Principal Pay Incentives: A Promising Reform?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Program: 9:00am to 10:30am
Admission is free.

A light breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m.

Featured Panelists:

– Dr. John E. Deasy, Superintendent, Prince George’s County Public Schools

– Natalie Elder, Principal, Hardy Elementary School

– Dr. Dan Goldhaber, Professor of Public Affairs, University of Washington

Moderated by:

  • – Cynthia G. Brown, Director of Education Policy, Center for American Progress

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A great deal hinges on the quality of people who lead America’s schools. It goes almost without saying that school reforms and improvements depend largely on strong principal leadership together with effective teachers. Yet while much emphasis has been placed on teachers, we know little about how to attract and retain high quality principals, especially for schools serving large numbers of low-income students. One strategy is to reform how principals are compensated. This seems particularly important when teacher pay reforms are also underway.

Prince George’s County, MD has a new federal grant to provide incentives to teachers and principals in low-performing schools. New York City offers a $25,000 raise to principals who teach for three years or more in a high-needs school and a $25,000 bonus based on student achievement. Yet we know little about whether these initiatives or others are likely to be effective. Why? While we know that principal leadership is critical, research tells us little about how to structure principal compensation effectively.

Please join us for a discussion and Q&A session on a new paper from the Center for American Progress by Dr. Dan Goldhaber and on principal pay initiatives in Chattanooga, TN and Prince George’s County, MD. Panelists will discuss the research on principal compensation, and their perspectives on how principal pay initiatives should be structured to attract high quality candidates to high poverty schools.


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Dr. John E. Deasy has been Chief Executive Officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools since May 2006. He leads an organization that offers more than 133,000 children an innovative, technology-infused curriculum that has produced significant academic gains. In his prior position as superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California, Dr. Deasy led district-wide reforms aimed at a highly focused set of strategies on the improvement of teaching and learning. These successful reforms resulted in dramatic improvement in student achievement for all categories of students and the closing of the achievement gap. Prior to this role, he served as superintendent of the Coventry Public Schools in Rhode Island for five years. Dr. Deasy also served as a high school principal in two communities, director of personnel, and assistant superintendent of schools. Dr. Deasy is a Broad Fellow and has been an Annenberg Fellow and State Superintendent of the Year. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Chemistry Education and a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Providence College, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from the University of Louisville. He has been and continues to be a faculty member in university doctoral programs in several states.

Natalie Elder has been a public school educator for 25 years. She was an elementary school teacher, a high school assistant principal, and is presently the principal of a year-round elementary school (Hardy Elementary in Chattanooga, Tennessee). She was named a recipient of the coveted Milken Educator Award in 2006. Ms. Elder was honored with this award because of her exceptional work as an educator. In 2005, the school achieved the highest academic gains in math and social studies among elementary schools in the entire state. She has been described as “being a model for the state and nation” by both the Tennessee Education Commissioner, Lana Seivers, and the President of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, Lew Solmon. Ms. Elder’s love and concern for today’s youth, especially in these urban settings, has been the driving force in fulfilling her vision of “excellence not average.”

Dr. Dan Goldhaber is a Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, an Affiliated Scholar at the Urban Institute’s Education Policy Center, and a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Education Sector. He also served as an elected member of the Alexandria City School Board from 1997-2002. His work focuses on issues of educational productivity and reform at the K-12 level, and the relationship between teacher labor markets and teacher quality. Dr. Goldhaber’s current research addresses teacher labor markets and the role that teacher pay structure plays in teacher recruitment and retention, the relationship between teacher licensure test performance and student achievement, the stability of teacher effectiveness measures over time, the influence of human resource practices on teacher turnover and quality, and the role of community colleges in higher education. Dr. Goldhaber’s research has been regularly published in leading peer-reviewed economic and education journals and the findings from these articles have been covered in more widely accessible media outlets such as National Public Radio, Education Week, The Washington Post, and USA Today. His work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Joyce Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and numerous other private foundations. Dr. Goldhaber holds degrees from the University of Vermont (B.A., Economics) and Cornell University (M.S. and Ph.D., Labor Economics).

Cynthia G. Brown is Director of Education Policy and served as Director of Renewing our Schools, Securing our Future National Task Force on Public Education, a joint initiative of the Center and the Institute for America’s Future. Cindy has spent over 35 years working in a variety of professional positions addressing high-quality, equitable public education. Prior to joining the Center for American Progress, she was an independent education consultant who advised and wrote for local and state school systems, education associations, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and a corporation. From 1986 through September 2001, Brown served as Director of the Resource Center on Educational Equity of the Council of Chief State School Officers. She was appointed by President Carter as the first Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education (1980) and prior to that position served as Principal Deputy of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s Office for Civil Rights. Subsequent to this government service, she was Co-Director of the nonprofit Equality Center, worked for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, the Children’s Defense Fund, and began her career in the HEW Office for Civil Rights as an investigator.

About the Center for American Progress

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”


Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation collaborates with Pearson to develop new certification exam for teachers of Cherokee language

Oklahoma City and Hadley, MA – November 27, 2007 The Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation has added Cherokee to its Oklahoma Subject Area Test. Developed in collaboration with Pearson’s teacher licensure testing group with the assistance of educators from the Cherokee Nation, this new exam joins five other World Language certification exams offered as part of the Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educator teacher certification testing program.

The Evaluation Systems group of Pearson (formerly National Evaluation Systems) develops and administers the Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators, which include the Oklahoma General Education Test, the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination and the Oklahoma Subject Area Tests. The purpose of Oklahoma’s teacher certification testing program is to help ensure that all candidates seeking certification in the state have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job of an entry-level educator in its public schools.

“Our goal is to ensure that every student in Oklahoma has access to competent, caring and qualified teachers,” said Ted Gillispie, executive director, Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation. “To achieve this goal, we work closely with the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson to continually expand and enhance our teacher certification testing program by adding exams such as the new Cherokee subject area test and by updating our existing tests.”

In addition to Cherokee, other World Language teacher certification exams included in the Oklahoma Subject Area Tests are French, German, Latin, Russian and Spanish. Other Oklahoma Subject Area Tests that were updated or redeveloped for the 2007-2008 program year include English, U.S. History/Oklahoma History/Government/Economics and World History/Geography.

“Working closely with individual states around the country, we develop custom teacher licensure testing programs,” said William Gorth, Ph.D., president of the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson. “The expansion of the Oklahoma Subject Area Tests to include Cherokee is just one example of how states are developing testing programs that meet their unique educational needs.” For more information about the Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators, visit For more information about the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, visit

About Pearson
Pearson is the global leader in educational publishing, assessment, information and services, helping people of all ages to learn at their own pace, in their own way. For students preK-12, Pearson provides effective and innovative curriculum products in all available media, educational assessment and measurement for students and teachers, student information systems, and teacher professional development and certification programs. The company’s respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, AGS, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker, TeacherVision and many others. Pearson’s comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.


Asolva, Inc. develops fully integrated healthcare and education software solutions

Los Angeles, CA – November 27, 2007 Asolva Inc., a leading provider of customized software solutions, announced its entrance into the healthcare and education industries with the development of easy-to-use, fully integrated software systems designed to help companies collect, present and analyze business-critical data.

Leveraging Asolva’s innovative, highly specialized software systems, companies can translate broad, unstructured data into clear-cut, comprehensive reports that enable administrators to improve productivity, streamline workflow and reduce costs.

“Our market research has shown that even organizations proficient in accumulating data often struggle to translate large quantities of data into useful information,” said Chun Wong, founder and CEO of Asolva, Inc. “We designed our software systems to meet these challenges of improving performance and critical decision making. Our products excel at ‘making sense’ of the data and aligning it with our client’s business goals. This enables our clients to devote more of their time to their core competencies instead of data crunching.”

All companies must rely on operational data for strategic decision making. However, many companies, particularly large ones, often lack the time and the resources to properly evaluate and understand this information.

Asolva has developed a series of software solutions that helps organize and translate lengthy, cumbersome information into comprehensible, customized reports based on specific industry needs. From start to finish, Asolva not only provides the software systems but also manages the technology infrastructure for all its products.

Tailored Solutions

Additionally, Asolva has developed specific software products for the healthcare industry to address the quality of care and regulatory compliance. These products include:

  • Medici: Medici is the solution for monitoring, documenting and reporting clinical pharmacist activities. Using web, notebook or tablet PCs, Medici links with the electronic medical records system to assist clinical pharmacists in compiling a patient’s complete clinical profile, all at the point of care. Pharmacist activities and patient data are linked to produce insightful management reports that monitor intervention results and pharmacist productivity.
  • Q-Form: Q-Form is an enterprise data collection system. Use Q-Forms to collect data points online or in the field to measure operational quality across many organizational sites.
  • daVinci: Asolva’s daVinci software improves the process of analyzing hospital regulatory compliance in the field by enabling teams to collect, consolidate and report data using structured response forms. DaVinci improves the audit process by establishing consistency among multiple teams and across multiple audits.

Wong said the company is developing similar products for the K-12 education market, where education administrators are charged with evaluating the correlation between student achievement and teacher absences in order to maximize teacher involvement, reduce costs and increase student’s learning experience.

About Asolva

Asolva, Inc. is the premier provider of customized software solutions that bridge the gap between operational systems and management decisions. Premium services include business process management solutions that capture and enforce best practices, ensure regulatory compliance, and reduce error. Leveraging their solutions with cutting-edge technologies and proven processes, Asolva has created customized data management solutions for leading brands, such as Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles Unified School District, Catholic Healthcare West, and the University of California. For information, visit


Facebook responds to privacy concerns

Seeking to keep the peace in its popular online hangout, Facebook Inc. has overhauled a new advertising system that sparked privacy complaints by turning its users—many of whom are students—into marketing tools for other companies.

Under the changes outlined late Nov. 29, Facebook’s 55 million users will be given greater control over whether they want to participate in a three-week-old program that circulates potentially sensitive information about their online purchases and other activities.

Facebook had provided two different opportunities to block the details from being shared, but many users said they never saw the “opt-out” notices before they disappeared from the screen.

With the reforms, Facebook promised its users will now have to give their explicit consent, or “opt in,” before any information is passed along.

The concessions were made after more than 50,000 Facebook users signed an online petition blasting the system, called “Beacon,” as a galling intrusion that put the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup’s pursuit of profit ahead of its members’ privacy interests.

More than 40 different web sites, including, and, had embedded Beacon in their pages to track transactions made by Facebook users.

Unless instructed otherwise, the participating sites alerted Facebook, which then notified a user’s friends within the social network about items that had been bought or products that had been reviewed.

Facebook thought the marketing feeds would help its users keep their friends better informed about their interests, while also serving as “trusted referrals” that would help drive more sales to the sites using the Beacon system.

But thousands of Facebook users viewed the Beacon referrals as a betrayal of trust. Critics blasted the advertising tool as an unwelcome nuisance, with flimsy privacy protections that had already exasperated and embarrassed some users.

Some users have already complained about inadvertently finding out about gifts bought for them for Christmas and Hanukkah after Beacon shared information from Other users say they were unnerved when they discovered their friends had found out what movies they were watching through purchases made on Fandango.

If Facebook adheres to the new “opt-in” standard, “it would be a significant step in the right direction,” said Adam Green, a spokesman for, which launched the petition drive to revamp Beacon just nine days ago. “It also says a lot about the ability of internet users to band together to make a difference.”

The backlash against Beacon illustrated the delicate balancing act that Facebook must negotiate as the company tries to cash in on its popularity without alienating the users fueling its success.

Beacon is a key component in Facebook’s “Social Ads” program, which is vying to make more money from the rapidly growing audience that uses the social network’s free services as a place to flirt, gossip, and share personal passions.

Privately held Facebook already is believed to generate more than $150 million in annual revenue after just three years in business, but it’s under pressure to accelerate its growth.

Microsoft Corp. raised the stakes last month by paying $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake. The investment valued Facebook at $15 billion—an assessment that will require the company to become a lot more profitable in the next few years.

Skeptics have questioned Facebook’s market value, given the company’s brief existence and the inexperience of its 23-year-old chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, who started the social network in 2004 while he was still a Harvard University student. The site originally was open to college students only, but last year it was expanded to include all internet users.

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has done an about-face after introducing a feature that raised privacy concerns. Last year, Facebook rolled out a “news feeds” tool that tracked changes to users’ profiles. After thousands of users rebelled, Zuckerberg issued a contrite apology and added a way to turn off the news feeds.

This time around, a customer support representative expressed Facebook’s regrets in a Nov. 28 note that foreshadowed the changes made Nov. 29.

“We’re sorry if we spoiled some of your holiday gift-giving plans,” Facebook’s Paul Janzer wrote in a posting addressed to Beacon’s critics. “We are really trying to provide you with new meaningful ways, like Beacon, to help you connect and share information with your friends.” Janzer also acknowledged Beacon “can be kind of confusing.”

Zuckerberg, whose stake in Facebook is worth $3 billion, thought Beacon’s referral system would be seen as friendly product endorsements that generated more sales than traditional advertising. He hailed the distribution of peer recommendations as advertising’s “holy grail” when Beacon was introduced earlier this month.

But Beacon may lose some of its luster with the tougher privacy controls. That’s because fewer people typically participate in services with opt-in provisions.




MIT adapts free online courses for high schools

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has created a new web site with free online resources that aim to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction at the high school level.

Highlights for High School,” which builds on MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative, is designed to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists and to serve as a valuable tool for high school teachers. OCW publishes educational materials under an open license that encourages their reuse, redistribution, and modification for noncommercial purposes.

“Strength in K-12 math and science will be increasingly important for America if the nation is to continue to lead the innovation economy,” said Susan Hockfield, MIT president.

“Highlights for High School will provide students and teachers with innovative tools to supplement their math and science studies,” Hockfield added. “We hope it will inspire students to reach beyond their required class work to explore more advanced material through OCW and also might encourage them to pursue careers in science and engineering.”

Highlights for High School features more than 2,600 video and audio clips, animations, lecture notes, and assignments taken from actual MIT courses. The site organizes these resources to match the Advanced Placement physics, biology, and calculus curricula. Demonstrations, simulations, and animations give educators engaging ways to present STEM concepts, while videos illustrate MIT’s hands-on approach to the teaching of these subjects.

On the web site, students can access materials that will help them strengthen their writing skills, develop sustainable solutions to challenging world problems, and learn how to build new things, such as robots, electronic devices, and furniture, MIT says.

Students also will find introductory MIT courses, including chemistry, computers and electronics, engineering, math, and physics. Introductory math classes, for example, include courses on problem solving, mathematics for computer science, single-variable calculus, and linear algebra. Engineering courses include such topics as toy-product design and how and why machines work.

Thomas Magnanti, former dean of the School of Engineering at MIT, chaired the committee that developed the site.

“As has been well documented, the U.S. needs to invest more in secondary education, particularly in the STEM fields. MIT, as a leading institution of science and technology, has an obligation to help address the issue,” he said.

Highlights for High School represents MIT’s first step in adapting the successful OpenCourseWare model to secondary education, the university said. The web site organizes the course materials currently featured on OCW-including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, and exams-into a format that is more accessible to high school students and teachers.

An estimated 10,000 high school instructors and 5,000 high school students in the United States already visit MIT’s OpenCourseWare site each month, and MIT says it expects Highlights for High School to make its course materials even more useful to these audiences.

MIT operates more than 40 K-12 outreach programs, including the Edgerton Center, MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science program, and its Educational Studies Program.

Now that MIT has launched Highlights for High School, the university is considering a broader plan for an open-courseware secondary education program-OCW SE-that could include creating a teacher-in-residence program to develop new open curricula with high school educators and organizing an MIT secondary-education mentor corps.


Highlights for High School

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT OpenCourseWare


National Leadership Grant

National Leadership Grants support the innovative thinking necessary to help libraries and museums meet the changing needs of the American public. This year’s guidelines encourage projects that create partnerships between libraries and museums, integrate new technologies, and highlight the agency’s focus on conservation and preservation. The five funding categories include Advancing Digital Resources, Library and Museum Collaboration, Collaboration Planning Grants, Research Projects and Demonstration Projects. In addition, collaborative planning grants of $40,000 are available for projects involving more than one institution.


Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities

The purposes of this program are to (1) help addressstate-identified needs for highly qualified personnel — in special education,related services, early intervention, and regular education — to work withinfants, toddlers and children with disabilities; and (2) ensure that thosepersonnel have the necessary skills and knowledge, derived from practices thathave been determined through scientifically based research and experience, tobe successful in serving those children.


K-12 Design Collabetition

The registration deadline is Dec. 7, and submissions are dueby January 31, 2008. Entrants shouldchoose an element or design feature of a project that demonstrates creativityand quality design. Instead ofsubmitting an entire project for entry, the competition asks that entrantsfocus on those elements which contribute to a successful learning environment. Multiple submissions are permitted andencouraged.


America’s Media Makers: Development Grants

Grants for America’sMedia Makers support media projects that explore significant events, figures,or developments in the humanities and offer creative and new approaches tohumanities content. America’sMedia Makers projects promote active exploration and engagement for broadpublic audiences in history, literature, archaeology, art history, comparativereligion, philosophy, and other fields of the humanities. Grants should enablegreater audience engagement with the humanities, encourage dialogue anddiscussion, and foster discovery-based learning across the age spectrum. Developmentgrants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to developthe humanities content and format and to prepare programs for production.


CC Swag Photo Contest

The CC Swag competition challenges people to creativelyphotograph Creative Commons t-shirts, buttons, stickers, and other promotionalitems (all available at CC’s online store). Photographs must be uploaded to the Flickr group CCSwagcontest07. The two winners will be awarded 100 postcardsfeaturing their winning photo, and the postcards will also serve as promotionalmaterial for Creative Commons and will be distributed internationally topromote CC.