Improvement article roundup

  • Teacher-Leader Corps Helps Turn Around Schools. Stephen Sawchuk, Education Week, April 18, 2011. A great and promising organization expanding rapidly across the country and run by some of my former Mass Insight colleagues and consultants.

“… A third [of] the district [Boston Public Schools], are participating in a novel turnaround venture here that attracts and seeks to retain highly effective teachers through a bundle of incentives, including leadership opportunities, a structure for peer learning, and increased pay.

Now wrapping up its first year, the initiative is providing insights into the role of teachers in overhauling the culture of a low-performing school—as well as giving way to new questions about the nature of teacher leadership and how to develop it.

[The goal of Teach Plus] is to help create leadership opportunities for teachers in the “second stage” of their careers that don’t require them to leave the classroom for administration or higher education.

The T3 initiative grew out of the Teaching Policy Fellows, a program run by Teach Plus that selectively recruits teachers and gives them opportunities to study education policy and craft their own proposals for improving schools.”

  • Alexander Russo’s new book “Stray Dogs, Saints and Saviors: Fighting for the Soul of America’s Toughest High School” hits the shelves (or the Amazon.com order form) today and receives a strong review from Jay Matthews in the Washington Post.

“Ambitious education reforms on the table in Springfield could change how Illinois schoolteachers earn tenure and hold onto their jobs amid tough financial times, with seniority for the first time mattering less than performance. The proposed changes would upend the way teachers long have been treated when financially strapped districts cut staff.

The proposals come as hot-button issues such as collective bargaining — including everything from how teachers can be fired to how they pay dues — have roiled nearby states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, sparking protests and legal challenges.

In Illinois, by contrast, negotiations unfolded quietly behind closed doors, bringing to the table groups sometimes at odds.

‘This is proof education employee unions can and should be leaders in reform,’ read a joint statement by the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Education Association and the Chicago Teachers Union, all of which participated in the dealmaking.”

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