Archive for the 'education schools' Category

21st 2014
Teacher Training, Licensure, Evaluation, Pay: Fix ‘Em All (and Do It Right)

Posted under education schools & Federal Government & Innovation and Reform & learning & Research & School Accountability & School Board & State Legislature & Teachers

It’s been more than a week now since I thankfully resisted the urge to “blow up” education schools. In the meantime, my remarks about teacher preparation have been vindicated — both the tone of urgency and the “moderate” but serious approach to addressing the issue.

Let’s start with the urgency. The National Council on Teacher Quality followed up its powerful indictment of the state of teacher preparation last week with compelling new evidence concerning the lack of rigor in education schools. How does it help students, particularly the neediest among us, to have most of these schools attract prospective teachers looking for easy As?

Now you may rightly label the headline as a “dog bites man” kind of story, but the findings deserve attention: Continue Reading »

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11th 2014
For More Educational Freedom, I’ll Give Up (Figurative) Ed School Explosions

Posted under education schools & Innovation and Reform & reading & Research & Suburban Schools & Teachers

Explosions are cool effects to watch in the world of make-believe — action movies and video games, though my parents pretty tightly limit my exposure even to those. That may be in part because mom and dad want to send the message that blowing things up in real life is generally a bad idea with lots of potentially bad consequences. Somebody could get hurt.

So it’s probably not surprising that I experienced a curious reaction to Rick Hess’s latest blog piece, titled “A Better Path than ‘Blowing Up’ Schools of Education.” By schools of education, of course we’re talking about the colleges that train K-12 classroom teachers and other educators.

Let me start off by saying that among those who want to see parents more empowered and students have access to more great teachers, education schools remain perhaps the least talked about but widely recognized institution that stands as an obstacle to reform. As Hess acknowledges, sheer numbers dictate their influence: Continue Reading »


30th 2014
Gamblin’ for Children

Posted under Denver & Education Politics & education schools

My father always told me that nothing says “kid-friendly” like a day of gamblin’ at the ol’ horse track.

Coloradans for Better Schools, the backers of Initiative 135, agree. And just this week, it was reported that the initiative has received enough signatures to appear on the ballot in November. Everyone, say hello to Amendment 68 to the Colorado Constitution.

The proposed amendment would allow for a full casino to open at the Arapahoe Park Racetrack. It may also pave the way for limited gambling at racetracks in Mesa and Pueblo Counties in the future. Continue Reading »


15th 2014
Can Someone Help Me Understand this Third Way on Masters Bumps?

Posted under education schools & Innovation and Reform & Research & School Board & State Legislature & Teachers

It’s been awhile, but one of my favorite K-12 topics to share with you is the need to change the practice of automatic pay raises for master’s degrees. As recently as 2011, the high-quality research was unanimous (34-0) on the ineffectiveness of awarding teachers masters degrees. As recently as last month, it remains “one of the most consistent findings in education research.”

That’s why I rejoiced when North Carolina followed the example of a couple forward-thinking Colorado school districts and sent “masters bumps” the way of the dodo bird. The commonsense reform crosses partisan and ideological boundaries.

But, as the Associated Press now reports, the Tar Heel State is taking a second look even as momentum grows in other states: Continue Reading »

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19th 2013
NCTQ’s Report on Teacher Prep Programs Must Do More Than Rattle a Few Cages

Posted under Edublogging & education schools & Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & reading & Research & Teachers

Any large-scale effort at serious reform or innovation in K-12 education eventually leads to the vexing question of what to do about teacher preparation, ensuring there are enough effective instructors available. The consensus is fairly widespread that broadly speaking, today’s schools of education just aren’t getting the job done.

Released this week, the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Prep Review has been a long time in coming. The large-scale analysis of more than 1,100 teacher prep programs, in painting a bleak picture, has stirred up lots of debate and discussion. Here follow some of the highlights: Continue Reading »

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24th 2013
Yes, Colorado Has Lots of Room to Improve How We Prepare Teachers for Job

Posted under education schools & Grades and Standards & PPC & Research & Teachers

It sure seems like Colorado education policies are getting graded quite a bit these days. Last week we earned a B from the Center for Education Reform for the quality of our charter school law, which placed us in the top 10 among states. Two weeks ago Students First looked at a whole range of policies to rank us 9th nationally but give us only a C.

Another group not grading on the curve is the National Council on Teacher Quality — better known as NCTQ. The picture isn’t pretty at all. The release of the 2012 edition of the State Teacher Policy Yearbook focused in on a weak area for Colorado: teacher preparation.

Last year, rating states on a whole gamut of instructional policies — including the identification and retention of effective teachers — Colorado pulled down a modest C. Our state’s worst of the five areas was in how well we provide for preparing teachers to do the job: D-minus.

So I guess we should be mildly upbeat that a year later Colorado now has a D in teacher preparation policies? Not exactly. Some just seem to blame the group giving out the grades: Continue Reading »

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30th 2012
Colorado Has Made Some Progress, But a C for Teacher Policy Isn’t Good Enough

Posted under Denver & education schools & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & PPC & Research & Teachers

Now that School Choice Week is over, and I’m able to relax a bit after my manic phase of hyperactivity, it’s back to the (fun) edublogging grind. Right out of the gate, it’s time to tackle an important education reform item that emerged last week but falls a little bit outside the school choice arena. A January 25 Denver Post story by Yesenia Robles proclaimed that “Colorado gets a C for teacher policies”:

Colorado has developed good policy for dismissing unqualified teachers, but not for increasing the pool of well-prepared teachers entering the workforce, according to a report out today.

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a national nonprofit, released the report today grading every state’s teacher policy. Colorado averaged a C letter grade, up from a D+ in 2009, but was ranked as No. 12 among the states making the most progress.

Yes, this is the same respected NCTQ I’ve talked about before regarding their study of teacher preparation programs. In fact, my Education Policy Center friends last year recorded an iVoices podcast with NCTQ’s Sandi Jacobs about the then-latest version of their State Teacher Policy Yearbook. Continue Reading »

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5th 2012
Rick Hess’ Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings Point to My Indirect Influence

Posted under Denver & education schools & Independence Institute & Just For Fun & PPC & Research & School Choice & School Finance & Teachers

From time to time you’ll see me write about or reference the work of scholars who research the nitty gritty of education policy. These are the high falutin’ number-crunchers with big degrees who work at universities. Well, the venerable Rick Hess has revealed his 2012 Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings to measure more than 100 American academics’ contributions to last year’s education policy public debates.

Some are better known than others, which the list helps to sort out. To build out his index, Hess used Google Scholar ratings, book and article contributions, mentions in the education press and newspaper, and even mention in blogs (!) to lay out the rankings. Many — for good or ill — have graced the postings of Ed Is Watching (listed in rank order): Continue Reading »

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4th 2011
Inquiring Minds: Is Major Education Reform About Ready to Give Iowa a Try?

Posted under education schools & Governor & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & PPC & School Accountability & Teachers

In this musical play my grandma told me about, called The Music Man, there’s a song that strongly suggests people from Iowa are stubborn, and (kinda tongue-in-cheek) tells listeners that “you really ought to give Iowa a try.” Back in January, my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow noted how one-time Colorado education innovator Jason Glass had been hired to run Iowa’s state education department.

What’s the connection? The Des Moines Register reports today that Gov. Terry Branstad and his education man Glass have proposed “the most sweeping and comprehensive changes to Iowa’s education system in the state’s history.” Reported areas of major change include: Continue Reading »


24th 2011
Rick Hess: Why Don’t Unions Stand Up for Effective Principals, Ed School Reform?

Posted under Education Politics & education schools & Innovation and Reform & PPC & Principals & School Finance & Teachers

Time is of the essence today, so one of my Education Policy Center friends will simply take a quick moment and point you to a very insightful blog passage about the dynamics of education reform. Take it away, Dr. Rick Hess:

…it strikes me as ludicrous for the unions to sit quietly by and share the blame for timid, tepid leadership, or when unions passively take the blame for weak teachers when teacher preparation programs produce graduates of dubious merit. In doing so, teachers and unions become complicit. The problem, I think, is a variation on Ted Sizer’s famed “Horace’s Compromise.” Teacher unions, superintendent and principal associations, schools of education, and school boards avoid calling each other out on such things, while focusing their energies on presenting a united front demanding more money and deference from taxpayers and policymakers. By the way, this phenomenon is part of what drives “reformers” to distraction. They can’t understand why so many supes and school boards seem to placidly accept onerous collective bargaining requirements, or why quality-conscious teachers don’t do more to call out feckless leadership.

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