• Education Vs. Bureaucracy
    How can a 375% education spending increase over four decades result in flat-lined reading, math and science scores? Because all that largesse feeds a bureaucratic monster sheltered from competition. Public school employment has increased at 10 times the rate of enrollment, with a massive expansion in administrative staff.
  • TN Treasurer rules in favor of HOPE Academy
    New life has been breathed into a plan to create a charter school in Blount County. HOPE Academy would be the county’s first charter school, and the state’s first in a rural setting. Their application has twice been denied by county’s board of education. In September, Blount County’s Board of Education voted unanimously to deny their application, citing the financial impact it would have on the district. In his decision though, Lillard contradicts their view.
  • Experts: Half of foster kids quit high school
    Some members of Congress and advocates are trying to strengthen laws to ensure the child welfare system not only makes sure that foster kids are safe, but that they get a quality education.
  • ‘Voucher’ a red-flag word for school-choice advocates
    The rebranding of vouchers, specialists say, is intentional and designed to keep the public’s mind open. Any proposal containing the V-word, they think, will face an uphill battle and may turn off parents, education leaders and legislators. “The polling data suggests that people don’t respond as well” to the word “vouchers,” said Sarah Pechan, director of community programs for School Choice Ohio, a nonprofit school choice advocacy group. “Families will equate the word ‘voucher’ with a stigma,” she said. That stigma, Ms. Pechan said, often stops a voucher debate in its tracks, even before the public has had the opportunity to grasp the pros and cons of a specific proposal.
  • American Education, From Camelot to Obamaville
    Aside from the ill-fated National Defense Education Act of 1958, the federal government had made no attempt to improve k-12 academic achievement or attainment in the four decades before JFK… and yet, as he noted, American education did in fact improve during that period.
    But within a couple of years of JFK’s assassination, Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now known as the No Child Left Behind Act. And in the four plus decades since, the feds have spent roughly $2 trillion trying to improve outcomes and attainment. Over that course of years, both graduation rates and academic achievement at the end of high school have been flat or declining.
  • Washington’s Halloween Tricks for Education
    Just in time for Halloween, big government education advocates are rolling out frightening new education policies.
  • The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2011: Executive Summary
    Students’ reading comprehension unchanged from 2009 at grade 4, and improves at grade 8; Higher percentage of eighth-graders perform at or above Proficient than in 2009; Examples of knowledge and skills demonstrated by students performing at each achievement level; Scores in 12 states higher than in 2009 at grade 4 or 8 and lower in 2 states; Score gaps narrow in some states.
  • The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2011: Executive Summary
    Both fourth- and eighth-graders score higher in 2011 than in previous assessment years; Highest percentages to date of fourth- and eighth-graders performing at or above the Proficient level; Examples of knowledge and skills demonstrated by students performing at each achievement level; Scores in 18 states and jurisdictions higher than in 2009 at grade 4 or 8 and lower in 2 states; Score gaps narrow in some states.
  • Poor Student Achievement Shows Centralized Education Has Failed
    Overall, this proposal for a ninth reauthorization of ESEA is just that: a ninth reauthorization of the failed status quo. A far better approach would be to allow states to completely opt out of No Child Left Behind and direct their dollars and decision-making in a way that would best meet local students’ needs. Perhaps then, when the next NAEP results are published in a few years, we’ll see a long-overdue increase in student achievement.
  • Commissioner Huffman Proposes Timeline Flexibility for Evaluation System
    Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman announced today he will ask the state board to modify the state’s new teacher evaluation system. The adjustment allows principals to conduct two of the required observations in succession, and thereby hold only one pre- and post-conference meeting for the combined observation. This will streamline the process and give greater scheduling flexibility to both teachers and principals.
  • State may streamline teacher evaluation process
    Months after a new teacher evaluation system went into effect, the Tennessee commissioner of education is proposing that two of four required classroom observations be done in succession and discussed with the teacher in one session instead of two. The state board will take the issue up in a work session Thursday and vote Friday. Nixon expects the measure to pass with little controversy.
  • Teach for America Memphis produces effective teachers, state report says
    Teach for America Memphis, Teach for America Nashville and Lipscomb University in Nashville are more likely to produce teachers who get high gains from their students than teachers who’ve been in the classroom for years, according to the 2011 state report card on teacher training programs, out this morning. The annual report, produced by the Tennessee Higher Education Tennessee Higher Education Commission, shows which of the state’s teacher training programs tend to produce highly effective teachers. It also shows those with a history of the opposite. Nine teacher training programs, including the University of Memphis and the Memphis Teacher Residency program, were cited for failing to compete with the quality of new teachers from other programs.
  • Public school teachers make more than private sector workers
    Richwine and Biggs found that when public school teachers and private sector workers are compared objectively on the basis of cognitive skills — rather than years of service or educational attainment — the educators enjoy higher compensation — contrary to the claims of union officials in public debate and in negotiations with school boards. No doubt trying to anticipate the objections from critics in the public education community, Richwine and Biggs argue that “no one doubts the significance of high-quality teachers to the school system and to the economy in general, but even the most important public workers should be paid at a level commensurate with their skills — no more, no less.”
  • Assessing the Compensation, Salary and Wages of Public School Teachers
    After overcoming several methodological challenges to evaluating teacher compensation, it is evident that existing public-school teachers receive wages that are at least as high as comparably skilled workers, while their benefits and job security exceed what they could earn in the private sector. Overall, public-school-teacher compensation exceeds private levels by approximately 52 percent, for a total of more than $120 billion annually in excessive labor costs.[68] State and local governments seeking to balance their budgets in difficult times should take a close look at teacher compensation, which is considerably higher than necessary to retain the existing teacher workforce. More fundamental reform of teacher compensation would scrap the existing rewards for education and experience—and instead pay market rates to teachers who are measurably effective.

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