Would you encourage your child to become a teacher?

A few years ago I gave a speech to a group of top graduates from a local high school.  In my remarks, I encouraged the students to teach.  I told them teaching was a great opportunity to make a difference and that there was a growing need for bright minds in education.  Those two things are […]

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The answer is: Pay teachers more. A lot more!

Today in The Week, Bill Frist poses this question:  How can the U.S. find and train more great teachers? Although he didn’t ask me, my answer is above.  Pay teachers more.  A lot more.  If we make the teaching profession a place where people can make a respectable living, we’ll attract and keep more teachers. This […]

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What’s Your Performance Management Plan?

I noticed today that Louisiana passed a package of so-called education reforms that include teacher evaluations made up of 50% value-added data.  This in spite of research suggesting serious flaws in the use of value-added models as an evaluation tool.  Tennessee is now in the midst of its first year with a similar evaluation model.  […]

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Collective Bargaining is Good for Kids

This interview with Steve Barr (of GreenDot Charter fame) highlights the importance of collective bargaining. Or, rather, the fact that collective bargaining isn’t bad for schools or taxpayers.  In fact, it’s quite good, Barr argues. He really says, look, collective bargaining and tenure don’t have all these supposed negative impacts.  He says the point he […]

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Regarding Teacher Pay

This post by Justin Baeder (a Seattle-area principal) discusses the issue of “un-flattening” teacher pay. Mr. Baeder asks his readers to offer their thoughts. Here are mine: 1) It is insulting for any teacher who has been working 20 years in the profession to be making $47,000 (And I live in Tennessee, not Seattle). 2) […]

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About that Parent Trigger

I keep hearing a lot about the “Parent Trigger” — the way to “fix” broken schools, it’s called. More on that later…but for now, an interesting read on the topic from Rachel Anne Levy

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Strategic Compensation Requires Collaboration

Emily Douglas writes about the importance of motivation in helping develop a strategic compensation approach.  She specifically notes that collaboration is critical in order for such a system to be successful.  She also wisely adds that strategic compensation alone is not a “magic bullet” for education. I tend to agree with Emily.  Here’s why. My […]

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About Those Value-Added Models

Via KnoxViews, a Princeton professor offers this analysis of Value-Added Modeling (VAM) — which is being used in many areas to evaluate teachers.  Some are even proposing using VAM to determine merit-pay schemes and/or to decide which teachers to fire. In fact, in Tennessee, teachers are now rated on a 1-5 scale based in large part […]

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Teacher Impact on Student Earnings

So, I’m aware that this study received attention in early January. And it was even mentioned in President Obama’s State of the Union. But, it keeps getting cited as further evidence that we need to fire more teachers to improve student achievement. Here’s the finding that gets all the attention: A top 5 percent teacher […]

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The Teacher Quality Talk

In this article, President and CEO of SCORE (Tennessee’s Statewide Collaborative on Reforming Education) Jamie Woodson says, “The number one factor of a student’s success is effective teaching in the classroom.” This is the claim made by lots of education reformers these days. The same reformers go on to tell us we need to better […]

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