After Memphis instituted universal screening for its gifted and talented programs, it saw a dramatic uptick in the number of black and Hispanic students who were identified.
Dana Goldstein’s New York Times piece on how textbooks differ across states is well done (and laid out beautifully). History may be written by the victors, but apparently it also has to cater to the whims of state boards of education.
Newark charter schools are producing large gains in reading and math achievement.
Matt Barnum has a helpful rundown of what the research says on what works (and doesn’t) to help students complete college.
Mary Wells offers five ways districts need to change to support autonomous schools.
This two-part conversation with Rick Hess about the complex nature of educational reform and philanthropy is worth your time. Here’s part one and part two. Mostly, it made me think of all the strange career incentives that are baked into our educational system.
How basketball is changing, in one graph.
–Guest post by Chad Aldeman
Newark will no longer pay teachers based on their evaluation ratings and will instead pay teachers solely based on their experience and credentials. This runs counter to the overwhelming finding from the research literature that advanced degrees have little to no effect on student outcomes.
The city will also be making its teacher salaries even more back-loaded. Over the life of the four-year contract, Newark will boost salaries for new teachers by 4.7 percent, while increasing back-end salaries by 6.1 percent. By my read of the union’s materials, the district will ALSO pay longevity bonuses that kick in at 15, 20, 25, and 30 years of experience. I suspect those longevity bonuses are unlikely to have any noticeable effect on retention rates, and my hunch is that Newark’s teacher turnover problems are primarily driven by early-career exits. In other words, Newark is shifting from a pay structure that rewarded good teaching to one that ignores performance and shifts money away from the biggest problem areas. So, not great!
This is a good New York Times piece about states requiring students to fill out the FAFSA in order to graduate. I’ve long been a fan of mandatory FAFSA, and I think the Times piece actually under-sells it. It’s not just that there’s a correlation between FAFSA completion and college attendance; it’s that completing the FAFSA seems to cause more students to attempt college, perhaps because they’re made more aware of the financial aid for which they would qualify. For a number of equity concerns, my idea was to require FAFSA completion in order for a student to participate in a graduation ceremony, not withhold the diploma itself, but states seem to have been careful to design “opt-out” policies to get around those problems. I especially like how Louisiana state chief John White talks in the article about switching the default to everyone should fill out a FAFSA.
Instead of asking “does Head Start work,” Ashley LiBetti says we should be asking which strategies worked, for what population of children, and under what circumstances. Dale Chu asks similar questions about school turnarounds. In a thoughtful essay, he offers three conditions under which school turnarounds might be more likely to work.
–Guest post by Chad Aldeman