We heard through the grapevine that the The??National Council on Teacher Quality,??a national research and advocacy organization based in??Washington,??D.C., is hiring! They're on the prowl for a??project manager and multiple research analysts to work on teacher preparartion studies.
For the project manager position, they're seeking someone with at least five years of professional experience who demonstrates extraordinary organizational skills and is able to manage the processing, analyzing and storage of large amounts of research data. This person will oversee a staff of three people to start (a number which may expand considerably with time). He or she must be able to work at a fast pace and take deadlines very seriously.??No previous experience in the fields of education or education reform is required.
For the research analyst positions, they are hunting for candidates with strong academic records from college/grad school. ??Applicants must be computer-savvy, in terms of both websites and Excel. They need to have the will to go to any length to find an answer to a question; demonstrate superior quantitative and analytical skills; show excessive attention to detail; have an obsession with accuracy; and able to work fast--superfast.
Though this WaPo headline says that the "GOP [is] Leaving ???No Child' Behind," the rise of Representative John P. Kline to ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee might be more nuanced. The sense is that Kline is a federalist, emphasizing "maximum latitude" to states on education. He says he doesn't just want to "tweak" the law, but to take a look at the whole thing. But his reported reaction to a conversation with Secretary Duncan makes it sound like Kline isn't so federalist after all.
"He feels the same sense of urgency I do, that we need to get dramatically better," Duncan said later. Duncan said he told Kline that he wants to push for higher academic standards but giving schools more flexibility to achieve them--"be much looser at the local level, let folks innovate." Duncan said that message "seemed to resonate with him."
Whether those "higher academic standards" occur at the national level in Kline's vision for NCLB is unclear but that it sounds like Kline wants to flip the law on his head--set standards at the top but let states figure out how to meet them--is more "reform realist" than states' rights. Kline...
"I have been a principal for 11 years and I've never had the ability to pick my own candidates. There's nothing more exciting than seeing the lines of teachers waiting to be interviewed." --Michael Lazzareschi, head of the new Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence, RI
6 of 114 : The number of Boston elementary and middle schools that meet national physical education standards--125 and 225 minutes per week for elementary school and middle school students, respectively. About 25 percent of the city's students received no formal P.E. instruction last year.
It looks like some states are moving in the right direction on reform in order to access Race to the Top funds. But we have to remember that these reforms, though important, aren't free; they cost $100 billion. So the question is: Are we getting enough in return for this investment?
I take a look at that question here, ultimately wondering whether each new charter school should cost four and a half times as much as each new F-22.
Enjoy the first video in our summer "Fun Fact Friday!" series. Each week we'll present an interesting education fact in a fun visual format. This one takes on the myth that class size is inversely related to student achievement.
Overheard in DC is a feature of DCist.com, a blog about all things happening in our nation's capital. Each week, readers email in snippets of funny conversations they "overheard in DC" and every Friday, DCist picks a few they think take the cake. Take a look at one of this week's winning entries:
Outside the Air and Space Museum:
Kid: "What's the Department of Education?"
Dad: "That's where the Principal of the United States lives."
Arne Duncan, Principal of the United States... has a nice ring to it, no?
A plan unveiled today in Australia tackles a popular suggestion that's been thrown around in the US: putting "super teachers" (as the Aussies call them) in the worst schools, and compensating them with higher pay, a smaller class load, and the opportunity to mentor other teachers. This attempt to address the issue of teacher quality, long realized to be the number one determinant of student success, with realistic organizational reforms, sounds reasonable. It takes on numerous problems at once: staffing hard to staff schools, staffing hard to staff schools with good teachers, who typically escape to greener suburban pastures as soon as possible, shifting the compensation scale to reward excellence, and providing career advancement without moving quality educators from classrooms to administrative roles.
The one thing missing, at least from what I can find out, is how these "Highly Accomplished Teachers" will be determined and chosen. As we've seen with American forays into determining teacher excellence with government metrics (i.e., the Highly Qualified Teacher provisions of NCLB), it's difficult to measure something so amorphous as teacher quality with the tools available to a huge sprawling bureaucracy. Piloting of the measure will begin this fall....