Last week, Eduflack opined over at Education Week on the need to differentiate between incentivizing good teachers and incentivizing good teaching. Essentially, we need to make sure that any incentives are not just given as a thank you to teachers, but are used to identify, catalog, and share the best practices that have made their teaching so effective. The full piece can be found here.
A couple of times a year, I ask for Eduflack readers to provide me a personal indulgence as I report on the progress two of the greatest joys in my life — my son and daughter. Many of you have read multiple reports on Miggy, my three and a half year-old son, but we’ve heard less about my two-year-old daughter Anna.
With all of the talk about RttT, school turnarounds, and the like, we haven’t spent much time at all talking about core instructional issues. As many schools continue to struggle reaching AYP and demonstrating the sort of student achievement we all expect (and that the federal law still demands), we just haven’t been focusing on the curricular foundations that help us get to our intended destination. This is particularly true of reading instruction, which has been a red-headed stepchild in federal education policy for the past few years (ever since Congress defunded the Reading First program short of its intended completion date).
a) providing high-quality professional development for instructional staff that is job-embedded, ongoing, and research-based, providing teachers with expertise in literacy instruction appropriate to specific grade levels, analyzing data to improve student learning, and effective implementation of literacy instruction strategies;
b) providing students with explicit, systematic, and developmentally appropriate instruction in reading and writing, including but not limited to vocabulary development, phonemic awareness,
reading comprehension, and the use of diverse texts;
c) utilizing diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments to inform and improve instruction and student learning at all age levels; and
d) supporting schoolwide literacy programs and additional literacy supports to address the specific learning needs of struggling readers and writers, including English language learners and students with disabilities.”
Over at Education Week this week, dear ole Eduflack has a commentary on current teacher quality efforts, asking the question if teacher quality (as primarily reflected in teacher incentive efforts) or teaching quality (such as the current push for improving teacher education) is the strongest path toward real, lasting school improvement.
Undoubtedly, much of the next few days will be spent dissecting yesterday’s off-year elections and their greater meaning for healthcare reform, the 2010 congressional races, and the 2012 presidential campaigns. What does it mean for Republicans to take back the Virginia governor’s seat? How painful will the Democrats’ gubernatorial loss in New Jersey be? Why was the NYC mayor’s race closer than most expected? These are all questions that will (and already have) been raised in the past 12 hours.
When I’m flipping through the cable stations late at night, unable to sleep because something or another has my mind going a thousand miles an hour, there are a number of movies for which I will always stop and watch. Braveheart, Thank You For Smoking, the original All the King’s Men, Bull Durham, Tin Cup, Roadhouse, 10 Things I Hate About You, and She’s All That tops among them.
Can you legislate graduation rates? Today, the Washington Post editorial board called on the state of Maryland to raise the compulsory age for school attendance, essentially using state law to require students to stay in Maryland high schools until the age of 18 (it is 16 now). The move, following on the heels of a similar policy adopted by the Montgomery County Board of Education is in direct response to the latest data showing a growing dropout rate in Maryland. The full editorial can be found here.
It’s been used by education reformers and praised by the folks like Newt Gingrich. Business leaders point to it as a sign of the looming “crisis” our education system may be facing. It’s been screened at policy events and cited in opinion pieces. The “it,” of course, is the movie 2 Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution. Produced by Robert A. Compton, the film is demonstrates how the United States is failing to keep up with the world (notable India and China) when it comes to education.
At the heart of EdSec Arne Duncan’s remarks at Teachers College last week has his new never-ending pursuit of the illusive “teacher quality.” Clearly, the search means more than the “highly qualified teacher” definition currently found in NCLB. More than the qualities that currently win one additional monies through the federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF). And even more than the plans floated more than two years ago by Sen. Joe Lieberman et al to redefine HQT as “highly qualified and effective teacher.”