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Court Rules Against Flawed VAM Model

A Texas court has ruled against the use of value-added modeling in teacher evaluation saying the system used violates due process. Texas now joins New York as states where courts have found value-added systems used for teacher evaluation simply don’t stand up to scrutiny. Here’s more on the Texas case: Judge Stephen Smith of the […]

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Does Class Size Matter?

Yes! This may (should) seem obvious. A teacher can give each student more attention in a smaller class. But, education reformers often suggest that all that’s needed to “improve” schools is a few great teachers. Let those “great ones” teach MORE kids and see test scores soar. Wrong. I have a child in elementary school. […]

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Thoughts on Cabinet Members

A series of statements on Cabinet members confirmed and supported by Tennessee’s U.S. Senators from Tennessee Citizen Action: On Steve Mnuchin: Now, the duo has voted to confirm the “Foreclosure King” as Secretary of the Treasury. Mnuchin is the consummate swamp dweller, working at Goldman Sachs and running a mortgage business that made millions foreclosing […]

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The Economic Impact of Investing in Schools

Does improving schools have a long-term economic impact? That’s the question a group of researchers recently set out to answer. The short answer: Yes. The longer answer: School quality impacts state GDP. That is, there’s a clear correlation between school quality and a state’s economic success — states with higher-performing schools have better GDP’s. Here’s […]

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Why Do Veteran Teachers Lose?

Yesterday, I posted about how North Carolina is planning to leave veteran teachers behind when it comes to a new set of pay raises. I also wrote about how Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) is planning a new pay scale. Here’s what’s interesting: Both efforts at raising teacher pay leave veteran teachers behind. While the NC […]

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Experienced Teachers Left Behind in NC Pay Raise

Education Week reports that while North Carolina is making a move to raise teacher pay, the most experienced teachers there are being left behind: Lawmakers say teachers would see, on average, 4.7 percent pay bumps, as a result of the new budget bill. Officials estimate that the move would bring the state’s average teachers’ salary […]

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Toward Alternative Accountability Models for Schools

From the Lowell Sun: A consortium of public-school districts across the state, including Lowell, are teaming up to create an alternative accountability system that grades public schools beyond the basis of test scores. The Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment includes nine districts that will help develop a different kind of assessment — one that […]

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Beyond Test-Based Accountability

Helen Ladd offers a proposal for moving beyond test-based accountability for schools and it is one that holds promise for providing a more comprehensive evaluation of schools. Ladd notes of the recently replaced NCLB: Finally, test-based accountability has had limited success even in raising student test scores. One careful study of NCLB finds small to […]

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In Defense of Public Education

Kansas State Representative Don Hineman offers his views on the latest attack on public education in that state. He’s standing strong against a voucher/subsidy program that would siphon up to $300 million a year from Kansas public schools. He writes:   Now a much greater threat to public education has been proposed as part of […]

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Of Puzzles and Fuzzy Math

Last week in Tennessee education saw TC Weber calling on the Department of Education to trade-in its testing strategy for a new, more effective model. Then, Amy Frogge offered some insightful commentary on the high cost of school board races, even in Nashville. Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen announced she’s going on a summer tour. […]

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