Gut Check: Do You Have a Great Job?


Reposted from U.S. New & World Report:

This time of year may get you thinking and talking with family and friends about 2015, resolutions and future plans, both related and unrelated to work. It’s a good time to really explore how you feel about your job. Perhaps there’s one person you don’t particularly like. Or maybe your manager isn’t giving you the opportunities or salary you think you deserve.

It is very rare to get all the things you want in a job. There are some perks you have to let go and compromise on, just like in a relationship with a significant other. What’s important is to figure out what combination of circumstances you can put up with and what you really cannot. What is it you really dislike about work, and what is it you like? Write it down in two columns: “like” and “dislike.” You need to know yourself well to understand what makes you tick.

Or you may want to add a one-to-10 scale to your list. “One” would mean intolerable – makes you shake with rage – and “10” would mean completely satisfied. Then you can add up the points you’ve given to each thing on your list and see if the “likes” or “dislikes” win. The result will depend on how you view, react to and deal with people and situations. If you come across any of the circumstances listed below in your “like” column, you may not need the change you’ve been thinking about so soon…

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2014 Teacher Trendlines


Reposted from the NCTQ Digest:

As the year draws to a close, we look back on the most talked about Teacher Trendlines from 2014. We covered everything from teacher salaries to leave policies and in this edition, we highlight some of the most popular Teacher Trendlines from the past year.

Just as it was in 2013, our most popular Teacher Trendline in 2014 covered teacher salaries, highlighting those districts with the lowest and highest salaries for teachers with a BA and MA. But this year’s teacher salary coverage had a twist— we looked at the purchasing power of teacher salaries in the context of housing affordability.

In addition to teacher salaries, other 2014 trendlines covered include declines in student enrollment, teacher leave policies, teacher excessing and placement, teacher tenure and substitute teachers.

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2015: The Year of the Teacher

2015 statue

In 2010, I made the call for a Decade of Educational Transformation, framing the challenge facing educators in meeting the demands of the information age. Today, at the midpoint of the d.e.t., I invite colleagues everywhere to make 2015 the Year of the Teacher. Please read on…

To all my colleagues living the higher calling of a human potential professional:

WHEREAS, we stand on the precipice of deep societal and institutional changes, wherein every aspect of daily life is transformed, and the ways we learn, work and live are highly streamlined, automated and personalized; and

2015 your yearWHEREAS, education is the single most critical institution providing equitable access of opportunity to all children and their families, engaging each child through experiences and resources that support and challenge their curiosity, provide for their health and safety, and prepare them to be future-ready to inherit a new age; and

WHEREAS, teachers are the key component within the institution of education, knowing and working with each child, in each classroom, in each school, in each neighborhood, in each community, in each state, province and country around the world, preparing every child to contribute to a highly integrated, interdependent, collaborative, global knowledge economy; and

WHEREAS, the work that needs to be accomplished to transform education in this decade is already taking place in classrooms around the world, with educators at all levels modeling the values, attitudes, skills and habits required to be successful in the global knowledge economy; and

WHEREAS, this work continues in 2015, moving forward into the second half of this decade of educational transformation;

NOW THEREFORE, LET IT BE PROCLAIMED THAT THE YEAR 2015 IS THE YEAR OF THE TEACHER, with a focus on the work of transforming our profession, our classrooms and 2015 laurelssociety, so that our children are fully prepared to embrace their fast-approaching and fast-changing future.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED THAT IN THIS YEAR OF THE TEACHER, all educators will work together to find common ground and common purpose in championing what is best for children and their future, putting it before all other causes, concerns and priorities, so that every child will embrace a lifetime love of learning, experiencing justice, equity and hope, so that they can address the true sources of pestilence in our world: war, poverty, disease and ecological extinction.

LET IT FINALLY BE RESOLVED THAT BY THE CONCLUSION OF THE YEAR OF THE TEACHER, the education profession reaches a critical mass in empowering teachers to complete the transformation of education, wherein all children are successful learning and growing to reach their full potential by meeting their personal needs and interests to make it so; where schools are centers of hope and each child’s education is embedded in authentic, meaningful work within personalized learning networks across the global community.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, let us hereunto bring our hands and hearts together this day of December, two thousand fourteen, to commemorate the YEAR OF THE TEACHER, commencing on the first of January, two thousand fifteen, not ceasing our efforts until the transformation of our profession is complete. So say I; so may say we all.

Please share this proclamation with colleagues and stakeholders everywhere. [PDF]

2015 cup orange bg


NASSP Rejects Value-Added Assessment

The word 'Worth' highlighted in green, under the heading 'Value'

Reposted from the Washington Post:

Even as the Obama administration keeps extending its support for using standardized test scores for high-stakes decisions — see its new draft proposals to rate colleges of education based on the test scores of the graduates’ students — a national principals group is taking a stand against it.

The Board of Directors of the National Association of Secondary School Principals has given preliminary approval to  a statement that rejects  linking educators’ jobs and pay to standardized test scores that are plopped into a formula that can supposedly determine exactly how much “value” an individual educator has added to students’ academic growth.

Last April, the  Statistical Association, the largest organization in the United States representing statisticians and related professionals, said in a report that value-added scores “do not directly measure potential teacher contributions toward other student outcomes” and that they “typically measure correlation, not causation,” noting that “effects — positive or negative — attributed to a teacher may actually be caused by other factors that are not captured in the model.” After the report’s release, I asked the Education Department if Education Secretary Arne Duncan was reconsidering his support for value-added measures, and the answer was no.

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Inspire! Challenge! Excite! [VIDEO 7:23]

Derek Muller explores why many technologies have promised to revolutionize education, but so far none has. Now there is a glut of information and video on the internet so should we expect it to revolutionize education? This video makes the case it won’t, because technology is not inherently superior, animations over static graphics, videoed presentations over live lectures etc. and learning is inherently a social activity, interacting with others. “The job of  teachers is to inspire…to challenge….to excite. The most important thing a teacher does it to make every student feel like they are important…and to make them accountable for their learning.”

Teacher Prep Programs Require More Rigor


Reposted from the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Are teacher-training programs rigorous enough? A new study, completed by a group that has long been critical of the quality of teacher preparation, makes the case that they’re not. Education students face easier coursework than their peers in other departments, according to the study, and they’re more likely to graduate with honors.

The report [PDF] —”Easy A’s and What’s Behind Them,” which is to be released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality—argues that a more-objective curriculum for teaching candidates would better prepare them for careers in the classroom. “We’re out to improve training,” said Julie Greenberg, the report’s co-author, who is a senior policy analyst for teacher-preparation studies for the advocacy group. “We want teacher candidates to be more confident and competent when they get in the classroom so their students can benefit from that.”

The council examined more than 500 institutions and found that 30 percent of all their graduating students earned honors. But when it came to education programs, 44 percent of students did so. It also analyzed syllabi across multiple majors to determine whether their assignments were “criterion-referenced” (that is, explicitly knowledge- or skill-based) or “criterion-deficient” (that is, subjective). It found that criterion-deficient assignments were more common in teacher-preparation classes than in other disciplines.

Read the full report here.

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Respected Teacher Sues State Over ‘Ineffective’ Evaluation Label


Reposted from the Washington Post:

Sheri G. Lederman has been teaching for 17 years as a fourth-grade teacher  in New York’s Great Neck Public School district. Her students consistently  outperform state averages on math and English standardized tests, and  Thomas Dolan, the superintendent of Great Neck schools, signed an affidavit saying “her record is flawless” and that “she is highly regarded as an educator.” Yet somehow, when Lederman received her 2013-14 evaluation, which is based in part on student standardized test scores, she was rated as “ineffective.” Now she has sued state officials over the method they used to make this determination in an action that could affect New York’s controversial teacher evaluation system.

The evaluation method, known as value-added modeling, or VAM, purports to be able to predict through a complicated computer model how students with similar characteristics are supposed to perform on the exams — and how much growth they are supposed to show over time — and then rate teachers on how much their students compare to the theoretical students. New York is just one of the many states where VAM is one of the chief components used to evaluate teachers.

The lawsuit shows that Lederman’s students traditionally perform much higher on math and English Language Arts standardized tests than average fourth-grade classes in the state. In 2012-13, 68.75 percent of her students met or exceeded state standards in both English and math. She was labeled “effective” that year. In 2013-14, her students’ test results were very similar but she was rated “ineffective.”

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