If you follow or are interested in the high school issue don’t miss this outstanding new paper by Aspen Institute Senior Fellow Judy Wurtzel (pdf). The entire thing is well worth reading and offers an important analytic framework but the discussion on professionalism is not to be missed. Aspen has been getting analysts and practitioners together to work through these issues and you’ll see some of the various new ideas reflected in the analysis as well as some more established ideas. For good background on recent high school efforts to date and some dimensions of the issue you can’t beat this ES report by Craig Jerald.
Also, new Education Trust report on teacher quality. Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Students Are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality (pdf) is aptly titled. A lot of data and sensible recommendations. AFTie One-L responds here, she hates it! Q and E loves it! Not sure though the contract issue is as settled as One-L claims (though she obviously subscribes to the “if you say it long and loud enough it becomes true” school of thought). You can decide for yourself soon when ES posts the audio and transcript from the debate. But the new AFTie data (pdf) is (a) too aggregated right now to really be useful and (b) starts from an assumption that less churn is always better. I think we can all agree that too much is bad but the question of where the “sweet spot” is more complicated and the aversion to using data in education makes it a tough one to answer in the way that other industries can.
Also see this statement on the Ed Trust report from George Miller, the ranking Democrat on the House education committee (Also, USS Barack Obama here). Sure seems like there is an opportunity here for Democrats to (a) legitimately hit the Bush Administration on failing on this front (b) stand up for a constituency they ostensibly care about, poor and minority kids and (c) put forward good solution-oriented ideas. Of course doing so means sticking more than a toe into this producer-consumer issue and everyone knows that the producers are so great on all those progressive issues that it’s just irresponsible to cross them!