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Spotlight on teachers
May 31, 2018
Here are the nine finalists to be Tennessee’s next Teacher of the Year
The state’s 2018-19 top teacher will be announced this fall and will represent Tennessee in a national competition.
February 15, 2018
Three of Tennessee’s largest teacher training programs improve on state report card
While small alternative programs and private universities scored best again, several large public universities upped their performance under the state's grading system.
August 9, 2017
A new study shows why it’s so hard to improve teacher preparation
Fierce debates have ensued over how to hold teacher training programs accountable. A new study casts doubt on those efforts because It’s hard to identify bad programs.
May 23, 2017
New York stands to lose $433 million in education funding under Trump budget, state says
The budget would slash teacher preparation programs, support for homeless youth, and college aid for low-income students, state officials said.
April 11, 2017
High schoolers say they don’t want to be teachers. Inside one school that’s working to turn the tide
One day early in the school year, the pre-K students at P.S. 50 on Staten Island were learning how to write their names. Jeanette Tenantitla…
December 15, 2016
Teacher prep conversation already changing under Tennessee’s new ratings
The user-friendly version aims to provide transparency and understanding about the quality of teacher training programs across the state.
December 15, 2016
Here’s where Tennessee’s best teachers are trained, according to new state report card
Nearly all are located around Nashville and Memphis, and half are non-traditional, according to the State Board of Education report.
October 6, 2016
Alternatively trained teachers quit more quickly — but not in Tennessee
Tennessee teachers that come to the classroom through alternative preparation programs are bucking a nationwide trend by sticking around.
August 12, 2016
Likely coming to a teacher prep program near you: A harder licensure test
The State Board of Education is considering requiring teachers to pass a new test that assesses video recordings of student teaching.
January 12, 2016
New Nashville-based alternative teacher education program seeks state approval
Project Renaissance hopes to launch a new alternative teacher training program in Nashville.
December 10, 2015
Report card time: How do Tennessee’s teacher preparation programs stack up?
The 2015 state report card on teacher preparation programs details how graduates of Tennessee's different education programs perform in the classroom upon graduation.
November 19, 2015
Memphis Teacher Residency to share national platform under Gates grant
Memphis Teacher Residency will expand its impact under a $35 million initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher education across the nation.
October 15, 2015
McQueen prioritizes literacy, early learning, teacher prep in five-year strategic plan
Tennessee's education chief announces a strategic plan to elevate Tennessee academically from one of the nation's lowest performing states to the top half in five years.
behind the headlines
August 18, 2015
Best of 2015: Why is there no teacher shortage in New York City?
As other states scramble, a longstanding teacher surplus and steady student enrollment mean that just one in three teacher-prep graduates is able to land a job in New York.
August 7, 2015
New York’s newest literacy test for aspiring teachers gets judge’s OK
A new exam testing the reading and writing skills of aspiring teachers in New York State does not discriminate against black and Hispanic candidates, a judge ruled Friday.
Bridging the Culture Gap
July 22, 2015
Teacher training programs strive to bridge culture, racial gaps in the classroom
Teacher prep programs are increasingly focusing on cultural competency, especially race relations in the wake of nine black people killed in a church in Charleston, S.C.
July 20, 2015
A growing summer camp aims to start Memphis’s teacher pipeline earlier
The summer children's camp is designed to get kids excited about learning — and to recruit potential educators to Memphis to work one day as classroom teachers.
Updated July 8, 2015
Memphis’ newest teacher training school launches next week
After its failed partnership with the University of Memphis, Relay Graduate School of Education opens on its own and introduces a new style of teacher preparation.
May 19, 2015
New study has implications for teacher prep programs in Tennessee
Tennessee's teacher prep programs have gotten high marks from the National Center for Teacher Quality, but a study says they may not lead to higher student test scores.
teacher prep rally
February 12, 2015
Up next for SUNY chief, finding consensus on a teacher-ed overhaul
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher is overseeing a sprawling effort to improve New York teacher education.
February 10, 2015
Teach for America to reduce its classroom placements in Memphis
Teach for America is expected to reduce its incoming teaching force in Memphis by about 40 percent this fall.
January 29, 2015
THEC approves new teacher prep program in Memphis
Relay Graduate School of Education, which touts an innovative approach to teacher preparation and a nontraditional teacher certification path, is coming to Memphis after gaining…
January 15, 2015
Relay Graduate School clears hurdle for new teacher prep program to feed Shelby County Schools
Relay Graduate School of Education's application to launch its one-year teacher residency program at the University of Memphis received committee approval on Thursday. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission is expected to take up the matter on Jan. 29.
December 9, 2014
U of M president moves to quell faculty concerns about new teacher prep program
A week after a contentious faculty meeting, University of Memphis President David Rudd is trying to quell concerns about the school’s involvement in a new…
April 29, 2014
Regents extend "safety net" for new teacher certification test after union lobbying
Aspiring New York State teachers won’t have to pass a new, tougher certification test this year or next year, thanks to a Board of Regents vote on Tuesday that came out of last-minute negotiations with the state teachers union. Teacher candidates who fail the exam can still get certified if they pass an easier paper-based exam.
August 14, 2013
City crunches teacher prep data in early bid to assess programs
The city's presentation about new Teacher Preparation Program Reports shows what proportion of training programs' graduates went to work in high-need schools. City officials said they were "pleasantly surprised" by what they learned from their inaugural effort to analyze data about teachers by the programs that trained them. Just one in five of the 10,135 recent graduates of teacher preparation programs hired by the city between 2008 and 2012 left the school system within three years. In contrast, about one in three teachers left their jobs nationally during the same period, according to city Department of Education officials. "New York City is really bucking the trend," Deputy Chancellor David Weiner said today during a press conference to unveil "Teacher Preparation Program Reports" for 12 colleges and universities that together supplied about half of the city's new teachers who came through traditional training pathways. The reports represent a new frontier in the department's accountability efforts. They analyze the teacher preparation programs' graduates by six characteristics, including how long they stay in the classroom, how often they receive poor evaluations, where they work, and how they have fared on measures of their students' growth. City officials warned against making strong conclusions about the preparation programs' quality. Next year, after the city implements a new evaluation system, the training programs will be rated by their graduates' scores, they said, but for now, the reports are meant to spur collaboration with local colleges and universities.
August 14, 2013
The Department of Education’s teacher prep scorecards are here
This is the presentation that Department of Education officials used to show off their new “Teacher Preparation Program Reports” to reporters today. The…
August 13, 2013
NYC ready to show off how it scored teacher preparation programs
New York City has quietly been studying the patterns of teachers who come from a dozen preparation programs that supply half of all new teachers in the city. Now it plans to release “scorecards” of those programs’ success in the classroom. The release, which is scheduled for Wednesday morning, marks the first time that a school district has moved to assess teacher preparation programs, which are seen as a major frontier in improving schools. A handful of states, including Florida and California, have launched efforts to assess their preparation programs. The goal is to expose programs that produce teachers who do not perform well in the classroom and to push preparation programs to align what they teach with what new teachers need to know.
July 9, 2013
With less fanfare, Cuomo's education commission revisits NYC
David Steiner, Dean of Hunter College's School of Education, answers a question from state Senator John Flanagan, a member of Cuomo's education commission. For the second summer in a row, the body that's helping Gov. Andrew Cuomo form his education agenda visited New York City. But unlike last year, which drew a crowd and Campbell Brown, Tuesday's meeting happened with little fanfare and much more focus. It's been a little more than a year since Cuomo assembled the Education Reform Commission, a 25-member body made up of businessmen, government officials, union leaders, researchers, lawmakers and nonprofit executives. The commission was created to recommend wholesale reforms to improve the state's expensive school system. It's too soon to measure the commission's impact, but the handful of first-year recommendations that Cuomo adopted — the commission recommended 12 — will only affect a small percentage of schools. Cuomo used an allocated $75 million in the budget to create competitive grants, available by design to limited number of districts, to launch longer school days, expand prekindergarten and create schools that offer more nonacademic services to low-income students. Cuomo also allocated $11 million in stipends for "master teachers," to fulfill another recommendation, which aims to recruit and retain top teachers for in-demand subjects. Cuomo announced that teachers can begin applying for the program this week. It's unclear what the commission will recommend in its second year, but the possibilities seem more narrow. Last summer's meeting resembled more of a City Council hearing, with 17 speaker testimonies and a public comment period that covered a spectrum of education policies. It was also the place where Campbell Brown first launched her cause célèbre, to make it easier to fire teachers who've acted inappropriately in school. By contrast, Tuesday's event, held in a dimly lit performance arts theater inside the Borough of Manhattan Community College, featured lengthy PowerPoint presentations from five people who honed in on a few issues.
January 2, 2013
Commission recommends broad overhaul, with few specifics
The high-profile commission charged with overhauling New York's public schools released its first set of recommendations today, endorsing several popular education reform policies but shying away from declaring a position on others. The full report, titled "Putting Students First," is below the jump. Governor Cuomo, who created the commission, stopped short of endorsing its recommendations, but did express early support for several ideas, including teacher performance pay and the community school model of using schools to offer supports beyond academic preparation. Other recommendations include expanding pre-kindergarten for students in poor districts, strengthening teacher and principal preparation programs, and extending the school day and year. The commission did not address some prickly issues, such as teacher evaluation. Chairman Richard Parsons said that was by design, citing a recommendation from State Education Commissioner John King that the commission wait to take up the topic until its next report, scheduled for next fall.
October 18, 2012
Union: City is the reason, not the solution, for teacher shortages
The Department of Education hasn't officially submitted a proposal to train and certify its own teachers, but already the plan has encountered stiff resistance. Just two days after a top department official floated the idea during testimony at Governor Cuomo's education reform commission, New York City teachers union president Michael Mulgrew said he "strongly opposes" any effort to give the city authority over teacher certification, a process currently reserved almost exclusively for education colleges. State and city officials contend that handing off certification duties to the education department would help chip away at the long-standing problem of teacher shortage some subjects. But citing teacher attrition data from the 2006-2007 school year, Mulgrew wrote in a letter to commission Chair Richard Parsons today that if anyone is to blame for the teacher shortages in the school system, it is the education department. Of the 6940 teachers hired that year, 38.9 percent have left the system, according to data provided by the UFT. That rate increased to 50 percent for teachers of Science, English and English as a Second Language. "The specific problems of staffing these shortage areas are not a function of poor teacher training in existing institutions, but rather the DOE’s abysmal record of supporting, developing and retaining the teachers it already has," Mulgrew wrote.
March 23, 2012
Teaching prep pilots on the rise in SIG and high-needs schools
A new recruitment program designed to keep teachers in high-needs schools for the long-term is ramping up its presence in schools where the city is preparing to replace large swaths of teachers. The city's $1.3 million teacher apprenticeship program, called the NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround, embeds teachers-in-training in high-needs schools and pairs them in classrooms taught by experienced teachers to ease the learning curve. The program launched last summer with 26 residents in two schools and was funded in part with money from federal School Improvement Grants. Next year, the Department of Education aims to double the number of residents and expand into more schools eligible for SIG funding. Currently the only schools in line to receive SIG funding are the 33 the city has proposed for a "turnaround" at the end of the year, meaning one of the schools that hosted residents this year — Queens Vocational and Technical High School — is likely to close its program at the end of the school year. Queens Vocational was one of six schools that had been receiving SIG funds that the city determined in January should no longer be eligible for them. An education department spokeswoman said no decision has been made about the residency program, but the school's website is already promoting a different residency starting next year. The residency is part of a series of recruitment models that the department's Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality is piloting to better prepare new teachers for classrooms in high-needs communities. One hundred and thirty-six new NYC Teaching Fellows — up from 25 a year ago — were paired with a mentor teacher this month and will work in classrooms for the remainder of the school year as part of an apprenticeship program to supplement the 10-week training they will receive this summer. The fellows will earn a $3,500 stipend for the remainder of the school year. The DOE is busy staffing up for the expansion of both programs.
April 20, 2009
NYU is building an accountability system to measure its teachers
Robert Tobias The former testing czar at the old Board of Education, Robert Tobias, sometimes offers criticism of the accountability programs being produced these days at Tweed Courthouse. He's also been hatching an accountability system of his own — this one to study the effectiveness of teachers produced by New York University's school of education, where he now works. Preliminary results suggest that teachers trained at NYU are getting above-average results in English, but they give students no extra boost on math tests, Tobias said last week at the educational research conference Philissa and I attended in San Diego. He also found that NYU-trained elementary-school teachers produced significantly greater results for students than middle-school teachers, and that the teachers get better as they become more experienced. The effect tapers off at between five and nine years into the job, he said. Tobias's results could provide one clue about what's being found in an ongoing research project about teacher training programs in New York City. So far, that project has found that different programs produced different student results but has not named the programs that had the largest effects. The results could also be important as alternative teacher training programs like Teach For America increasingly bring into question the need for traditional programs based entirely at universities. "As a dean I want to say I want to steal these three and have them do it at my school," said Rick Ginsberg, who runs the education school at the University of Kansas, referring to the professors working with Tobias. “We’re fighting this battle all the time.”
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