Teachers

Liam's post yesterday about Malcolm Gladwell's critique of U.S. News & World Report's college rankings ? ?one wonders,? wondered Liam, ?why the same education-policy types [who don't like the college rankings] can be so obtuse when it comes to identifying the just-as-glaring weaknesses in other sorts of education-related rankings and comparisons? ? was propitious.???

According to Trip Gabriel* ?in today's New York Times, the one-time third leg of the weekly news magazine industry (after Time and Newsweek) plans to take on schools of education ? with underwriting support from the likes of the Carnegie Corporation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.?

Already under fire from just about every quarter, the nation's teacher training schools are not happy about U.S. News piling on.

Sharon Robinson, president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, told the Times that ?We have serious skepticism that their methodology will produce enough evidence to support the inferences they will make? and advised her Association's 800 member schools not to cooperate.?

Kate Walsh, head of the National Council on Teacher Quality, on whose board Checker Finn sits, calls the methodology complaint a red-herring. ?What they want us to do is hold off until a perfect assessment is in place,? she tells the Times.

The accountability movement marches on. And I hope kids are paying attention to the grading protests from their teachers' teachers.?

?--Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow

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*Not Sam...

Nobody deserves tenure, with the possible exception of federal judges. University professors don't deserve tenure; civil servants don't deserve tenure; police and firefighters don't deserve tenure; school teachers don't deserve tenure. With the solitary exception noted above?and you might be able to talk me out of that one, too?nobody has a right to lifetime employment unrelated either to their on-the-job performance or to their employer's continuing need for the skills and attributes of that particular person.

Tenure didn't come down from Mt. Sinai or over on the Mayflower. Though people occasionally refer to its origins in medieval universities, on these shores, at least, it's a twentieth-century creation. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) began pushing for it around 1915, but tenuring professors didn't become the norm on U.S. campuses until after World War II (when the presumption of a 7-year decision timeframe also gained traction) and it wasn't truly formalized until the 1970's when a couple of Supreme Court decisions made formalization unavoidable.[pullquote]Tenure didn't come down from Mt. Sinai or over on the Mayflower.[/pullquote]

In some states, public-school teachers began to gain forms of job protection that resembled tenure as early as the 1920s, but these largely went into abeyance during the Great Depression and were not formally reinstated until states?pressed hard by teacher unions?enacted ?tenure laws? between World War II and about 1980.

The original rationale for tenure at the university-level, articulately set forth by the AAUP, was to safeguard academic freedom by ensuring that...

Liam Julian

Man the battle stations. The Miami Herald reports that ?the chairman of the [state] Senate's education policy committee filed a measure this week that would partially base teacher salary increases on student test scores.? The bill would not effect current teacher pay plans but would create merit-based contracts for educators hired after 2014, who ?would only see raises if they are deemed highly effective or effective? (deemed thus, that is, by a not-yet-created system of evaluation). The Herald notes that ?how the bill will be received by teachers, particularly the teachers' union, is yet to be seen.? But one can guess.

?Liam Julian, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow

Now it's an AP report, via the Wall Street Journal, telling us that Mayor Bloomberg will have to lay off lots of teachers ?unless teacher seniority rules are changed.?

According to the AP, which said it heard the Mayor say this at a meeting at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn,? ?the city could have to lay off nearly every teacher hired in the last five years? because of the proposed ?deep cuts? in state aid to education by the new governor.

In fact, it makes sense, as Bloomberg obviously knows. The more senior teachers cost more than new hires, so any seniority-based layoffs means eliminating the lower-paid teachers first, thus cutting more teachers, increasing class size. ?Bloomberg is pushing the obvious: ?the system can keep more teachers in these hard times if doesn't have to keep the most expensive ones.

Let the negotiations begin.

?Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow

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*See here

Reuters is reporting that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to lay off 15,000 teachers in New York City in anticipation of State deficit crunches.

Fifteen thousand teachers!? That is probably more teachers than employed in some of our states.

Granted, this is?only two twenty percent* of the 75,000 teacher workforce in Gotham's one-million student system, but the raw numbers are awe-inspiring. Fifteen thousand teachers laid off!? That's a whole city's worth of unemployed teachers.? I can see the tents now. ?Teachervilles?

The number came from a local?radio interview the Mayor gave.

The scuttlebutt is ? I don't know if it's true or not ? is that the education budget will be cut statewide and New York City's share of that would be a $1 billion cut.

One billion dollars. That's another awe-inspiring number. ?More than some country's GDP, I'm sure.

Much of this, of course, is posturing, with the Mayor painting as unrosy a picture as possible in order to win sympathy for schools in advance of the state's budget negotiations.

Okay, go for it Mayor Mike.? But still, 15,000 teachers? ?Does 10,000 sound better?? Five?

Is the Coney Island rollercoaster still working?

?Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow

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*Thanks to an astute reader, I have corrected my decimal point error!...

Fordham gives its advice to Governor-elect Kasich and the incoming leaders of the Ohio House and Senate as it relates to the future of K-12 education policy in the Buckeye State. To move Ohio forward in education, while spending less, we outline seven policy recommendations. 1) Strengthen results-based accountability for schools and those who work in them. 2) Replace the so-called “Evidence-Based Model” of school funding with a rational allocation of available resources in ways that empower families, schools, and districts to get the most bang for these bucks. 3) Invest in high-yield programs and activities while pursuing smart savings. 4) Improve teacher quality, reform teacher compensation, and reduce barriers to entering the profession. 5) Expand access to quality schools of choice of every kind. 6) Turn around or close persistently low-performing schools. 7) Develop modern, versatile instructional-delivery systems that both improve and go beyond traditional schools.

In this volume, a diverse group of experts—scholars, educators, journalists, and entrepreneurs—offer wisdom and advice on how schools and districts can cut costs, eliminate inefficient spending, and better manage their funds in order to free up resources to drive school reform.

Edited by Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, and Eric Osberg of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Stretching the School Dollar (Harvard Education Press, 2010) proposes immediate, short-term cost cutting solutions as well as long-term, structural changes that will improve the efficiency of the entire system. The book serves as a valuable guide in an era where every dollar matters.

Buy the book from Harvard Education Press

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