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Study panel says no difference in teacher programs

As many of our readers would know, in recent years Teacher Colleges and Colleges of Education have come under fire for their teacher preparation programs, spawning various alternative routes to teacher certification.

Recently, a panel of experts released a report after a 6 year study indicating that they can find no real differences in teacher quality in either approach.

Story here.

I personally think this will give more credibility to alternative certification efforts around the country.  If traditional programs are not superior - then why not continue to expand the alternatives?

cross posted at “What’s Working in Schools.”

Posted in Higher Education, Politics.

Tagged with , , .

How to identify barriers to change

Dr. Scott McLeod at Iowa State has an excellent  leadership/technology blog called “Dangerously Irrelevant.”  He  recently shared this group activity that I think is a great way of identifying barriers and solutions to new program implementation.

Check it out right here.

Posted in administration.

Tagged with , .

CA looks to give administrators more authority in teacher discipline

Following the controversy  in FLA, now CA is looking at ways to give school administrators more flexibility in teacher discipline and dismissal issues.

It seems as budgets get tight and schools have to cut back, who stays and who goes become more and more of an issue. 

Tenure is more and more of a hot topic these days. 

On the other hand - I have seen far too many school administrators hide behind tenure and tell patrons they can’t do anything about poor teachers because they are “tenured.”   If this is true (and usually it is not) - it is because the board and administration bargained away their own management rights in collective bargaining agreements.

Posted in administration.

Tagged with , .

Principal’s Page talks about learning new things

I haven’t mentioned Michael in a while.  Probably because my blogging life has lagged over the last several months for a variety of reasons.

But Michael Smith (a superintendent in the midwest) has his own blog called The Principal’s Page.  Michael has a great sense of humor and knows how to stay humble amidst all the trials in leadership positions.

Check his latest post out!

Posted in Uncategorized.

Tagged with .

NY shuts down “rubber rooms”

Talk about a bizarre personnel strategy.  Schools in New York City have just closed 8 centers that were designed to house teachers who were under disciplinary proceedings.  The so called “rubber rooms” have come under public fire since it was publicized that teachers would report to these centers and do nothing while they continued to draw their pay while awaiting disciplinary proceedings.

The mayor finally closed them down after negotiating some kind of settlement with the teachers union.

Article here.

Posted in Announcements.

Tagged with , .

From a laid off teacher

Here is a review of a post from a laid off teacher.  You might enjoy a handful of the comments that go with it.

The teacher who was RIFed talked about the problems with a seniority based lay off system.  Others talk about the fairness of deciding who the most “effective” teachers are and others pointed out the dangers of using test score data to make these decisions.

There are some valid points on all sides here.  It’s like a lot of issues in life….”It depends….”

Posted in Politics, Teacher Unions, administration, students.

FLA considers making it easier to fire teachers based on test scores

The Florida Governor says he has never had an issue with so much political pressure.  A bill has gone through the legislature that would supposedly make it easier to fire teachers based on student test scores.

Article here.

Evidently all Democrats opposed it   (I suppose due to a tight relationship with the Teacher’s Unions in Florida) and a handful of Republicans.

The problem with these issues is that nothing is this simple.  The ugly truth is that most districts have a rigorous enough evaluation system now to eliminate poor teachers.  It takes building administrators with principles, perseverance and courage to do their job and central administrators and board members with the courage to back them up.  Unfortunately, in most school systems there is not enough consistency in how building administrators evaluate their teachers for teachers to have confidence in being treated fairly. When legislation like this is brought up their fear levels rise.

This is my observation after working with and teaching hundreds of building administrators.  In many cases this is not completely the building administrators fault.  After all, it is the responsibility of central administration to make sure that building administrators are implementing the evaluation systems with some degree of consistency.  Just like a principal would create a grade distribution chart to see how much consistency staff members have in grading students - central administration should conduct annual evaluation distributions to see how much variation their is in how administrators are evaluating their teachers.  Teachers deserve some element of consistency in this respect especially when the stakes for everyone are growing higher and higher.

Just my .02.

Posted in Assessment and Accountability, Teacher Unions, students, teachers.

Tagged with , .

Jaime Escalante Passes Away

Educators will remember the story of Jaime Escalante, the legendary teacher who taught high level Mathematics to youngsters in poverty to such a high level he was accused of cheating!

Story Here.

Posted in Announcements.

Tagged with .

Teacher accused of biting off an ear in altercation

Here is a crazy one.  A teacher in a MN school district is accused of biting someone’s ear during an altercation over a weekend.

I wonder if this would have been a story if it had not been a teacher?

Here is a link to a blog on the topic.  If you read the comments it is a great case study for leadership and communication issues.

As you read through the 75 or so comments on the story, you will see two themes emerge.  Some people defend the school district’s traditional response to the story and you will see others criticize them for not getting word out quickly on the story.

I added my comments on the blog

Posted in administration.

Tagged with , , , .

Feds add new data collection requirements

Under new federal guidelines schools will be required to collect more data on students for civil rights auditing purposes.  New categories will include, race, gender, ESL, and other data on students taking AP classes, students being secluded etc.

Article here.

Posted in Education, Politics.

Tagged with .