Dara Zeehandelaar, author of The Big Squeeze: Retirement Costs and School District Budgets, explains teachers pensions and the difference between defined benefits and defined contribution plans that states offer teachers.
Growing numbers of parents, educators, and school administrators are calling for a local "opt-out" from state tests and accountability systems.
Is this opt-out a cop-out? Or would students benefit from a system that their own teachers and principals devised? Should all schools be offered an opt-out alternative, one in which they propose to be held accountable to a different set of measures? What about opt-outs for high-achieving schools or schools with good reason to be different? Would such a system move us toward or away from the goals of the Common Core? As for charter schools, must they continue to be tethered to uniform statewide accountability systems? Or should we rekindle the concept of customizing each school's charter and performance expectations?