TQB: Teacher Quality Bulletin Newsletter


Some states are setting the pace for a big win in the coming years. The progress has been nothing short of stupendous! While we're inclined to put our money on the front runners, don't rule out a dark horse.



Let's all pat ourselves on the back. States are stepping up!

This year's Yearbook paints an impressive picture of state progress in improving teacher policies. It's a tight race for gold among a handful of southern states for first place including Florida, Tennessee, and Louisiana, but Montana, on the other hand, has yet to get off the couch. We're looking forward to seeing which state will be the first to take home an 'A' in the next edition. Also be sure to check out the new interactive maps on our refurbished State Policy pages. The new built-in share function lets you email, Facebook and Tweet customized information specific to your state. Compare states in certain policy areas, or just see how states stack up nationally, but be sure to share it. We want to see more of our maps on Twitter and Facebook.

NCTQ Audit Panel for Teacher Prep Review grows

Two research heavyweights have just joined NCTQ's Audit Panel, a group of serious ed wonks who make sure we're on top of our game with strong research processes. Welcome to Mark Schneider and Grover "Russ" Whitehurst. Schneider is the former U.S. Commissioner of Education Statistics and currently a vice president at the American Institutes of Research. Whitehurst directs the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution and, as the founding director of the Institute for Educational Sciences, he is credited with having a transformational impact on the quality and rigor of research disseminated by the U.S. Department of Education.



Trial and error in the trenches

In the month following the release of our classroom management report, numerous teachers have taken up the fight, spoken out about the importance of classroom management, and demanded more from their teacher prep programs. Here we'd like to highlight four powerful op-eds written by teachers who speak from first-hand experience....

Beth Panitz: "Classroom management has always been the toughest part of teaching. . . As one teacher described it, 'trial and error in the trenches' was simply how classroom management was learned." (Baltimore Sun)

Stephanie Hofacket: "After spending four years and thousands of dollars in an education program, new teachers should be trained with the same classroom management skills I've spent nine years cultivating." (Las Cruces Sun-News)

Katelynn Patterson: "The most striking part about this hole in teacher preparation programs is that classroom management is the backbone to an effective learning environment." (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Maria Mendez: "Classrooms are changing, the teaching profession is changing and traditional teacher prep has done little to keep up." (Sun Sentinel, Miami)


When walkthroughs fail: New research on principals' instructional leadership

Conventional education wisdom dictates that one of a principal's main duties is to be an instructional leader. A new study looks at what this term really means and whether a principal's instructional leadership yields as much benefit to students' academic achievement as we've all been led to believe.

Tried the Hart and Risley app?

Angel Gonzalez, a new member of NCTQ's District Policy team, speaks from personal experience about preventing the "word gap." A recent NPR piece highlights an innovative approach that is focusing on "word gap" prevention by giving participating families small recording devices to calculate the number of words spoken and track dialogue between parents and children.

A new system for evaluating professional development

There is huge disparity between the large amount of time and money spent on professional development (PD) and the weak results seemingly produced by it. So how do we get better at determining if it's worth it? A recent article suggests that we throw out the current model of large and complex evaluations conducted over the long term, in favor of more small-scale and specific research at the early stages of development for PD programs. The biggest concerns presented by the authors involve greater coordination and expense for the implementation and evaluation of these programs without any output data for at least three years. But the benefits of knowing what works best and what is efficient at all schools may outweigh these concerns.



New York Times discusses teacher quality

After years of coming up short in the state legislature, ed reformers in California have moved the teacher quality battle to the courts. In one corner we have the heavyweight legal team that succeeded in overturning Cali's gay marriage ban. In the other, the state and teacher's unions are flexing their muscles to maintain the status quo. The prize in this fight is a do-over on state laws that govern teacher tenure, dismissal and layoffs ("last in, first out"). The New York Times covers the details.

Teacher prep programs can't be dry land practice

How can you learn to teach reading without actually working with students? Veteran teacher Colette Bennett takes this critical issue head-on in her article published by The Educator's Room. Calling on her experience in a graduate-level remedial reading course, she launches into tough topics: the lack of classrooms available for training teachers; the need for collaboration between teacher training programs and local classrooms; reconsidering the relevance of the knowledge and practices of teacher prep professors/instructors; and reflection on curriculum by college of education leadership.



Training our future teachers: Classroom management

This report examines traditional teacher preparation in classroom management, which is a struggle for many teachers, especially new ones. It studies over 100 programs, both elementary and secondary, graduate and undergraduate. The report identifies the classroom management strategies that garner the strongest research support and looks at the extent to which programs teach and offer practice in these strategies in instructional and clinical coursework, as well as in student teaching.

2013 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: National Summary

The State Teacher Policy Yearbook presents the most detailed analysis available of each state's performance against, and progress toward, a set of specific, research-based teacher policy goals aimed at helping states build a comprehensive policy framework in support of teacher effectiveness.

Teacher Quality Roadmap Revisited: Checking in on Springfield, Massachusetts

This is a follow-up study of teacher policies in Springfield Public Schools as a complement to the original report which was released in October 2011. The follow-up study focuses primarily on a review of the contract ratified in May 2013 between the Springfield Education Association and the Springfield School Committee.

< December 2013