The good news: More students than ever are enrolled in Pre-K programs in the U.S. The bad news: The rising number of Pre-K students coupled with state education budget cuts across the country has drastically reduced per-child spending on Pre-K programs.
District of Columbia
If policymakers want to play a bit of poker, they should save their gambling for the card table and keep it out of education reform. In a Huffington Post column, Schott Foundation President and CEO John Jackson calls the weak hand of the policymakers who are pushing for more privatization in our nation's public schools.
How is it that education policymakers can profess to respect teachers while at the same time ignoring national teacher opinion polls and instead supporting policies like merit pay based on test scores, competitive grants, and the expansion of online learning and charter schools?
Over the past couple of weeks, we've posted about different examples of successful community organizing from across the country and they're worth highlighting again all in one blog post as proof of the power of grassroots organizing.
"Evaluating Teacher Evaluations," published in Phi Delta Kappan is a great tool for understanding value-added rating models and how they fail to account for the vast number of factors that influence a student's test scores from one year to the next. Since value-added models can't control for factors like class size, home and community challenges, summer learning loss (which disproportionately affects low-income students), then there is no way they can provide an accurate picture of how effective a teacher is in raising student test scores.
New York City recently joined the Los Angles Unified School District in making value-added teacher ratings open to the public despite significant evidence that value-added scores are riddled with errors and inconsistencies.The scores were subsequently published in major newspapers in each city, mislabling teachers publicly and proving that there needs to be more that goes into determining the "value" of a teacher than "value-added" scores.
Montgomery County School District has gotten a lot of attention for its successful efforts to improve graduation rates and narrow the achievement gap. But Montgomery is also a model for collaboration between teacher unions and administrators, and it provides a strong argument against corporate-style reform efforts that antagonize and seek to dismantle unions.
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What with being attacked left and right by politicians across the country, who can blame teachers for being more than a little unsatisfied with their jobs. According to the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, the drop in teacher job satisfaction over the past two years is a whomping 15 points - from 59 percent in 2009 to just 44 percent in 2011.
Targeting one of the most dire inequalities facing our nation - access to quality education - the Occupy Movement is holding a national day of action focused on education. From Albany to Sacramento, students, parents and educators across the country are staging walkouts and marches to departments of education on behalf of equitable funding to provide all students with an equal opportunity to learn.