Saying ‘YES’ to Teaching

Relative to other college graduates, teachers prefer to work close to their hometowns. One study found that teachers typically work about 13 miles away from where they attended high school as opposed to college graduates in other fields, who move about 54 miles away from where they grew up. These geographical preferences can create problems …

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Are Teacher Residency Programs an Effective Approach to Improving the Teaching Workforce?

Most teachers are trained through traditional teacher preparation programs in colleges and universities, which typically include a heavy emphasis on coursework and a semester (or less) of student teaching. In 2015, 87% of students training to become teachers were enrolled in traditional programs, while the remaining 13% were enrolled in other alternative certification routes. Some …

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Bringing Paraprofessionals to the Front of the Classroom

In recent years, the responsibilities of paraprofessionals have expanded beyond basic tasks like monitoring school cafeterias. Paraprofessionals, also referred to as teacher’s aides, classroom assistants, and more colloquially as parapros or paras, have become an indispensible resource in our schools. While these individuals once only performed basic duties like lunchroom monitoring and copying papers for …

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Preparing Teachers for Middle School

Teachers must be prepared for the additional challenges of middle school. Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks. Middle school is a challenging time for young people. Adolescents straddle the line between childhood and adulthood, struggling to assert their independence and form their identities while also still relying on parents and other adults. The brains of middle school …

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Are Teacher Preparation Programs the Smartest Investment We Can Make?

Elementary teacher preparation programs have made recent gains in reading instruction but still struggle with math and classroom management. Photo courtesy of Ilmicrofono Oggiono. Undergraduate elementary teacher programs have made progress recently, but still have room for improvement according to a recent report released by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). NCTQ examined 875 …

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New Teacher Preparation Regulations Announced, Implications for Michigan

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new regulations that will require teacher preparation programs to be more transparent about their effectiveness across a number of measures. According to the ED, these regulations seek to improve outcomes for teacher preparation programs while still affording states the flexibility to determine specifically how performance is …

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#proudMIeducator: Why a Hashtag Isn’t Enough to Save the Teaching Profession

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently launched a media campaign designed to recognize the work of educators across the state. Referred to as Proud Michigan Educator, this campaign was developed to combat the negative rhetoric surrounding the teaching profession which often blames teachers for the failings of public education and contributes to low teacher …

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Tackling the Issue of Low Teacher Morale in Michigan and Beyond

Last month, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Michigan Education Association (MEA) released survey results from a joint project assessing Michigan educators’ perceptions of the profession. In a presentation titled Dissed, Devalued, Demeaned, the two organizations painted a grim picture of teacher morale in Michigan. Nearly 11,000 educators participated in the survey last …

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Do Non-Traditional Incentive Structures Hold the Key to Increasing Student Achievement?

In recent years, a number of attempts have been made to understand how financial incentives can be used to improve student achievement. Researchers have studied the effects of school wide bonuses, small group incentives, and individual teacher rewards on student achievement, but to date, the research is inconclusive. Loss Aversion May Motivate Teachers to Produce …

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Grand Pianos, Subway Sandwiches, and Bounce Houses: Are Public Schools Spending Tax Dollars Efficiently?

Photo Courtesy of Images Money Public schools are often accused of wasteful spending. With the abundance of negative media coverage on this issue, it’s no surprise that these accusations are rampant. Last year, for example, a Kansas City high school was in the spotlight for its purchase of a $47,000 grand piano. Chicago Public Schools …

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State Superintendent Reports on Michigan’s Failing Schools, Education Committee Members Point Fingers at Teachers

On February 16, Michigan’s Senate Education Committee met to hear a presentation delivered by State Superintendent Brian J. Whiston. The presentation focused on Michigan’s failing schools and the Michigan Department of Education’s (MDE) plans for improving them. Whiston and his colleagues highlighted schools that have moved from priority to reward status and shared turnaround strategies …

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Meet Detroit’s Purse-String Holders

Last week, the Governance and Finance Blog examined the powerful influence that private actors are having on the education reform landscape. This week, we take a closer look at how this phenomenon is playing out in Detroit. Photo Courtesy of Gehad Hadidi For a cash-strapped district with abysmal facilities and rampant teacher sickouts, every dollar counts …

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Who’s Really In Charge? A Look at the Rising Influence of “Boardroom Progressives”

These days, schools are facing demands from an increasing number of governing bodies. In addition to the usual policies and laws imposed on schools by local, state, and federal government, Boardroom Progressives are playing an increasing role in influencing how students are educated. Dr. Sarah Reckhow has coined the term “Boardroom Progressives” to describe private …

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Revisiting Michigan Charter School Authorizers: An In-Depth Look at Central Michigan University

Earlier this year, Michigan’s application for the Charter Schools Program State Educational Agencies (SEA) Grant was rejected. In a previous piece, the Governance & Finance Blog explored the low ratings Michigan received on their application, particularly in the area of Authorizer Accountability. To gain a better understanding of the work that Michigan charter school authorizers …

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A Disconnect Between Support and Service: Low Voter Turnout and Participation in School Board Elections

Another Election Day has recently passed and an online search for “uncontested school board elections” yields an abundance of recent news stories where only incumbents were vying for open school board seats or in some cases, no one was running.  Uncontested Candidates and Empty School Board Seats This year in New Jersey, there were a …

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Adequacy Study Begins in Michigan

Augenblick, Palaich and Associates (APA) were recently hired by the State of Michigan to complete an adequacy study of the state’s current school funding system. October 1 marked the beginning of a contract between APA and the state. In accordance with Section 380.1281a of Michigan’s Revised School Code, APA will be conducting a study to …

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