Topic: Teachers

Notable Education Bills Get a Hearing in the Texas House

The House Public Education Committee on Tuesday took testimony regarding two important bills that would turn state policy in the right direction on teacher training and standardized testing. HB 135 by Rep. Mike Villarreal, Democrat of San Antonio, would require alternative-certification programs to include at least 15 hours of field experience in which the teacher candidate is in a classroom...

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Evaluating and Improving Teachers’ Effectiveness—What We Know and What It Means for Policy-Makers

Texas AFT's Austin symposium on teacher effectiveness yesterday was a partial corrective for years of unbalanced presentations at state legislative hearings, which have promoted "silver bullet" concepts like value-added measurement of teachers' impact based inordinately on students' test scores. The symposium gave lawmakers and educational stakeholders a clear picture of current scholarship on the limits and potential uses of current...

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Texas AFT Symposium on Teacher Effectiveness and Appraisal

Good teaching is widely recognized as the most significant school-based determinant of student learning success. That simple fact is at the heart of a national debate about the best ways to evaluate and improve teaching quality. As a contribution to that conversation, Texas AFT is holding a symposium tomorrow in Austin for legislators and educational stakeholders on the issue of...

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Senate Education Hearing: Cutting Into the Muscle and Bone of Public Education, Unless We Fight Now for Needed Funding

Many superintendents and school boards across the state are informing their staff and community of grim contingency plans for radical cutbacks in school personnel and programs. That conversation came to the capitol today in a public hearing of the Texas Senate Education Committee marked by calls for “flexibility” and “mandate relief” to cope with huge cuts in state school aid...

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Take Texas AFT’s Survey on Teacher Evaluation

Texas AFT’s Committee on Quality Educational Standards in Teaching (QuEST) has come up with a new survey for teachers on the evaluation systems currently in effect in their districts and possible alternatives. Many members already have responded to the survey, initially announced in the Hotline and posted online in mid-December. Please join them in helping to guide our efforts to...

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Amendments to Texas Educators’ Code of Ethics

December 26 is the effective date of recent amendments by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to the Educators’ Code of Ethics addressing electronic communication between educators and students, among other topics. SBEC has the power to determine that a violation of the code of ethics has occurred and to deprive educators of their certification and thus their livelihood,...

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Billionaire Bill Gates versus Education Historian Diane Ravitch

In a recent magazine article, billionaire Bill Gates, who has used grants from his philanthropic foundation to assume a key role in steering educational policy across the nation, reproaches education historian Diane Ravitch for saying his version of education reform is hurting America’s schools. Unfortunately for Gates, Ravitch has now responded to telling effect, in the online version of the...

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Revised Educators’ Code of Ethics Gets a Pass at State Board of Education—Over Objections of Educators

Over the objections of Texas educators, the State Board of Education today allowed a problematic revision of the educators’ code of ethics to take effect. Texas AFT and other statewide educator organizations took a stand against the revision emanating from the separate State Board for Educator Certification, because of changes that in key respects left educators without fair notice of...

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Texas AFT Testifies on Proposed Changes in Educators’ Code of Ethics

At a committee hearing of the State Board of Education today in Austin, Texas AFT laid out the reasons why the State Board should reject a proposed revision of the professional educators’ code of ethics. Our testimony elicited a curious, three-part reaction. On the one hand, some Board members acknowledged that there are indeed problems with the ethics-code revision, which...

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New Report Says Quality Teacher-Prep Programs Require Strong Clinical-Practice Component

A new report from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) calls for increased emphasis on practical experience in the classroom as a critical element of teacher preparation. In addition to the stress on providing clinical experiences for teacher candidates, the report urges stronger partnerships between ed-prep programs and school districts, improved candidate selection and placement, and a...

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AFT President Outlines a Practical Agenda for Improving Schools

In two recent national columns, AFT President Randi Weingarten outlines a practical agenda for improving public education.   "No one—certainly no one whose life's work is in education—is satisfied with the current state of the American system of public education," Weingarten writes in her latest "What Matters Most" column (http://www.aft.org/pdfs/press/wmm_111410.pdf) that appears in the New York Times. "The promise of...

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Educators Talk Back: Answering the Scapegoaters

The current wave of teacher-bashing may not have crested yet, but it has evoked a strong countercurrent of well-argued rebuttals from leading educators and education researchers. The latest case in point is the response to a recent "manifesto" published in the Washington Post on behalf of the superintendents of 16 major urban school districts. Their manifesto claims that the difficulty...

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