School groups craft seven-part plan for improving teaching

Under the goals outlined, teachers would receive rigorous training before they enter the workforce and throughout their careers, and they would collaborate with administrators on issues such as career advancement, dismissal, and selection.

National, state, and district education leaders have convened at a conference this week focused on establishing better labor-management collaboration to ensure that teachers are respected, supported, and equipped to prepare students for the increasingly competitive global economy.

Held from May 23 to 24 in Cincinnati, the 2012 Labor-Management Conference continues the work of a first-of-its-kind national conference hosted in Denver last year. This year’s event, titled “Collaborating to Transform the Teaching Profession,” showcases successful examples of labor and management working together to strengthen the teaching profession.

In particular, the conference aims to develop better recruiting tactics and improve teacher preparation and career development. Toward that end, participants are set to approve a seven-part plan to improve the teaching profession.…Read More

Why Illinois might be a model for education reform

Illinois' drafting partnership serves as an example to other states struggling with education reform.

Illinois’ Senate Bill 7, passed in June, ushered in numerous changes designed to improve teaching and learning—and it demonstrates the power of collaboration between education policy makers and teachers’ unions, according to a panel discussion held July 13.

The panel, “Illinois—The New Leader in Education Reform?” highlighted the unlikely conglomeration of education leaders who helped write and pass the bill, from legislators to teachers’ unions.

“In some states, the debate has been contentious, with partisan efforts to limit the role of unions and collective bargaining,” said Cynthia Brown, vice president for education policy at the Center for American Progress. “But common sense, along with our research and the research of others, have shown that consensus-oriented reform is the more successful way to go.”…Read More

Mayor counters teachers’ ads with his own

After being pilloried for weeks in advertisements from the city’s teachers’ union accusing him of threatening to fire teachers, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg hit back on Tuesday by using a familiar tactic: paying for his own campaign-style advertisement, reports the New York Times. The ad war comes at a time when Mr. Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers have been sparring over the mayor’s bid to upend state rules on teacher seniority. Both sides are gearing up for fights over budgets proposed by Mr. Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. But where the teachers’ union has aimed squarely at Mr. Bloomberg–one ad even belittles the mayor’s performance during the December blizzard–Mr. Bloomberg’s ad features the kind of upbeat music and imagery one would normally expect from a political front-runner. The union is not mentioned by name…

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Opinion: Stop trashing teachers!

Obama’s misguided policies and the overhyped documentary Waiting for “Superman” have turned America against its teachers, education expert Diane Ravitch writes for The Daily Beast—and this vitriol is dangerous to public education. “For the past week, the national media has launched an attack on American public education that is unprecedented in our history,” Ravitch writes. “NBC devoted countless hours to panels stacked with ‘experts’ who believe that public education is horrible because it has so many ‘bad’ teachers and ‘bad’ principals. The same ‘experts’ appeared again and again to call for privatization, breaking teachers’ unions, and mass firings of ‘bad’ educators. … None of these approaches works.” Ravitch notes that privately managed charter schools, on average, don’t get better results than regular public schools—and the claim that tenure is a guarantee of lifetime employment “is a canard. Professors in higher education get lifetime tenure, but teachers in K-12 schools do not have lifetime employment: They have the right to due process if the principal wants to fire them.” If educators teach children who are poor, have disabilities, or don’t speak English as their native language, they will not see large test-score gains, Ravitch notes, adding: “So, the result of this approach—judging teachers by the score gains of their students—will incentivize teachers to avoid students with the greatest needs. This is just plain stupid as a matter of policy.” Declaring war on teachers and principals “is ridiculous, outrageous,” she concludes. “No nation in the world—certainly not Finland—has improved its education system by belittling and firing teachers and principals. People who know nothing about education and whose ideas have no basis in research or practice are calling the shots. Left to their own devices, they will destroy public education.”

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