Topic: Reports

U.S. Higher Education: High Quality Undercut by Disinvestment

Sometimes it seems as if the powers that be are committed to a policy of disinvestment in higher education.  Here in Texas we have just entered a new two-year budget period in which the Texas legislature and governor have eliminated 43,000 college scholarships from the main state program of college grants that are intended to make higher education affordable for...

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Topics the Legislature Should Address in Interim Studies Before Next Session

One of the powers of the Speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor, who presides over the Texas Senate, is to direct committees of their respective chambers to conduct interim studies of particular topics. They generally make at least a show of consulting their committee chairs and members in the process of coming up with the so-called interim “charges”...

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Official Report: New Texas Charter Schools Found Wanting

The charter-school lobby can’t be happy about the latest official analysis and evaluation of charter schools’ performance prepared by the independent Texas Center for Educational Research for the Texas Education Agency. The new TCER study of new charter schools reaches sobering conclusions about the performance of Texas charter campuses. The study, entitled “Evaluation of New Texas Charter Schools (2007-10): Final...

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Not Just in Texas: Responding to the Assault on Public Education

Education historian Diane Ravitch recently took stock of the current situation in American education and found reason for hope in spite of what she termed "an unending assault" on the nation's public schools and the educators who work in them. Her appraisal is that across the nation, not just in Texas, we face a "full-fledged, well-funded effort to replace public...

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AFT President Challenges Self-Styled Reformers, Lays Out a Real Reform Agenda

In her July 11 keynote speech at AFT’s biennial educational-issues conference in Washington, D.C., AFT President Randi Weingarten called for education reform worthy of the name--based on quality teaching, with continuous teacher development, rich and meaningful curriculum, and the best ideas from schools here and abroad--drawing a sharp contrast with self-styled reformers who denigrate teachers, defund public education, and ignore...

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Flawed Social-Studies Standards Earn a “D” in National Study

A conservative-leaning think tank has come out with a scathing report on the quality of the new social-studies standards adopted amidst much controversy last year by the State Board of Education. (Texas AFT strongly opposed these social-studies standards.) The Thomas B. Fordham Institute this week denounced the new Texas curriculum guidelines as a “politicized distortion of history offering misrepresentations at...

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Comptroller Mounts New Attack on Class-Size Limits in Early Elementary Grades; Teacher Evaluations, Pay, and Contract Rights Targeted, Too

The drumbeat for an attack on state class-size limits in grades K-4 that began in the Texas Senate Education Committee last February just got louder today. State Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs, in the name of "efficiency," issued a report that recommends "eliminating the 22-student limit for each K-4 classroom and instituting an average 22-student class size instead." Make...

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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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Another Independent Study Casts Doubt on Value-Added Models of Teacher Evaluation–Specifically Including the Houston ISD Version

Policy-makers may be drawn to the simplicity of reducing teacher evaluation to a "value-added" score based on achievement tests, but they are neglecting an expanding body of educational research that shows this seeming simplicity comes at the expense of accuracy. Educational historian Diane Ravitch, in her latest "Bridging Differences" blog entry (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2010/10/dear_deborah_you_asked_what.html), cites a new study from the Annenberg Institute...

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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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