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Race to the Top
January 30, 2018
Did new evaluations and weaker tenure make fewer people want to become teachers? A new study says yes
After states put in place new evaluation and tenure rules, fewer people were interested in the job, a new study suggests.
January 22, 2018
Tennesseans are about to get their first good look at candidates for governor on education
Voters will get to hear from all but one of the major candidates Tuesday evening during the first gubernatorial forum televised statewide.
a closer look
January 16, 2018
Fact-check: Weighing 7 claims from Betsy DeVos’s latest speech, from Common Core to PISA scores
Fact-checking seven claims that DeVos made during a recent speech.
DeVos on offense
January 16, 2018
DeVos criticizes Bush-Obama policies, saying it’s time to overhaul conventional schooling
One era of federal involvement in education is over, Betsy DeVos said Tuesday, in some of her most expansive public remarks since taking over the department last year.
five years in
November 15, 2017
Tennessee’s two big school turnaround experiments are yielding big lessons, researchers say
Five years in, Tennessee receives a report card of sorts from researchers who have closely followed its two primary models for improving struggling schools.
September 11, 2017
I covered Tennessee’s ed beat for Chalkbeat. Here’s what I learned.
Reporter Grace Tatter shares six things about public education that she learned on the job at the Statehouse — and now takes with her to graduate school.
August 9, 2017
Tennessee teachers are warming to evaluations as a tool to improve their work, survey says
The state’s latest educator survey shows that 75 percent of teachers found evaluations helpful last year in improving their teaching, almost double from 2012.
Secretary v. secretary
August 1, 2017
Arne Duncan criticizes Betsy DeVos on civil rights, says she hasn’t asked for his advice
When Arne Duncan became Secretary of Education, he asked his predecessors for advice. That’s why he’s disappointed that he hasn’t gotten a similar call from Betsy DeVos.
on the ground
May 8, 2017
In Memphis neighborhood hit hardest by ASD cuts, residents worry changes could hurt their students
State officials promise the job cuts won’t hit classrooms at Achievement Schools in Frayser, but residents aren't sure.
April 19, 2017
Drop TNReady scores from teacher evaluations, urge Shelby County leaders
The county's Board of Commissioners votes unanimously to urge the state to use TNReady results as only a “diagnostic” tool.
April 12, 2017
Teacher merit pay has merit when it comes to student scores, analysis shows
After years of conflicting studies about whether teacher incentive pay improves student performance, a Vanderbilt University analysis offers a conclusion — and suggestions.
Father of TVAAS
March 20, 2017
William Sanders, pioneer of controversial value-added model for judging teachers, dies
The Tennessee statistician and researcher came up with the nation’s first system for evaluating teachers based on student growth, kicking off a contentious debate.
January 19, 2017
Will Betsy DeVos change education as you know it? Probably not — but your state lawmakers could
The most important upcoming decisions about schools won’t be made by DeVos. They’ll happen in the state legislatures.
August 1, 2016
U.S. education chief gives Colorado kudos for early childhood efforts
Colorado got a high-profile pat on the back Monday with a visit from U.S. Secretary of Education John King, who lauded the state’s efforts to raise child care quality.
cracking the code
June 28, 2016
How Hillary Clinton wants to make computer science courses available to every kid in America
The presumptive Democratic nominee it promoting increased investment in STEM initiatives, but the political prospects (as usual) are unclear.
June 22, 2016
Why some districts are putting new emphasis on easing the transition to kindergarten
With long-term consequences for kindergartners who have trouble adjusting to school, there's a growing emphasis in Colorado and nationally on smoothing the transition.
May 24, 2016
As new federal education law looms, McQueen seeks input for Tennessee plan
The State Department of Education invites Tennesseans to share their ideas about how Tennessee should use leeway granted to states under the new federal education law.
Gauging a game changer
March 16, 2016
How $90 million from Bill Gates spurred sweeping changes in one school district
As an unprecedented six-year investment begins to dry up in Memphis schools, leaders seek to sustain the teacher quality reforms that have just begun to take root.
March 1, 2016
Here’s how test scores could count in teacher evaluations for first year of TNReady
If the legislature approves the governor's proposal, student test scores still will make up to 50 percent of evaluation scores in one way or another.
February 22, 2016
Report: For Memphians, ASD’s sullied image rooted in city’s racial history
Researchers charged with providing an impartial assessment of the district’s work conclude that the city's divisive racial history is a barrier to the state-run district's work.
February 19, 2016
Federal judge dismisses TEA lawsuit challenging TVAAS in teacher bonuses
The formula that Tennessee uses to rate teachers might be unfair — but it still can be used to decide whether they should get bonuses, a federal court has ruled.
February 16, 2016
Her honeymoon over as Tennessee ed chief, McQueen enters second year under the cloud of TNReady and with a mission to combat illiteracy
Improving communication has been a hallmark of McQueen's first year; managing the TNReady testing fiasco and addressing stagnant reading scores may consume the next.
December 22, 2015
Top 10 stories defining Tennessee education in 2015
From Race to the Top to pre-kindergarten to teacher pay, education was a hot topic in Tennessee.
A Look at the Legacy
December 15, 2015
As Tennessee finishes its Race to the Top, teachers caught in the middle of competing changes
Teachers grapple with the competing threads in Race to the Top's legacy: higher-stakes tests and a push for richer instruction.
December 8, 2015
Vanderbilt study: iZone more effective than ASD in turning around struggling schools thus far
A new study shows that iZones have had sizable positive effects on student test scores in Tennessee, while effects of the Achievement School District have been marginal.
October 29, 2015
When Arne Duncan visits Memphis, he’ll see part of his legacy as U.S. ed chief
The outgoing education secretary will see firsthand one of America's battleground cities in the movement he spearheaded to transform public education.
Behind the numbers
October 27, 2015
2015 NAEP results: What you need to know
In 2013, many state leaders offered quick explanations behind Tennessee's NAEP gains. But experts warn that interpreting the results isn't that simple.
the arne archives
October 3, 2015
A retrospective of Arne Duncan’s complicated relationship with New York
Arne Duncan's highlights and lowlights during six-plus years of visiting and keeping tabs on New York.
August 26, 2015
Tennessee’s average ACT scores mostly stagnant
Despite efforts to increase student achievement, the average Tennessee ACT composite score is below the threshold for college readiness.
August 3, 2015
With its jackpot $28.5 million grant, Warren Township pushes career programs, online learning and teacher training
Warren Township was one of just 16 districts nationwide to win big dollars to improve its facilities, boost teaching and reinvent student learning.
mind the gap
June 8, 2015
Access to New York’s top teachers still unequal, state report shows
Seven percent of teachers were in their first year in schools with the poorest students, compared to less than 2 percent at schools with the most affluent students.
Turnover at the top
March 11, 2015
New Queens Regent reflects New York’s shifting ed policy landscape
A former teacher and administrator, Judith Chin is one of six Regents who are career educators and no fan of the state's implementation of the Common Core.
February 9, 2015
State of the State preview: Haslam will propose teacher pay increase
Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to make education, including teacher pay and classroom standards, a centerpiece of his State of the State address Monday evening.
January 22, 2015
Candice McQueen on her challenges and goals as Tennessee’s new education commissioner
The former classroom teacher talks about her admiration for teachers, as well the many complex issues awaiting her time and attention.
December 16, 2014
Report: STEM here to stay
The education question of 2015 might well be: Which reforms funded by Tennessee’s dwindling Race to the Top money are sustainable? A new report from the the …
December 15, 2014
Regents want state to add $2 billion in education spending
The Board of Regents want the state to increase education spending by $2 billion next year, a spike that would include an extra $70 million for the city's pre-kindergarten expansion.
September 10, 2014
Memphis school improvement efforts in spotlight as Duncan finishes back-to-school tour
"I moved to Memphis thinking I’d change lots of lives every year. But really, my life has been drastically changed," said teacher Brittany Ordue.
August 22, 2014
Despite federal reprieve, Tenn. will continue using test scores to evaluate teachers
The U.S. Department of Education will consider states’ requests to forgo the use of test results in teacher evaluations for at least a year, secretary of…
August 13, 2014
New kindergarten assessments voluntary this year, mandatory next year
Many Colorado school districts are piloting the Teaching Strategies GOLD assessment in their kindergarten classrooms this year in anticipation of mandatory statewide implementation next year.
August 5, 2014
Some townships show ISTEP gains despite challenges of growing poverty
In a few Marion County school districts — especially Pike and Wayne townships — the percentage of students passing ISTEP is growing quickly, even as the families the schools serve have grown considerably poorer.
July 28, 2014
Shelby County Schools’ pathway to pre-K funds runs through foundation with suburban roots
Shelby County commissioners who voted last week to spend $3 million on expanding prekindergarten access are finding that they don’t control where the money will go. That’s because the commission earmarked the funds not directly to Shelby County Schools, but to a small foundation that has strong ties to the suburban districts that have left SCS and whose plans for the funds are unclear.
July 1, 2014
Five big takeaways from the latest treasure trove of NYC school data
Student mobility, Race to the Top spending, and the number of English language learners with special needs were among the data points highlighted in the Independent Budget Office's annual report.
goodbye paper and pencil
June 20, 2014
Improving care for the youngest by targeting the back office
Shared services is a relatively new approach in the early childhood arena, but one that is gaining momentum both in Colorado and nationally. Proponents believe the model will ultimately help early childhood providers—often small mom and pop shops—shed inefficient back-office practices so they can save time and money, and in turn offer better services to families.
June 18, 2014
Pre-K advocates pursue small strategies toward big goal
A coalition of pre-K advocates are moving forward with a collection of small strategies that they hope will, collectively, result in every child being prepared to start kindergarten.Although they’ve stopped short of calling it a full-on strategy, they are now pursuing several possible ways forward, including identify new funding, raising standards for daycare centers, and even returning to voters to ask for more funding.
June 13, 2014
State gets updated evaluation of its R2T efforts
Colorado continues to make progress on reaching its Race to the Top goals but has a few things to work on, according to an evaluation…
June 9, 2014
Launch delayed for new early childhood rating system
The state has backed away from its planned July start date for a new mandatory quality rating system for early childhood education and…
stars in the making
March 10, 2014
New rating system on the way for preschools and child care
This summer the state is expected to launch a new mandatory five-level rating system for early childhood care providers, including preschools, child care centers and family child care homes. While there are many details left to work out, experts say the effort is a step in the right direction for improving the quality of care for Colorado's youngest children.
February 18, 2014
NYC gets $4.7M to improve teacher retention in high-need schools
New York City is getting some — but only some — of the federal funds that it asked for to improve teacher retention in high-poverty…
December 20, 2013
State-run district’s per-pupil expenditure not included on state report card
When Tennessee’s department of education rolled out a sleek new "report card" last month to help parents compare school districts, it did not include how much money its own Achievement School District (ASD) spends on each child. It did include that information for every other district in the state.
December 2, 2013
With an eye on de Blasio, UFT finally signs onto teacher grants
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio with UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the union's endorsement announcement earlier this year. With Mayor Bloomberg on his way out, there's been a small crack in the icy relationship between the city education department and the teachers union. The thaw is taking place over a $12 million grant that the city is eligible for to fund new ways to develop, retain and compensate top teachers. The purpose is to improve teacher retention in high-poverty schools, where turnover is most acute. After holding out for months, the United Federation of Teachers signed off on a grant application that the Department of Education submitted just ahead of a 5 p.m. deadline today. Signatures from the teachers and principals unions were required, but the UFT had declined to offer one for months. Over the summer, Chancellor Dennis Walcott blamed the UFT's unwillingness to support the grant bid on union intransigence. Education officials accused the union of trying to negotiate work benefits that were unrelated to the grant. But a lot has changed since then, most notably the election of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who takes over next month after campaigning as an anti-Bloomberg candidate.
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