And Now For Something Different…(And An Edujob!)

Mike Petrilli on differentiated instruction in Ed Next is well worth checking out. If you’re trying to figure out fit with your choice of schools – and hopefully you have one – they’re now giving the “Picky Parents Guide” away for free online. Incredible resource.

Bill Gates is going to be making some education news the next few days, he’s on the productivity bandwagon, too.

I don’t yet have an Ipad to kill time, so I’d like to launch a silly contest on good education movie lines.

CALDER lays out the research behind aspects of Waiting for Superman. From New York, more on charter restructuring from SUNY, background is here. And here’s a great interview with Common Good’s Phillip Howard from The Daily Show.

TAP System (BW has worked with their parent org) hosted a discussion on performance-based pay, you can watch here.

From Motown, some bad news.  Turns out the revolutionary teachers contract wasn’t really so revolutionary after all.  Who would have thunk it at the time? Oh right, nevermind. The good news, some cool opportunities to be part of change there via Michigan Future Schools.

SIIA wants to get personal. And Checker Finn gives a quick overview on yesterday’s NAEP release.

Really interesting opportunity at, Military Client Services Manager.

One Reply to “And Now For Something Different…(And An Edujob!)”

  1. Race to the Top’s pilot programs likely delayed

    Public schools likely won’t begin piloting new teacher evaluations related to the federal Race to the Top initiative in January, as originally scheduled, because of delays in drawing up new evaluation criteria.

    Seven school districts are scheduled to pilot the new evaluations at the start of next year, after receiving recommendations regarding new criteria from the Maryland Council on Educator Effectiveness. The council is a 21-member group that includes State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick, state legislators, teachers, board of education members, administrators and union officials.

    State and local school officials intend to pilot the evaluations in seven districts for 18 months as part of Maryland’s participation in the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top program, which distributes money to states that demonstrate plans to reform underperforming schools, attract and retain effective teachers, and evaluate teachers on a more rigorous basis.

    In August, Maryland received $250 million in Race to the Top funding, one of 11 states to do so along with the District of Columbia. The state’s application includes the seven districts identified for the pilot and the January start date.

    The program will be tested in Baltimore city and Baltimore, Charles, Kent, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s and St. Mary’s counties. The group’s guidelines are due to be submitted to Gov. Martin O’Malley, school officials and state legislators on Dec. 31; a year later, the council is scheduled to recommend changes or corrections to the evaluation system based on experiences in the pilot.

    But on Nov. 17, a spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education indicated the council likely will not complete its work by Dec. 31. The pilots can’t start until the council’s work is complete.

    If the council has not issued its guidelines by Dec. 31, the pilot programs would have to start in fall 2011, state education department spokesman William Reinhard said.

    “It isn’t likely that they will have everything completely tied up by the deadline,” Reinhard said.

    The department’s goal remains to have the pilot programs ready in January, Reinhard said, and the full implementation of Race to the Top programs and evaluations in all of Maryland’s public schools still is scheduled for the 2012-13 school year.

    “I think the magnitude of the issue is much larger than the time frame we’ve had to work on it,” said Christopher S. Barclay, a member of the council and vice-president of the Board of Education for Montgomery County, one of two school systems in the state that did not officially support the state’s Race to the Top application. “I think it was extremely optimistic to have that short amount of time to grapple with what is a very large and critical issue.”

    Among the difficulties the council is grappling with is how teachers in subjects other than math and language arts will be evaluated, Barclay said.

    “What I don’t want to see for my children or the children in any county of this state is for them to be required to take even more tests,” he said.

    Barclay said he wasn’t sure when he thought the council could finish its work.

    Race to the Top funding would not be endangered by a pilot delay, Reinhard said. The U.S. Department of Education has indicated that, while deviations from the state’s application would jeopardize funding, each situation would be examined separately.

    The Charles County Board of Education has received no instructions from the state department of education about preparations for the pilot in the district, said Charles board member Jennifer S. Abell.

    “Last I heard, we were just still in the waiting mode,” Abell said.

    The likelihood of a delay was not influenced by a vote from a joint General Assembly committee on Nov. 8 regarding new teacher evaluation regulations, Reinhard said.

    After hearing testimony from school and teacher’s union officials, the committee voted 12-3 to declare that the evaluation criteria that state officials outlined in Maryland’s Race to the Top Application contradicted a new state law that places less statistical weight on student growth in the evaluation process.

    O’Malley (D) said he would seek a compromise between the education department and state legislators without endangering the $250 million in Race to the Top funds.

    The full council has met four times since Maryland was awarded Race to the Top funds on Aug. 24, Barclay said, and is scheduled to meet two more times before Dec. 31.

    The council, created by O’Malley, is required to define “effective” and “highly effective” teachers and principals, and the relationship between student growth portions of evaluations and other parts of the evaluations. The governor wrote that the council’s recommendations should also ensure that teachers are evaluated using fair, timely, and rigorous standards.

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