Race to the Top winners announced:
To see my School Reform Resource Page, see www.tilsonfunds.com/Personal/SchoolReform. To be added to my school reform email list, email me at WTilson at tilsonfunds.com.
Putting so much money up for grabs in round two "sets up the best possible dynamics for states," said Charles Barone, the director of federal legislation for the New York City-based political action committee Democrats for Education Reform. He noted that states now have the added benefit of seeing peer reviewers' comments, which will provide a road map for winning in round two.
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
Monday, March 29, 2010
AN AGREEMENT has been reached that will allow a high-performing charter school to continue its critical work in Baltimore. But the good news -- that the teachers union softened its demands -- raises the question of why this ever was allowed to become an issue. How come Maryland gives special interests the power to undermine student interests? And isn't it time lawmakers change a policy that makes it hard for charter schools to be effective?
The KIPP Ujima Village Academy, the most successful public middle school in Baltimore, had to cut back its hours this year and lay off some staff because it couldn't afford union demands that it pay teachers an extra 33 percent for working more hours than other city teachers. KIPP officials threatened to pull out of the city, because the longer hours and Saturday academies that were key to the school's success in lifting the performance of inner-city children had become targets of the outlandish demands of the Baltimore Teachers Union.
That threat got national attention and, to the credit of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, the two sides ended up at the bargaining table. The agreement announced this month provides for extra pay to teachers of 20.5 percent, a figure more in keeping with what other KIPP schools provide. The union's concessions are commendable. But we can't help but lament the valuable instruction time that has been lost this year or wonder what happens in a year when -- outside the glare of publicity -- the agreement must be renegotiated.
The real problem is the law requiring charter school teachers to belong to the union in their school districts and be subject to local contracts. Maryland is one of the few states with such an unreasonable requirement, and the result is the loss of autonomy that is central to the ability of charters to design environments that support student needs. It's clear from the timid education initiatives of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), and from their further dilution by the General Assembly, that the state's dominant Democrats are not inclined to do anything to rile organized labor in an election year. That means Maryland will continue to have one of America's worst charter school regimes.
by James Merriman on March 29, 2010
On Friday afternoon, unionized teachers, staff and leaders at The Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights took a long subway ride after school let out to picket and march. No story there—union members are no stranger to collective action. The twist here is that they marched in front of UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway, protesting the UFT's anti-charter school policies. Union members marching against their own union is a rare sight indeed, particularly when it is a group of teachers and staff who deeply and profoundly believe in the ideals of unionism.
The Renaissance teachers have been betrayed by their own union. Despite paying dues—and maybe even more importantly, embodying the very essence of teacher voice deployed in the furtherance of student achievement (and not just their own paychecks) that the UFT always talks about—the UFT has more or less told Renaissance's teachers to eat cake: the UFT backed last year's unfair, disproportionate double cut funding freeze on charter schools; and despite promises from its former President, it refuses to advocate on these teachers' behalf this year. Moreover, the UFT has been the prime impetus behind ensuring that charter schools do not access public space and that charter school growth is limited so as not to threaten the union's political power. This, despite the fact that the funding freeze will hurt the schools that are unionized far more immediately and grievously.
It's not that the UFT hates its unionized members. It doesn't—at least as long as they are quiescent and willing to take one for the team. Rather, it's a simple matter of numbers and political clout. Michael Mulgrew gets elected by the hundreds of thousands of members who either dislike or don't care about charter schools; Renaissance and other unionized teachers in charters can't match those numbers. And elections are nothing if not numbers games. As that old saying goes: "It's just business." Or, as Michael Mulgrew has consoled them—no worries, they can always raise private funds.
As I have watched the teachers unions ignore their members, here and upstate, it occurs to me that maybe the UFT and NYSUT need a little competition to remember why they exist. No better man for the job exists than Andy Stern, a visionary and energetic national labor leader of the SEIU, someone who unlike AFT and NEA leaders, is actually welcome at the White House.
Word is that Stern and Weingarten have a kind of mutual non-aggression pact when it comes to New York State. But given that the UFT has turned its back on its members (while skillfully deploying a knife in theirs), maybe it's time for Mr. Stern to reconsider and come calling. I have no doubt that he has some passionate, courageous, wonderfully professional teachers who would be happy to meet with him.
Around the globe, it's mostly girls who lack educational opportunities. Even in the United States, many people still associate the educational "gender gap" with girls left behind in math.
Yet these days, the opposite problem has sneaked up on us: In the United States and other Western countries alike, it is mostly boys who are faltering in school. The latest surveys show that American girls on average have roughly achieved parity with boys in math. Meanwhile, girls are well ahead of boys in verbal skills, and they just seem to try harder.
The National Honor Society says that 64 percent of its members — outstanding high school students — are girls. Some colleges give special help to male applicants — yes, that's affirmative action for white males — to avoid skewed sex ratios.
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: March 27, 2010
For example, the relationship between happiness and income is complicated, and after a point, tenuous. It is true that poor nations become happier as they become middle-class nations. But once the basic necessities have been achieved, future income is lightly connected to well-being. Growing countries are slightly less happy than countries with slower growth rates, according to Carol Graham of the Brookings Institution and Eduardo Lora. The United States is much richer than it was 50 years ago, but this has produced no measurable increase in overall happiness. On the other hand, it has become a much more unequal country, but this inequality doesn't seem to have reduced national happiness.
On a personal scale, winning the lottery doesn't seem to produce lasting gains in well-being. People aren't happiest during the years when they are winning the most promotions. Instead, people are happy in their 20's, dip in middle age and then, on average, hit peak happiness just after retirement at age 65.
People get slightly happier as they climb the income scale, but this depends on how they experience growth. Does wealth inflame unrealistic expectations? Does it destabilize settled relationships? Or does it flow from a virtuous cycle in which an interesting job produces hard work that in turn leads to more interesting opportunities?
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: March 29, 2010
What a HUGE disappointment this ruling is. In a city in which HUNDREDS of schools need to be closed for chronic educational malpractice, a judge has thrown a wrench in the process of closing a mere 19. I read the entire decision (http://gothamschools.org/2010/03/26/court-overturns-closures-of-19-city-schools/#more-35516) and it's clear that the DOE didn't cross some t's and dot some i's, but the judge shouldn't have stopped the closure. Hopefully it will be quickly overturned:
A judge on Friday halted a plan to close 19 New York City schools, a ruling that could place New York state in an unflattering light as it competes for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Race to the Top funding.
…"It's very unfortunate that in order to protect jobs, the union is trying to force kids to go to what are clearly failing schools," said Mr. Klein. "I think it goes against the clear thrust" of what the Obama administration has been advocating—to close "the bottom 5% of schools, the dropout factories."
…"It's clear now that the mayor and the chancellor don't have as much control over what happens in their schools as they thought they did," said Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, which advocates closing persistently low-performing schools.
The lawsuit seeking to block the closure of 19 failing schools was filed by (surprise!) the union, which once again put the interests of its members ahead of what's best for kids. No wonder the crowd turned on Randi and her two colleagues after Terry Moe, Larry Sand and Rod Paige revealed the truth about the union's behavior at the recent debate. I read the entire transcript (http://intelligencesquaredus.org/wp-content/uploads/Teachers-Unions-031610.pdf) and there's some great stuff. Here's Terry Moe's opening statement:
Thank you very much. It's great to be here. I want to thank Intelligence Squared for
arranging this event and for putting the spotlight on what, in my view, is the most
important issue in American education today, the power of the teachers unions. I should
be clear that our team is not saying that the teachers unions are responsible for every
problem of the public schools. What we are saying is that the unions are and have long
been major obstacles to real reform in the system. And we're hardly alone in saying this.
If you read "Newsweek," "Time Magazine," the "Washington Post," lots of other well-respected
publications, they're all saying the same thing: that the teachers unions are
standing in the way of progress.
So look. Let me start with an obvious example. The
teachers unions have fought for all sorts of protections in labor contracts and in state laws
that make it virtually impossible to get bad teachers out of the classroom. On average, it
takes two years, $200,000, and 15% of the principal's total time to get one bad teacher out
of the classroom. As a result, principals don't even try. They give 99% of teachers -- no
joke -- satisfactory evaluations. The bad teachers just stay in the classroom. Well, if we
figure that maybe 5% of the teachers, that's a conservative estimate, are bad teachers
nationwide, that means that 2.5 million kids are stuck in classrooms with teachers who
aren't teaching them anything. This is devastating. And the unions are largely
responsible for that.
They're also responsible for seniority provisions in these labor
contracts that among other things often allow senior teachers to stake a claim to desirable
jobs, even if they're not good teachers and even if they're a bad fit for that school. The
seniority rules often require districts to lay off junior people before senior people. It's
happening all around the country now. And some of these junior people are some of the
best teachers in the district. And some of the senior people that are being saved are the
worst. Okay. So just ask yourself, would anyone in his right mind organize schools in
this way, if all they cared about was what's best for kids? And the answer is no. But this
is the way our schools are actually organized. And it's due largely to the power of the
unions. Now, these organizational issues are really important, but they're just part of a
larger set of problems. Our nation has been trying to reform the schools since the early
1980s. And the whole time the teachers' unions have used their extraordinary power in
the political process to try to block reform and make sure that real reform just never
Consider charter schools. There are many kids around this country who are
stuck in schools that just aren't teaching them. They need new options. Well, charter
schools can provide them with those options. But charter schools are a threat to teachers'
unions. If you give kids choice and they can leave regular public schools, then they take
money and they take jobs with them. And that's what the teachers' unions want to stop.
So what they've done is they've used their power in the political process to put a ceiling
on the numbers of charter schools. As a result in this country today, we have 4,600
charter schools. There are like well over 90,000 public schools. So this is a drop in the
bucket. And mean time charter schools have huge waiting lists of people who are
desperate to get in. In Harlem, for example, the charter schools there got 11,000
applications for 2,000 slots recently.
So just to give you an idea of about how the politics
of this works out, in Detroit a few years ago, a benefactor came forth and said he was
willing to donate $200 million to set up additional charter schools for the kids in Detroit
who obviously need it. What did the union do? The union went ballistic. They shut
down the schools, went to Lansing, demonstrated in the state capitol and got the
politicians to turn down the $200 million for those kids. This is good for kids? I don't
think so. This is about protecting jobs.
The same kind of logic applies with
accountability. Accountability is just common sense. We obviously need to hold schools
and teachers accountability for teaching kids what they're supposed to know. But the
teachers' unions find this threatening. They say they support accountability but they don't
want teachers held accountable. Any sensible effort to hold teachers accountable, they
brand as scapegoating teachers. They don't even want teachers performance to be
measured. Right here in New York City, Joel Klein indicated a while ago that he was
going to use student test scores as one factor in evaluating teachers for tenure. What did
the union do? Now, this is something that Obama supports, that Arne Duncan supports.
It's unbelievable. What the union did is they went to Albany and they got their friends in
the legislature to pass a law making it illegal to use student test scores in evaluating
teachers for tenure anywhere in the state of New York. It's just outrageous. And makes
no sense from the standpoint of what's best for kids. The "New York Times" called it
absurd. This is how the unions approach accountability.
Okay, well, I don't have a
whole lot of time left here. So let me just quickly say our opponents are going to say
tonight, and Randi has already said, there is really no conflict between standing up for the
jobs of teachers and doing what's best for kids. But the thing is there is a conflict. And
that's why we can't get bad teachers out of the classroom, because they protect them.
That's why the schools have totally perverse organizations imposed on them, and that's
why totally sensible reforms are seriously resisted in the political process. Now, what
you're going to hear, I'm sure, throughout the evening is that union leaders and unions
around the country, they're actually reformers too. They want to get bad teachers out of
the classroom. They say they're for charter schools; they're all in favor of accountability.
Well, not really. Talk is cheap. What counts is what they actually do. And what they do
is to oppose reform. This is the reality. Thank you.
And here's Larry Sand's closing statement:
Okay, thank you, John. And thank you, Mr. Rosenkranz, I think this is a wonderful
forum, and I'm very appreciative to be a part of it. Yesterday, March 15th was a day of
reckoning for many teachers across the country. In a bad economy, that's when the letters
of possible layoffs also known as RIFs, reduction in force notices, go out to all teachers --
go out to teachers who might be losing their job. In my school's retirement lunch last
June -- there were more than retirees saying goodbye. We lost several of the hardest
working, most effective and popular young teachers on campus. Several teachers -- we
all know who they are. The kids know, the parents know, the teachers know -- should
have been the ones saying goodbye. But because of the union mandated seniority rules,
they weren't. As a parent, a grandparent or just a fair-minded person, don't you want your
child, any child, to be taught by the best teacher, not the longest employed teacher? Of
course you do. But that is not what happened in my school and other schools around the
Yes, the teachers unions are not the only problems with public education today,
but the extent of the damage they have caused cannot be exaggerated. In closing, to show
you how the twisted the situation really is, what could be more preposterous than this:
They go to great lengths to keep the misdirected and other sexual predators in the
classroom. The union hounded Jaime Escalante, one of the greatest teachers of our time,
out of the classroom and more recently destroyed the hopes and dreams of thousands of
poor children in Washington, D.C. Please join us in sending the teachers unions a
resounding message and vote no on your ballot. Thank you.
Finally, here's Terry Moe's closing statement:
Well, I think it's important here at the end to just focus on the big picture. And the big
picture is very simple, and it's very devastating. Here is what it comes down to. The
teachers unions are by far the most powerful groups in American education. And they
use their power mainly to protect jobs. And what they say is that there is really no
conflict between protecting jobs and doing what's best for kids. But there are conflicts,
lots of them, and as a result we can't get bad teachers out of the classroom, the schools
are burdened with truly perverse organizations, and fundamental reforms, good reforms
that make sense for kids, are resisted and undermined and weakened. So these are just
basic facts. Our opponents say that they want reforms too, that they want to get bad
teachers out of the classroom. We've heard that several times that they want choice, that
they want accountability, and my response is, "Hey, it's 2010. Where've you been? If
you wanted to get bad teachers out of the classroom, why didn't you do it 30 years ago?
Why do we have all these protections and state laws? Why weren't they aggressive about
it 30 years ago? Why are we even talking about it now?" Same thing with choice and
accountability, they could have been aggressive in supporting these things, pushing for
more choice, pushing for accountability. The reason we don't have them is that they've
been opposing them. So again, what counts is not what you say, it's what you do. So
here's the bottom line. You have an opportunity to show tonight where you stand, and so
you can send a message about this issue to the unions and you can send a message to the
nation as a whole. So please do that. Please vote, "No," on this proposal. It's important.
In trying to kill all charter schools, the union is screwing some of its own members – those who work at unionized charter schools – and they are fighting back:
UNIONIZED CHARTER SCHOOL TEACHERS TO PROTEST AGAINST THEIR OWN UNION OUTSIDE UFT HEADQUARTERS
Members Say UFT has Turned Back on Charter School Teachers and Students
On Friday, March 26th at 4 p.m. a group of UFT members that teach at New York City charter schools will be protesting against their own union charging that the UFT has turned its back on charter school teachers and students.
By supporting and actively pushing for a double cut to charter school funding, the UFT is calling for cuts to the pay and job-security of unionized teachers at charter schools across New York City. The group of UFT member charter school teachers believes the UFT is undermining the livelihoods of the very members its supposed to represent and hurting the very children they claim it is their mission to serve.
The protest and rally will take place outside UFT Headquarters at 50 Broadway in lower Manhattan.
WHO: UFT members and charter school teachers, parents and students.
WHAT: UFT charter school teachers protest and rally against UFT for turning its back on charter school teachers and students.
WHERE: UFT Headquarters – 50 Broadway, NY, NY
WHEN: Friday, March 26th at 4 p.m.
The NAEP reading scores came out recently and showed no progress over the past two years. Critics like Ravitch will point to this and say it's evidence that NCLB (and all efforts at reform) have failed – but they're exactly wrong. What it shows is that watered-down reforms – like NCLB's fatal flow of allowing states to set their own bar, resulting in nearly all of them engaging in a race to the bottom – need to be MUCH stronger:
A report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that fourth-grade scores for the nation's public schools stagnated after the law took effect in 2002, rose modestly in 2007 and remained unchanged last year. By contrast, the long-troubled D.C. schools have made steady advances since 2003, although their scores remain far below the national average.
The national picture for eighth-grade reading was largely the same: a slight uptick in performance since 2007, but no gain in the seven years when President George W. Bush's program for school reform was in high gear. The District's eighth-grade reading scores showed meager growth in that time.
When Bush signed the law, hopes were high for a revolution in reading. Billions of dollars were spent, especially in early grades, to build fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and a love of books that would propel students in all subjects. The goal was to eliminate racial and ethnic achievement gaps. But Wednesday's report shows no great leaps for the nation and stubborn disparities in performance between white and black students, among others.
Reading scores stalled under 'No Child' law, report finds D.C. fourth-graders a bright spot in disappointing 2009 data
By Nick Anderson and Bill Turque
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 25, 2010; A01
As evidence for what REAL reform can do, check out Washington DC's continued amazing gains under Michelle Rhee:
The 5-point jump in fourth grade reading scores in D.C. was more interesting, if for no other reason than Rhee's approval ratings have been falling in surveys of D.C. residents. Some people thought Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) might dump her to get reelected this year, or might himself lose the election because of that growing unhappiness with her aggressive management style. But a 5-point score jump at a time when the national scores are flat is more than enough to keep Rhee safe for another year or two at least, if she wants to keep the job, which she says she does.
A great article about how important it is to lay off teachers by merit, not seniority:
Across the country, tight state budgets are forcing dramatic cuts in education. Some districts have laid off hundreds of teachers. Others have shut down schools. Last week, for example, California issued pink slips to almost 22,000 teachers. But states and districts could take a smarter, more effective approach in trimming education budgets, particularly when it comes to teacher layoffs. Most use a "last hired, first fired" approach that does not look at teacher effectiveness. The result is that many schools could end up pushing out some of their highest-performing teachers while keeping their least effective ones.
This problem is much deeper than the issue of teacher layoffs. Far too few schools and districts focus their reform efforts on improving teacher effectiveness.
According to a new report by the Center for American Progress, many teachers essentially have jobs for life because of the tremendous challenges of removing ineffective teachers. Indeed, most districts fire only about 1 percent of tenured teachers a year for poor performance.
But we know some teachers should not be teaching. While most educators work to meet student needs, a recent survey of teachers found that almost 60 percent said there were educators in their schools who failed to do good work and were just going through the motions.
Improve education, fire bad teachers
Kristof with some good points:
Here's a peek at some of the interventions that seem to make a difference (and there are many more):
• High-quality early childhood programs, before kids get behind. Much-studied examples include the Perry Preschool program in Michigan in the 1960s and the Abecedarian Project in North Carolina in the 1970s. Both worked with impoverished children who had much better outcomes than control groups. For example, those who had been through the Perry program were — as adults, decades later — only half as likely to go on welfare and much less likely to be arrested.
• Intensive efforts in the ninth grade (which is well known as education's Bermuda triangle, swallowing up poor students). A program called Talent Development in Philadelphia gave ninth graders a double dose of math and English and reduced absenteeism and significantly improved performance for at least the next couple of years. Tentative results suggest it is also improving high school graduation rates.
• Career academies. These keep students engaged in high school by teaching around career themes and partnering with local employers to give kids work experience. Eight years of follow-up research suggests that graduates are more likely to hold jobs and earn more money.
• Jobs programs. One of the most successful is the "jobs-plus" demonstration, which trains people living in public housing to get jobs and gives them extra incentives to keep them. Participants thrive — and the gains continue even years later, after the program ends.
The two most important interventions seem to be education and jobs. Schooling programs pay off from early childhood all the way through community college.
March 25, 2010
Sadly, this expose by the Chicago Tribune about favoritism toward the politically connected in Chicago is, I hear, true in many, many cities. It's a travesty that someone with political connections can get their kid out of a bad school and into a good school. But if a kid in a bad school wants to transfer out under the transfer provisions of NCLB, they're usually told they can't because there are no seats in good schools – this leads to the worst kind of sorting. It reminds me of the story I heard from a KIPP school leader (not in NYC): that the day after the lottery, he gets calls from politicians asking him to break the law and get the politician's child/niece/nephew into the school – and in a truly ironic twist, it's often the very politicians who oppose charters and are trying to KILL his school! Ya simply can't make up hypocrisy of this magnitude…
While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.
Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city's premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan's office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.
The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan's tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley's office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.
Non-connected parents, such as those who sought spots for their special-needs child or who were new to the city, also appear on the log. But the politically connected make up about three-quarters of those making requests in the documents obtained by the Tribune.
8:21 a.m. CDT, March 23, 2010
This pretty well captures ed schools, 70% of which can't be fixed and should be shut down according to Arthur Levine, the former president of Columbia Teachers College (see www.edschools.org/reports_leaders.htm; for more on ed schools, see http://edreform.blogspot.com/2007/11/searing-and-well-deserved-indictment-of.html and http://edreform.blogspot.com/2007/11/coments-on-ed-school-quality.html):
Lake Wobegon has nothing on the UW-Madison School of Education. All of the children in Garrison Keillor's fictional Minnesota town are "above average." Well, in the School of Education they're all A students.
The 1,400 or so kids in the teacher-training department soared to a dizzying 3.91 grade point average on a four-point scale in the spring 2009 semester.
This was par for the course, so to speak. The eight departments in Education (see below) had an aggregate 3.69 grade point average, next to Pharmacy the highest among the UW's schools. Scrolling through the Registrar's online grade records is a discombobulating experience, if you hold to an old-school belief that average kids get C's and only the really high performers score A's.
Much like a modern-day middle school honors assembly, everybody's a winner at the UW School of Education. In its Department of Curriculum and Instruction (that's the teacher-training program), 96% of the undergraduates who received letter grades collected A's and a handful of A/B's. No fluke, another survey taken 12 years ago found almost exactly the same percentage.
A host of questions are prompted by the appearance of such brilliance. Can all these apprentice teachers really be that smart? Is there no difference in their abilities? Why do the grades of education majors far outstrip the grades of students in the physical sciences and mathematics? (Take a look at the chart below.)
The UW-Madison School of Education has no small amount of influence on the Madison School District. Posted by Jim Zellmer at March 22, 2010 1:22 PM
A few weeks ago, I shared some recent developments regarding Teach For America's federal funding for 2011, which is critical to our work. Now I'm writing with a short update on our progress to date and to share some additional ways for you to get involved.
We've just finished reading the applications to Teach For America this year, and they represent an extraordinary and diverse group of people-nearly 47,000 people, including 20 percent of Spelman seniors, 10 percent of Morehouse seniors, 7 percent of seniors from Michigan, 12 percent of all Ivy league seniors, and 25 and 20 percent of all African American and Latino Ivy League seniors, respectively. We won't be able to accept many of the incredible people who we would have accepted any other year-people who we all want and need teaching children next year.
In this context, the main limitation we're facing to expanding our impact is financial. Securing a reliable stream of federal funding is critical to our growth. Decisions made in D.C. this spring will determine the scale and scope of our impact in 2011 and beyond.
Earlier this month, with help from supporters like you, our executive directors and Government Affairs team connected directly with dozens of Members of Congress to build support for a $50 million federal appropriation for Teach For America in FY11. At the same time, nearly 1,000 people called their Members of Congress to ask them to support our budget request. In the end, 71 Representatives signed a letter of support, and there was a direct positive relationship between the number of calls a Representative received and the likelihood that he or she signed our letter. The results were inspiring and encouraging-but there is more work to do.
Now our campaign moves to the Senate. Again, we'd like your help connecting directly with Senators, particularly relevant appropriators. You can also participate in and help promote our grassroots campaign, which now includes the ability to directly e-mail your Senators to ask for their support.
Thanks for all you have done to support this crucial campaign, and for all you do to support our corps members and alumni in their work to expand educational opportunity in communities nationwide. Please drop me a note anytime with any questions.
Key Members of Congress
Tom Harkin, IA (chairman)
Daniel Inouye, HI
Herb Kohl, WI
Patty Murray, WA
Mary Landrieu, LA
Richard Durbin, IL
Jack Reed, RI
Mark Pryor, AR
Arlen Specter, PA
Thad Cochran, MS (ranking member)
Judd Gregg, NH
Kay Bailey Hutchison, TX
Richard Shelby, AL
Lamar Alexander, TN
Leadership and Other Key Members
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Majority Leader
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chair
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Republican Senate Campaign Committee Chair
Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member, HELP Committee
The next phase of very hard work now begins – that of enrolling all those who are eligible through every possible means at the federal, state and local levels. But today we bask in a huge step forward after a very hard fought series of battles. You helped make it possible and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Millions of children will be better off because what you did.
If this bill in FL passes, it will ROCK the ed world – I just hope it's written in a way that evaluates teachers fairly. Nobody is a bigger champion than I of using student test scores to evaluate teachers (and principals, schools, ed schools, etc.), but tests alone are a very crude tool (especially when the tests are poorly designed). There needs to a balanced, robust teacher evaluation system in place.
In a major shift, the salaries of Florida's 167,000 teachers could soon be tied to student test scores, rather than seniority and education level.
The state Senate on Wednesday approved a controversial bill by a 21-17 vote to dismantle teacher tenure, a decades-old system in which educators' pay is based on years of experience and whether they earn upper-level degrees.