Posts Tagged ‘
Teacher Incentive Fund ’
Dr. Andrew Dyke is a Senior Economist at ECONorthwest. He specializes in program evaluation and applied microeconomic analysis. He develops and applies sophisticated econometric models for many policy areas, including crime, education and labor economics. His recent project work includes student achievement growth modeling for Chalkboard Project’s federally funded Teacher Incentive Fund grant, an evaluation of Oregon’s Employer Workforce Training Fund, and regional economic modeling for TriMet and the Puget Sound Regional Council.
We all know this: Improving education to promote student outcomes—academic, social, and otherwise—is hard work, and it requires risk-taking and experimentation to succeed. Unfortunately, it’s also all too easy for individuals—educators and researchers, alike—to assume that they have found the magic bullet, if only everyone would sit up and listen… As a result, the “next big thing” often gets oversold as proven technology, implemented too quickly, and frequently discarded before the final results are in. Good ideas as well as bad can suffer the same fate. (more…)
Kathleen Sundell is President of the Salem-Keizer Education Association. She has been a special educator for 38 years. Kathleen received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and two master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has been an advocate through her career and has worked to foster collaborative relationships. Kathleen has been at the forefront of the education reform effort in Salem-Keizer, chairing its Performance Evaluation Committee, which, through collaboration among teachers, administrators and central office personnel, redesigned the evaluation system for 2200 Salem Keizer educators.
As I sit next to my companion on our way to a conference, I think about how far I’ve come. You see, I am the President of the one of the largest Teacher’s Association/Union local in the state, my companion is our District Superintendent, Dr. Sandra Husk, and the conference is a joint labor-management conference. We will join our school board chair and share with districts from all over the nation how we collaborate around District and Association issues big and small. Little did I know, fifteen years ago, that this special education teacher from small town Iowa would be leading her colleagues in education reform.
How did we get here? Dr. Husk introduced us to the CLASS (Creative Leadership Achieves Student Success) Project. We were skeptical at first, and unsure about what it was and why we would sign on. But as we talked, we realized that our educators wanted different career opportunities without leaving the classroom; our professional development system, while improved, still needed work; and, we needed a new evaluation system since ours hadn’t been updated since 1983. What CLASS funding brought us most was time and expertise. The grant gave us time for collaboration, and guidance from our CLASS coach, Chalkboard staff, and experts that they brought in from all over the country. Also, time to talk about issues important to educators. (more…)
The US Department of Education has put out the draft priorities for the next round of the Teacher Incentive Fund and invited public feedback. The Teacher Incentive Fund provides grant dollars to school districts and partners that want to explore ways to recognize and reward effective teaching. More about TIF and the proposed priorities can be found here.
We have learned quite a bit from being part of a Teacher Incentive Fund grant along with six Oregon school districts. You can read our full feedback letter to the USDOE here. Here are the highlights:
Evaluations: Require a minimum of four, not three, categories for teaching proficiency
In the proposed selection criteria, the Department requires a Rigorous, Valid, and Reliable Educator Evaluation System that includes at least three performance levels. However, advice from respected national leaders, including Charlotte Danielson, indicates that a three-level proficiency system leads to “central tendency,” or the notion that most professionals will end up in the middle category because it is safer to mark and easier to defend. This provides less differentiation for informed practice and limits the distinctions needed for improvement. Additionally, we note that every respected national model has a minimum of four levels. We are not aware of any respected, research-based rubrics for teaching proficiency based upon a three level framework.
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.
When we began CLASS as an initiative to empower educators and raise student achievement, we started with three districts and a limited pool of private funding. Now, we have engaged over 6,000 educators in 18 districts in the framework. The demand for educator-led transformation continues to grow. Chalkboard is committed to finding avenues to help every Oregon district ready to participate in CLASS-like efforts.
Funding the design and implementation of CLASS requires initial time and resources. Teacher-led design in performance evaluation, professional development, expanded career paths and new compensation models is a result of patient, sustained work over time. During this time of economic challenge, we see three separate opportunities for funding.
First, Chalkboard expects to award three new CLASS design grants in 2012. These smaller grants allow districts to bring a group of educators together to do initial design work around the components.
WHAT IS A ‘VALUE-ADDED MODEL’ AND HOW IS ‘VAM’ BEING USED IN OREGON?
We are continuing our webinar series with a conversation about value-added models–a complex statistical tool for measuring student growth. The discussion will include an explanation of what VAM is, how it is different than other measures of school performance, and a bit of national and local context around how it is being used in education.
Each of these virtual brown bags are designed to provide you with relevant news about education issues and to hear first-hand accounts of ongoing developments from local, state and national policy experts and educators.
JOIN US FOR THIS CONVERSATION.
TOPIC: What is a value-added model?
WHEN: Wednesday, February 22, 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM
WHERE: Join us online at http://bit.ly/yFz1V4
A few weeks ago when a small group of CLASS leaders had the opportunity to meet with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan they took the time to be candid with him about CLASS Project as well as the challenges and opportunities of the federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant. See more photos on our Facebook page.
- Terrell Smith, Sherwood School District, speaking to Secretary Duncan.
Chalkboard has been working with districts through the CLASS Project for over four years, but the Teacher Incentive Fund grant is relatively new to Oregon. We helped seven Oregon districts apply for the TIF funds in 2010 as a way to fund their CLASS Project work. With its focus on a comprehensive system for supporting effective educators through expanded career paths, relevant professional development, effective performance evaluations and new compensation models CLASS was a good fit to receive TIF funding. We were pleased to receive $24.4 million for five years of planning and implementation.
Although CLASS is the foundation of TIF in the seven districts that received federal funds, the federal grant has its own specific requirements and timelines. Here’s a quick chart that describes some of those differences: (more…)