Some of the News Fit to Print
STARTING EARLY TO CREATE CITY TEACHERS
The gap between the number of minority teachers in Chicago’s public schools and minority student enrollment has widened over the last decade, but one school is working to change that by preparing the next generation of teachers. At Wells Community Academy High School, where the racial breakdown of students is almost evenly split between African-Americans and Hispanics, more than 60 students are participating in a teacher training program that gets them to the front of the classroom years before most aspiring teachers. Students enrolled in the Chicago Urban Teacher Academy at Wells participate in a four-year curriculum — in partnership with National Louis University — designed to focus on best practices in teaching. One day a week students work in classrooms at one of three nearby elementary schools — Peabody, Talcott or Moos. As soon as November, first-year students start conducting lessons, and will continue to do so throughout the four years. The article is in The New York Times.
TEACHER PREPARATION FRONT AND CENTER
Top education experts from around the country discussed teacher preparation program reform, performance-based assessments for teachers, and how to identify core capabilities that every teacher should embody during a panel convened by Education Sector last week. The panelists gathered on the heels of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s announcement to reform teacher preparation in three key ways: more detailed reporting of program graduates’ effectiveness, including student achievement growth during their first two years; competitive scholarships that are awarded to students in their final year of education; and expanding funding for minority-serving teacher preparation programs. Read about and listen to the panel at the Quick and the Ed.
THE FREEDOM TO FAIL
Nate Kreuter blogs for Inside Higher Ed: I want all of my students to fail. Not to fail my class, and certainly not to fail at life, but I do want them to fail. What I really mean though is that I want my students to take risks in their academic work. And the bigger the risk taken, of course, the greater the risk of failure. I would rather see my students fail spectacularly and catastrophically to achieve an ambitious goal than to see them succeed timidly and safely at an unambitious goal. But I’ve found creating an environment in which students feel safe to fail to be the most difficult pedagogical goal that I have ever undertaken. A paradox that I’ve found in encouraging students to take risks and flirt with failure is that I too must be willing to risk my own pedagogical failures in order to cultivate a classroom-wide ethos of bold, ambitious, and sometimes even reckless risk-taking.
A REFORM REFERENDUM IN CHICAGO
John Thompson blogs in This Week in Education: Last week, the well-respected Consortium on Chicago School Research analyzed the results of "reform" over twenty years in the city that pioneered data-driven accountability. The Consortium found "the publicly reported statistics used to hold schools and districts accountable for making academic progress are not accurate measures of progress."