• An effective teacher for every child, in every classroom, every year…
    And, although the means of communication used by the district may not have been the most tactful, the  purpose of the  gathering was very clear: these meetings are necessary to address the performance gaps, to discuss specific plans to improve the effectiveness of these teachers in order to increase student achievement. And with the new data generated as a result of the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative (TEI), Memphis City Schools can now develop customized programs of support and development aligned to teacher need.
  • California Parents Pull Trigger on Elementary School
    Parents of students at a failing elementary school in the Southern California desert city of Adelanto are the second group to exercise their rights under the state’s Parent Trigger law. About 70 percent of parents at the school signed the petition, parent union organizers said. Under state regulations that took effect last fall, school district officials have until February 21 to verify or reject the parents’ petition. The Desert Trails petition would be the first successful test of California’s 2010 Parent Empowerment Act. The first effort by parents at an elementary school in Compton failed last year when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled the parents’ petitions did not comply with state law.
  • The Country’s Most Ambitious Digital Learning Project
    Just under 18 months ago, the U.S. Department of Education awarded over $330 million to two state consortia, PARCC and Smarter/Balanced, representing 45 states and the District of Columbia, to design and implement new student assessment systems. Two smaller state consortia, Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) and the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC), received an additional $67 million to develop new assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The new assessments, offered mostly online, will replace the current state tests given to millions of students each year in reading and math. At the time, Secretary of Education Duncan called these initiatives an “absolute game-changer” and pledged tests of “critical thinking skills and complex student learning that are not just fill-in-the-bubble tests of basic skills.” In short, it’s an all-out effort to significantly improve one of the weakest — and most despised — aspects of our nation’s current educational system. Officially, the new assessments, including formative and interim tools, will not launch until the 2014-15 school year. In reality, though, most of the work needs to be fully-baked for field-testing in the 2013-14 time frame. That means the real work will take place over the next 18 months.

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