2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation
Source: National Council on Teacher Quality
From executive summary (PDF)
There is a tremendous focus across the states these days on building a better teacher workforce. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s 2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook chronicled the great progress states are making on adopting new teacher evaluation systems that factor student performance and classroom effectiveness into decisions about compensation, professional development, tenure and dismissal – all in the name of teacher effectiveness.
One of the strange ironies of education reformers’ attention to teacher effectiveness, however, has been the relative lack of attention to how teacher candidates are prepared to be effective in the job in the first place.
In this 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, NCTQ explores the question: What are states doing to ensure that they are systematically preparing classroom-ready new teachers?
Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project
A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and secondary school students finds that digital technologies have become central to their teaching and professionalization. At the same time, the internet, mobile phones, and social media have brought new challenges to teachers, and they report striking differences in access to the latest digital technologies between lower and higher income students and school districts.
Asked about the impact of the internet and digital tools in their role as middle and high school educators, these teachers say the following about the overall impact on their teaching and their classroom work:
- 92% of these teachers say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching
- 69% say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to share ideas with other teachers
- 67% say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to interact with parents and 57% say it has had such an impact on enabling their interaction with students
The survey finds that digital tools are widely used in classrooms and assignments, and a majority of these teachers are satisfied with the support and resources they receive from their school in this area. However, it also indicates that teachers of the lowest income students face more challenges in bringing these tools to their classrooms…
The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership (PDF)
- Principals take responsibility for leadership of their schools.
- The job of principal is becoming more complex and stressful.
- Teachers take leadership in schools and think principals are doing a good job.
- The biggest challenges leaders face are beyond the capacity of schools alone to address.
- Principals and teachers have similar views on academic challenges, but diverge somewhat on their priorities for leadership.
- Teacher satisfaction continues to decline.
- Challenges cited by educators are greater in high-needs schools.
- Educators are confident about implementing the Common Core, less so about its potential for increasing student success.
Source: RAND Corporation
Feature stories discuss the promotion of tolerance and critical thinking in the Arab world through children’s media, the challenges faced by the United States in an era of fiscal austerity, and promising models for measuring teacher performance. Two other stories highlight the National Science Foundation’s role in promoting research in the United States and how RAND is helping several countries to foster technological innovation.
Source: European Science Foundation
From press release:
A new ESF position paper identifies needs and steps to improve teaching skills in Higher Education.
A new position paper, The Professionalisation of Academics as Teachers in Higher Education, has been published today by the European Science Foundation.
In Europe, where over 19 million students are in tertiary education, it is becoming crucial to look at, study and improve the teaching skills of scientists in order to teach more effectively the next generation of innovators. This is not only of interest to the Social Sciences but an issue of basic importance to all domains of science and to society as a whole.
The publication exposes current developments and challenges in the European Higher Education landscape. The authors establish a set of nine principles of good teaching and recommend that universities that strive for quality education offer educational development opportunities for their teachers. They claim that well-designed educational development programmes lead to increased satisfaction of teachers and changes in attitudes, behaviours and teaching practice.
The position paper underlines that “excellent teachers are made, not born; they become excellent through investment in their teaching abilities. Leaving teachers to learn from trial and error is a waste of time, effort and university resources.”
The publication therefore highlights six recommendations for important advances to be made toward the professionalisation of teaching and student learning:
- define professional standards for higher education teachers;
- measure teaching effectiveness and provide constructive feedback for academics;
- establish the institutional support base for educational development locally;
- promote the idea of the ‘teacher researcher’ and recognise research on teaching as research activity and teaching excellence in hiring and promotion decision;
- allocate meaningful funding for educational development;
- establish a European forum within a currently existing institution that pools and shares resources and existing expertise.
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
The brief’s key findings are:
- Many public sector pension plans have recently cut pension benefits for new hires, thereby reducing compensation.
- The analysis looks at how such cutbacks could affect the quality of teachers.
- One proxy for teacher quality is the average SAT score at a teacher’s undergraduate institution.
- The analysis finds that school districts with higher wages and/or higher pensions are able to hire teachers from institutions with higher SAT scores.
- These results suggest that cutting compensation for new teachers is not costless, as it will likely reduce applicant quality.
Projections of Education Statistics to 2021
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
This publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2021. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2021. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.
Tests and the Teacher: What Student Achievement Tests Do — and Don’t — Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness
Source: RAND Corporation
Student scores on reading and math achievement tests tell us a lot about how well students are learning those subjects, but scores on a single annual test aren’t necessarily a good indicator of teacher effectiveness. For this reason, and because achievement tests don’t fully capture how well students are learning other subjects, skills, and attitudes, we need to combine information from tests with other measures to gain a better understanding of teacher effectiveness.
Factors Influencing the Implementation of School Wellness Policies in the United States, 2009
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)
The quality of school wellness policy implementation varies among schools in the United States. The objective of this study was to characterize the school wellness policy environment nationally and identify factors influencing the quality and effectiveness of policy implementation.
We invited school administrators from 300 high schools to complete a questionnaire; 112 administrators responded. We performed a 2-step cluster analysis to help identify factors influencing the implementation of school wellness policies.
Eighty-two percent of schools reported making staff aware of policy requirements; 77% established a wellness committee or task force, 73% developed administrative procedures, and 56% trained staff for policy implementation. Most commonly reported challenges to implementation were lack of time or coordination of policy team (37% of respondents) and lack of monetary resources (33%). The core domains least likely to be implemented were communication and promotion (63% of respondents) and evaluation (54%). Cluster 1, represented mostly by schools that have taken action toward implementing policies, had higher implementation and effectiveness ratings than Cluster 2, which was defined by taking fewer actions toward policy implementation. In Cluster 1, accountability was also associated with high ratings of implementation quality and effectiveness.
The development of organizational capacity may be critical to ensuring an environment that promotes high-quality policy implementation. Assessing, preventing, and addressing challenges; establishing clear definitions and goals; and requiring accountability for enacting policy across all core domains are critical to ensuring high-quality implementation.
AAAS Report Shares Strategies to Recruit New Generation of Highly Qualified Science and Mathematics Teachers
AAAS Report Shares Strategies to Recruit New Generation of Highly Qualified Science and Mathematics Teachers
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science
s U.S. science test scores stagnate, a new report by AAAS shows how high-quality science and mathematics teachers can be recruited and trained to help reverse this trend.
The report describes the innovative strategies used by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, which trains science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate majors and STEM professionals to become K-12 teachers. The program has found new ways to recruit, prepare, and support these new teachers by offering them a chance to work in after-school programs, mentoring them with the help of local educators, and providing funding for research projects of their own.
Now a decade old, the program’s successes are being scrutinized as part of a national conversation on how to improve science education.
Improvements are urgently needed, education experts say. Results from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science test, which were released on 10 May, show that only a third of eighth-graders who took the test scored at or above the proficient level for their grade.
Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century (PDF)
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
nations around the world are undertaking wide-ranging reforms to better prepare children for the higher educational demands of life and work in the 21st century.
What are the skills that young people demand in this rapidly changing world and what competencies do teachers need to effectively teach those skills? What can teacher preparation and continuing professional development do to prepare graduates to teach well in a 21st century classroom? What are the different roles and responsibilities of 21st century school leaders and how do countries succeed in developing these leaders?
to answer these questions we need to rethink many aspects of our education systems: the quality of recruiting systems; the type of education recruits obtain before they start working; how they are monitored and what education and support they get; how their compensation is structured; how to improve performance of struggling teachers and enhance development among the best ones.
Teachers are less satisfied with their jobs than they have been in decades, but parent engagement with schools has increased, according to the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Teachers, Parents and the Economy, the 28 th in an annual series commissioned by MetLife and conducted by Harris Interactive. The report, based on a survey of public school teachers, parents and students during the current school year, is the first large-scale national survey to fully reflect the effects of the economy on the teaching profession.
Teacher job satisfaction has fallen by 15 percentage points since 2009, the last time the MetLife survey queried teachers on this topic, from 59 percent to 44 percent responding they are very satisfied. This rapid decline in job satisfaction is coupled with a large increase in the number of teachers reporting that they are likely to leave teaching for another occupation (17 percent in 2009 vs. 29 percent today). Teachers are also more than four times as likely now than they were five years ago to say that they do not feel their job is secure (34 percent today vs. 8 percent in 2006, the last time this question was asked). In addition, 53 percent of parents and 65 percent of teachers today say that teachers’ salaries are not fair for the work they do.
Preparing and Credentialing the Nation’s Teachers: The Secretary’s Eighth Report on Teacher Quality Based on Data Provided for 2008, 2009, and 2010
Preparing and Credentialing the Nation’s Teachers: The Secretary’s Eighth Report on Teacher Quality Based on Data Provided for 2008, 2009, and 2010 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Education
This eighth report on the features of America’s teacher preparation and initial state credentialing presents data states reported to the U.S. Department of Education (Department) in October 2008, October 2009 and October 2010. For purposes of this report, the term “state” refers to the entities required to report as states, that is, any of the states of the United States, as well as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Freely Associated States (the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau). While for purposes of defining who must report a “state” includes the other entities, for purposes of presentation of data in this report other entities will be reported separately from the 50 states. Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended in 2008 by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), like its predecessor, requires states to report annually on key elements of their teacher preparation programs and requirements for initial teacher certification or licensure, kindergarten through 12th grade (see appendix 1). Because the 2008 reauthorization changed both a number of state reporting requirements and the content of this annual report, and states reasonably needed time to adjust their own data collection and reporting procedures, this three-year period was by necessity a transition period. For this reason, the Department determined that the public would be better served by providing a report on these three years at one time.
New Data from U.S. Department of Education Highlights Educational Inequities Around Teacher Experience, Discipline and High School Rigor
Source: U.S. Department of Education
Minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
In an event at Howard University attended by civil rights and education reform groups, federal education officials today released new data from a national survey of more than 72,000 schools serving 85% of the nation’s students. The self-reported data, Part II of the 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), covers a range of issues including college and career readiness, discipline, school finance, and student retention.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the CRDC findings are a wake-up call to educators at every level and issued a broad challenge to work together to address educational inequities.
"The power of the data is not only in the numbers themselves, but in the impact it can have when married with the courage and the will to change. The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise. It is our collective duty to change that,” Duncan said.
Among the key findings are:
- African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. Black students make up 18% of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled.
- Students learning English (ELL) were 6% of the CRDC high school enrollment, but made up 12% of students retained.
- Only 29% of high-minority high schools offered Calculus, compared to 55% of schools with the lowest black and Hispanic enrollment.
- Teachers in high-minority schools were paid $2,251 less per year than their colleagues in teaching in low-minority schools in the same district.
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali said that for the first time, this survey includes detailed discipline data, including in-school suspensions, referrals to law enforcement, and school-related arrests.
Movin’ It and Improvin’ It! Using Both Education Strategies to Increase Teaching Effectiveness
Source: Center for American Progress
Fueled in part by the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top program, a massive effort to overhaul teacher evaluation is underway in states and districts across the country. The aim is to ensure that evaluations provide a better indication of “teaching effectiveness,” or the extent to which teachers can and do contribute to students’ learning, and then to act on that information to enhance teaching and learning.
In October the National Council on Teacher Quality reported that nearly two-thirds of the states made changes to teacher-evaluation policies over the past three years, a stunning amount of policy activity in an area that had remained nearly stagnant for decades. Today 25 states require an annual evaluation of teachers—up from 15 two years ago—and 23 states now require evaluations to at least consider “objective evidence of student learning in the form of student growth and/or value-added test data.”
So far most of the public debate about such reforms focused on the technical reliability of the techniques being used to measure effectiveness, especially value-added estimates of teachers’ impact on student learning. Value-added measures rely on statistical models that examine the difference between the actual and predicted achievement of a teacher’s students given their prior test scores, demo- graphic characteristics, and other measures in the model.
But as states and districts actually begin to adopt policies to measure teaching effectiveness, another kind of debate is now raging: How exactly should school systems use the results of their new teacher-evaluation systems? More broadly, once states and districts begin to measure effectiveness, what kinds of strategies should they adopt to increase the amount of measured effectiveness in the teacher workforce over time?
Download this report (pdf)
CAP Report Assesses Progress in Teacher Preparation and State Accountability
Source: Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress released a new report today that details the progress of the 2010 winners of the Obama administration’s signature Race to the Top education program. Titled “Getting Better at Teacher Preparation and State Accountability” by Edward Crowe, the report presents new information about the specifics of each state’s goals, activities, and challenges as part of their commitments to improve teacher education, and strengthen public disclosure and accountability of program performance.
The report describes the key findings in separate profiles of the twelve winners: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia. The paper cites examples where important changes are promised and seem likely to happen. It also notes weaknesses or areas needing improvement. An overview of the combined efforts of the states and the District of Columbia shows that:
- Persistence in teaching by education program graduates will be disclosed publicly by five of the 12 winners. Only two states, however, will change their teacher-education accountability regulations and use programwide persistence rates for program accountability.
- Six of the 12 winners will use data on job placement of teacher-preparation program graduates for public disclosure of program performance.
- Only four recipients will publically report the percentage of each education preparation program’s graduates who attain advanced licensure.
- Student-achievement outcomes will be used by all 12 grantees for public disclosure of teaching effectiveness of program graduates.
Obama Administration Releases Report and Interactive Maps Highlighting Critical American Jobs Act Investments in Education
Source: White House
Today, the Obama Administration released a report, Education and the American Jobs Act: Creating Jobs through Investments in Our Nation’s Schools, and interactive maps that highlight estimated benefits that states and local school districts would receive if Congress acts to pass the American Jobs Act.
The White House report provides an analysis of the condition of America’s schools, which have fallen into disrepair, as well as the difficult budget environment facing school districts and teachers nationwide. In order to address these critical needs, President Obama proposed $25 billion to renovate and modernize more than 35,000 public schools and $5 billion to upgrade infrastructure at America’s community colleges through the American Jobs Act, as well as $30 billion to keep hundreds of thousands of educators in the classroom.