TQ News Extra - October 29

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TQ NewsExtra

Week of October 27, 2014

teacher and student.jpg

District Matters

In Denver Public Schools, there is a greater emphasis on teaching English language learners (ELLs). Due to a policy passed last year, all Denver teachers must receive certification to teach ELL students. As the Denver Post reports, teachers take courses based on a curriculum the district created in partnership with the University of Colorado Denver, but ultimately “school principals decide what level of certification their teachers need to get.” 

State Matters

As the Oklahoma Dept. of Ed. seeks to address its teacher shortage, officials are once again requesting an increase in teacher pay in exchange for an additional five days of work. State Superintendent Jane Barresi is lobbying state legislators for an across-the-board salary increase of $2,500. But, as expected, the request comes with a high price tag. The Tulsa World reports that the increase will cost the state “$213.4 million, including the cost of the five additional school days” plus associated benefits including taxes and retirement contributions. 

“While I recognize that there are far worse things in the world to make an error about, this is a big deal for educators...I do give credit to the Department for acting responsibly.” That’s from an Ohio district superintendent, commenting on an error by the state’s contractor matching student scores to the appropriate teachers in some cases. The Plain Dealer reported that the Ohio Department of Education subsequently decided to take down the teacher value-added scores until the error is fixed. 

Teacher Prep

For the past two years, the Education Department has been developing a regulation to reward quality teacher prep programs and drive poor quality ones “out of business.” Politico Morning Education takes a look at what the deal is with recent delays on the release of new regulations. 

Performance exams are all but ubiquitous in other professions but, until relatively recently, such exams have been elusive in the world of teacher preparation. While the ed Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) is the most notable attempt to date, Stephen Sawchuk reports on a new performance exam for aspiring teachers, the National Observational Teaching Exam (NOTE), under development by TeachingWorks and Educational Testing Service (ETS). Unlike the edTPA and the Praxis Performance Assessments for Teachers (PPAT), a separate performance assessment from ETS, the NOTE attempts to “gauge a candidate’s teaching skills in real time.” 

New Ed Research

Maria Donovan Fitzpatrick from the National Bureau of Economic Research asks the following question in a working paper - how much are public school teachers willing to pay for their retirement benefits? Turns out employees are willing to pay 20 cents, on average, for a dollar increase in the present value of expected retirement benefits. This evidence suggests that, at the margin, public employees would prefer increases in current salary to increases in pension benefits of the same present discounted value. Got that? For more details click here.

In Other Ed News

Interested in the nitty gritty of district operations? The Council of Great City School has got you covered. Last week, the group released their report, Managing for Results in America’s Great City Schools, which establishes a series of key performance indicators covering everything from procurement to compensation, in order to help urban district leaders benchmark and improve operations. 

Four years after The Equity Project (TEP) charter school revealed a new plan to raise base teacher salary to $125,000 with the possibility of earning up to $25,000 more in bonuses, Dick Startz checks in on whether this plan did any good. He covers how those budget-busting paychecks add up in today’s blog and will continue the conversation on Friday via his blog, Profit of Education