Contrary to claims that recent teacher evaluation reforms are leading to strict, one-size-fits-all policies, state-level data actually suggests local districts are implementing state-based teacher evaluation reforms inconsistently. Using data from Colorado and Florida, Bellwether's Carolyn Chuong shares findings.
Despite the development of new teacher evaluation systems in recent years, teacher evaluation ratings are still too often divorced from what happens to students and how much they learn. Bellwether's Chad Aldeman discusses how districts rarely make consequential decisions about teachers based on their on-the-job performance.
Over the last four years, states implemented remarkable changes to their teacher evaluation systems. Rather than rating all educators as either “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory,” school districts use new multi-tiered evaluation systems to identify their best (and weakest) teachers. States now require districts to incorporate measurements of student academic growth and rubrics from higher-quality classroom observations into their ratings of teachers and principals. And teachers and principals are starting to receive financial incentives or face potential consequences based on these evaluation results.
But after the initial rush of reforms, progress stalled. The rollout of new evaluation policies slowed down as districts faced implementation challenges and increasing public backlash against teacher evaluation reforms.
As our nation’s largest preschool program—and the only one exclusively focused on the poorest children—Head Start plays a critical role in our nation’s early earning and development system, and it will continue to do so. As policymakers seek to extend the benefits of quality preschool to more children, improving Head Start must be part of these efforts.
Change and disruption is taking place within schools as students and teachers explore the intersection between instruction and technology. But products and tools are just one piece of the puzzle. A new report by Bellwether Education looks at how state and local policies play a critical role in either inhibiting or supporting new forms of personalized learning. Bellwether’s Carolyn Chuong shares a preview of the report (and an accompanying infographic).
A new generation of education technology is gaining traction in America’s schools. Yet the most highly touted uses of education technology barely scratch the surface of its potential impact on education. Bellwether Education Partners’ Policy Playbook for Personalized Learning is designed to help state and local policymakers identify the policy changes needed to expand access to quality personalized learning in their states and communities, and to give them the tools to make those changes.
The implication of the experience in Washington State is that teacher pension systems can be reformed in a way that is attractive to both teachers and states and ensures that significant resources are being set aside for teacher retirements.
The Detroit News - Exactly 50 years ago this month, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered the commencement address at the University of Michigan, and for the first time he explained his vision for “The Great Society.” It focused largely on America’s cities and its schools.
There is a growing belief that students can provide valuable feedback on a teacher’s performance in the classroom. Student perception surveys are increasingly seen as a low-cost and reliable tool for gathering data and feedback on the quality of teaching in individual classrooms. However, incorporating student surveys into formal, high-stakes teacher evaluation and development systems has its challenges. In this paper, Jeff Schulz, Gunjan Sud, and Becky Crowe highlight the experience of states, districts, charter management organizations, and teacher preparation programs that are “early adopters” of student perception surveys.
The Washington Post - Many state teacher pension plans and retirement systems are unsustainable. Yet trying to fix the funding gap by throwing up obstacles and making the plans stingier ignores the main purpose of retirement plans in the first place: to offer all workers a path to an attractive and secure retirement.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a new form of digital learning that has enthralled some, infuriated others, and changed the conversation about higher education in the U.S. and abroad. Lost in this polarizing debate is a clear assessment of how this new medium is actually affecting postsecondary education and how it could be used in the future.