Feds and States and Widgets—Oh My!

The Feds For nearly seven years the Obama Department of Education (USDOE), through its Race to the Top (RttT) program and its issuance of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers, pushed states to establish “rigorous” teacher evaluation systems that incorporated student achievement evidence, the results of which would then be used in personnel decisions. The …

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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 Federal Teacher Preparation Regulations – Implications for Michigan State University’s Teacher Preparation Program

In October, the federal government released new regulations for teacher preparation programs. As described in an earlier blog post, these regulations will require teacher preparation programs to be evaluated in new ways, primarily based on the placement and effectiveness of program graduates in their first teaching jobs. However, much is still unknown about how the …

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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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The Role of Courts in Shaping Educational Policy

Last week a California appeals court reversed the initial ruling in the prominent Vergara v. California case, finding teacher job protection laws do not violate California’s equal protection clause. The three appeals judges unanimously agreed that while certain statutes such as teacher tenure and district dismissal policies may protect ineffective teachers, the plaintiffs failed to show …

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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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Researchers Revisit TNTP’s “Widget Effect”, Teacher Evaluations

Researchers Matthew A. Kraft and Allison F. Gilmour recently released a working paper which examined if new teacher evaluation systems have made any progress differentiating amongst teacher quality. In short, they find many states now do a better job distinguishing great teachers from good teachers, but states continue to struggle between differentiating good, average, and …

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Should Teacher Union Fees be Mandatory?

  Photo Courtesy of David Last week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA). The case is examining whether public employee unions are authorized to collect fees from non-members for collective bargaining purposes. The case is contesting a 1977 Supreme Court ruling that legislated public employees can …

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Engaging in Educational Policy Issues

Last week, the College of Education launched its new educational policy blog, Green & Write.  The blog, coordinated by faculty member and educational policy expert Rebecca Jacobsen, focuses on four main topics: Teacher quality; Common Core and curriculum standards; Student accountability and assessment; and Governance and finance issues. The purpose of the blog is articulated …

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