Daily News Roundup, December 16, 2011

Perspectives: News You Can Use
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Some of the News Fit to Print

Editor’s Note: News You Can Use will be taking a break until the New Year. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful holiday!


A recent study found that more than half of young teachers plan to make teaching a lifelong career, and many more plan to stay for a long time. Yet half of new teachers leave urban classrooms within three years, just as they are beginning to have the strongest impact on student learning. That is a terrible loss for low-income students, whose classrooms experience the greatest churn. Celine Collins founded Teach Plus to improve the achievement of urban children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to excellent, experienced teachers. The article is in the Huffington Post.

A report from the NEA's Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching calls for "systemic changes in the [nation's] educational structures by engaging teachers in the decision-making processes that impact student learning." The report urges "moving from a top-down hierarchical model to a circular structure of shared responsibility" that will "engage students as active participants in their own learning." To place student learning at the center, schooling must transform from a time-oriented system based on grade level and credits earned to a performance-based system aligned to national learning standards. Student learning must be at the center of decisions about instructional models, scheduling, school structure, and flexibility. To set student-learning goals and assess outcomes, teachers must work in collaborative teams and use professional judgment based on teaching standards and practice. At the same time, teachers must have authority to make instructional and educational management choices and decisions. Teachers must also share in the responsibility for teacher selection, evaluation, and dismissal. In sum, the teaching profession requires transformational changes in recruitment, selection, preparation, professional learning, evaluation, compensation, and career advancement. This information is from PEN NewsBlast.

Math teachers trained through the Boston Teacher Residency program are, on average, initially less effective at raising student scores in that subject than other novice teachers. But within five years, their instruction in that subject improves rapidly enough to surpass the effectiveness of their colleagues, a new study concludes. For English/language arts, the residency-trained teachers were no more effective at improving student achievement than other new teachers. The article is in Education Week.


AASCU’S Dan Hurley writes in USA Today: The three-year bachelor's degree has been hailed by some as the solution to cutting college costs, allowing students to graduate and enter the job market sooner. It has one fundamental flaw, however, in that it benefits only those students who have the highest academic aptitude and the financial means to attend college full-time, year-around, for three years. An opposing editorial is also in the same issue.

WASHINGTON -- Although final details were still elusive late Thursday, members of Congress appear to have reached a compromise on a federal budget for 2012 that would preserve the maximum Pell Grant while changing the program’s eligibility criteria. The spending plan would also slightly increase funding for the National Institutes of Health and end the grace period for interest on subsidized student loans. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.


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