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With Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s announcement of the Excellent Educators for All initiative earlier this month, putting excellent principals at the helm of high-need schools remains critical. Because turning around the nation’s chronically low-performing schools continues to perplex teachers, school and district leaders, and policymakers, let’s consider the experiences and lessons learned from the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program.
Beginning in 2010, these federal grants were awarded to turn around the nation’s low-performing schools through four models for improvement—transformation, turnaround, restart, and closure. All four options had one thing in common: replacing the school principal.
Despite the infusion of hundreds of thousands [...]Continue Reading »
This is the second of two blog posts about two new studies from AIR researchers and collaborators on the use of classroom observations for teacher evaluation.
Most press coverage about new teacher evaluation systems focuses on student growth (or value-added) measures based on student test scores. But even in districts that use such measures, a teacher’s performance appraisal still depends largely on classroom observations.
In May, the Brown Center on Education Policy at The Brookings Institution released a report presenting new concerns about the classroom observation component of most teacher evaluation systems. In particular, the authors note, “observations conducted by evaluators [...]Continue Reading »
This is the first of two blog posts about two new studies from AIR researchers and collaborators on the use of classroom observations for teacher evaluation.
Anyone who has spent time looking in on a classroom knows how much a visitor can learn about the teacher and the class. It provides an opportunity to see the teacher in action, and appreciate the skills needed to work with his or her particular students. Since formalized teacher evaluation systems need to capture exactly this kind of information, it makes sense to include classroom observations as part of teacher evaluation systems.
Summative teacher evaluations – [...]Continue Reading »
It was like being in a seminar led by a world-class professor—only in this case there were 28 professors, among the top scholars in educational equity. Faculty from Brown, Georgetown, and Stanford universities, leaders from the Clinton Global Initiative, Ford Foundation, and NAACP, and five members of the National Academy of Education including its current president, came to AIR’s Georgetown office on April 30 for the first Research Roundtable. Before they left, these intellectual powerhouses would articulate some of the major issues in need of address by AIR’s new Equity Project led by Peter Cookson.
“We are committed,” Cookson began, “to [...]Continue Reading »
Nearly a century ago, John Dewey reflected on the nature of change in his book Human Nature and Conduct:
We may desire abolition of war, industrial justice, and greater opportunity for all. But no amount of preaching good will or the golden rule or cultivation of sentiments of love and equity will accomplish the results. There must be change in objective arrangements and institutions.
Today America’s school system needs a major overhaul. Our educational problems are neither fleeting nor amenable to superficial reforms. They go bone deep—right to the very structure of schooling.
We get an inkling of how deep our problem goes when we [...]Continue Reading »
This is the season when many high school seniors have their college admission and financial aid offers in hand. Now, the cost of attending college becomes real—at least for the first year–because most students are only given dollar figures for the coming year, not what their costs might be in their sophomore, junior, or senior years.
According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data done by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, only about 320 colleges and universities offered tuition guarantees during the 2012-13 school year. The other 4,500 or so institutions that offer federal financial aid have no such [...]Continue Reading »
Flipping the classroom. A Detroit high school was one of the lowest performing schools in Michigan until they decided to flip the classroom. By recording lessons online for students to watch at home, teachers have more time in the classroom to work through problems. (YouTube)
An epidemic. Cheating has become very common in schools, with cheating making the headlines in some of the country’s most prestigious schools. These students speak about why they cheat and the pressure of being a student. (Teen Vogue)
Twelve Days of Christmas. This student gets into the holiday spirit by turning all-nighters and mental breakdowns into a [...]Continue Reading »