Posts Tagged ‘
Arne Duncan ’
Below is a news release from last week sharing hopeful news about the graduation rates in CLASS districts.
Portland – November 29, 2012 – In light of the news this week of Oregon’s sub-par graduation rate, the Chalkboard Project is sharing hopeful news about the graduation rates in CLASS districts. Oregon has begun investing in CLASS-like work through Senate Bill 252, the School District Collaboration Fund.
Between 2008-09 and 2010-11, the first group of CLASS districts improved its cohort graduation rate by 5 percentage points and the second group improved its rate by 3.8 percentage points. During the same time, the rest of the state only improved by 0.9 percentage point.¹
CLASS provides teachers the opportunity to collaborate on plans for teacher professional growth and success tailored to local needs. Teachers create for themselves what every professional deserves: a clear career path, opportunities for feedback, relevant and individualized training, and recognition for leadership and results. (more…)
As a former teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, I know very well that educators can tend to have their own language that makes non-educators’ eyes glaze over. Differentiated instruction, common core, instructional rounds, etc. could all describe a range of activities that have nothing to do with teaching or learning.
Translating the education-ease for a public audience can be a tricky endeavor. We want the public to understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the strategy or intervention, but we don’t want to oversimplify the work. Unfortunately, the term ‘educator evaluation’ suffers from an oversimplification. Whether or not the oversimplification is justified in many cases, it is important that we begin to redefine the term.
The term ‘evaluation’ often brings up images of an inspection or other high-pressure situations in which there is a black and white decision made: yes or no, thumbs up or thumbs down, raise or no raise, continuation of employment or lay-off. When the evaluation is put in the context of teaching, the assumption is made that teachers are being graded as good or bad. Evaluation can and should be something a lot more than a grade or ranking.
When Chalkboard applied for a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant after funding and implementing the CLASS Project privately for four years, we did so knowing that there would be certain strings that came along with federal funding.
Those strings, while limiting Chalkboard’s autonomy, have also allowed us, and our six partner school districts, to participate in the national conversation about education effectiveness. The ability to influence thinking beyond our state is especially important as the federal government looks to redesign the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind) and prioritizes spending on certain initiatives over others.
Chalkboard’s CLASS program established a solid foundation for our participation in TIF. CLASS is a comprehensive model for supporting the professional growth of educators. TIF adds emphasis to the compensation component of CLASS, but it does not do away with the other three components: educator evaluation systems, career paths, and professional development. We strongly believe that educators need comprehensive supports. Our TIF districts are meeting the federal requirements around incentives for educators while demonstrating the power of systemic, teacher-designed models. TIF does not require that teachers be deeply involved in the design and implementation of the models, but having teachers and administrators at the table together is a foundational component of the CLASS Project.
Nearly 60 years ago, the court ruling Brown v. Board of Education recognized that “education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. It is the very foundation of good citizenship.” The ruling also made the claim that desegregation would benefit all students and that providing students with inclusive educational opportunities from an early age is crucial to achieving the nation’s educational and civic goals. Years later, however, we continue to struggle with this issue. Some people still ask the question: what kinds of benefits stem from a diverse classroom?
As a product of a racially diverse public school system outside of Chicago, I believe that my classroom experience provided me with incalculable educational and civic benefits. However, I find measuring and identifying those benefits extremely difficult. While growing up, it never occurred to me that I was actively breaking down racial stereotypes or becoming a more culturally sensitive person. Instead, I found that being around students and teachers who were different than me was just the norm. In a way, I believe that that is the overall intended outcome: being comfortable and motivated to participate in a heterogeneous and multifaceted society. Right?
Today at the NAACP convention in Kansas City, Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan indicated a change in direction with regards to meaningful parent and community participation in strengthening and reforming our public schools. His comments included:
You also made it crystal clear to us in recent meetings at the department and at the White House that the community must be at the table when decisions are made around how to improve struggling schools. And we agree.
So, today, I’m announcing that—based on your input and the very productive engagement we have had around the school improvement grant program—we will revise our ESEA reauthorization proposal to require parent and community input.
That means notification, outreach, public input, and honest, open discussion about the right option for each community. This is really common sense, and most superintendents understand this. But we also know this is very hard work, and it’s a challenge to build consensus around these very tough interventions. (more…)