms;
- Train clinical teachers and other teacher mentors to help and support novice teachers;
- Require all clinical teachers to have at least three years of teaching experience; and
- Assist our nation's public schools and teacher preparation programs to jointly adopt standards for newly redesigned clinically based teacher preparation programs.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Most of you have heard by now that the Common Core Standards project has released a draft for public comment. The window for public comments is open only until April 2. You can find the three responses to previous drafts from review panels appointed by NCTE here. In my opinion the April 2 deadline will make it difficult for many teachers and teacher educators to respond. If you do have time to read the standards, please feel free to share your thoughts. Are there particular parts that comments should be directed towards?
You may not have heard that NCATE head Jim Cibulka has made a statement "applauding" the Core Standards. Here's the key piece:
NCATE will ensure that educator preparation standards and assessments reflect the knowledge and skills educators need to help P-12 students meet the new common core standards. NCATE will examine the new standards through the lens of expectations for teachers’ content mastery, pedagogical content skills, ability to affect student learning, clinical preparation, professional development and other dimensions of teaching effectiveness, both for novice and experienced teachers, and related skills for other professional P-12 personnel.This seems to be suggesting an accreditation process that's closely tied to national K-12 content standards. Thoughts? (Thanks to Lil Brannon for the heads-up about the NCATE stance.)