Topic: Teachers

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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Evaluating “Value-Added” Measurement of Teacher Effectiveness: Not Just a Houston Problem

A public forum sponsored by the Houston Federation of Teachers last week shed some needed light on the frailty of the value-added methodology in use in Houston ISD. But many issues raised at the forum pertain to all value-added methodologies currently in use to measure teachers' effects on student learning, not just to the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) adopted...

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Certification Board Still Off Track With Ethics Rules

Not much has changed since Texas AFT testified against an August draft revision of the Educators’ Code of Ethics before the State Board for Educator Certification. The SBEC staff tomorrow will bring a slightly tweaked version back to the board for adoption. Texas AFT will be there again to say this proposal will not "clarify and better address" issues of...

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New Teacher Project’s Take on Teacher Evaluation–AFT Comments

The New Teacher Project is part of a chorus of national education-policy organizations that have sung the same tune on teacher appraisal, supporting a heavy stress on students’ achievement-test results in the evaluation of teachers. That orientation was much in evidence when a New Teacher Project leader testified recently before the Texas Senate Education Committee. But TNTP’s just-published guidelines for...

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Not Waiting for Superman

The much-hyped movie “Waiting for Superman” has been the focus this week of a media campaign that scapegoats teachers and their unions for all the ills of the nation’s schools, while portraying the operators of select charter schools and self-designated “school reformers” as heroes.  Read More

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Testing Experts Say It’s a Serious Mistake to Make Standardized Test Scores a Dominant Factor in Teacher Evaluation

Even as the craze for judging teachers by their students’ standardized test scores reaches new heights, now comes a sharply worded report from a distinguished group of testing experts who all agree that test-driven teacher evaluation is a really bad idea. Their new study, published by the Economic Policy Institute, explains in detail what’s wrong with the seemingly simple and...

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National Poll Shows Community Support for Teachers

The latest Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward Public Schools shows strong public support for a positive rather than punitive approach to improving school and teacher performance. A solid majority, 54 percent of those polled, said the best way to turn around low-performing schools is to keep them open with the existing teachers and principal and to...

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