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Is A Solid Curriculum a Constraint on Teacher Creativity?

Education Next – Kathleen Porter-Magee

“In education we have been conditioned to believe that mandating curriculum is akin to micromanaging an artist. That’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous. And, as Robert Pondiscio has persuasively argued, it simply makes “an already hard job nearly impossible [for teachers] to do well.” Yet study after study has demonstrated that requiring teachers use a proven textbook or curriculum to guide their teaching is one of the surest ways to improve outcomes for students. In 2009, Cory Koedel and Morgan Polikoff published results from a study comparing the effects of mathematics textbook choices on student achievement in California. They found that “non-trivial gains in student achievement are attainable simply by choosing more effective curriculum materials.”(more)

Tips to help schools reduce teacher workload

The Guardian – Ruth Stokes

“With teacher workload on the up and educators leaving the profession as a result, work-life balance has become a very real issue for schools. So what can schools do to address the problem? In our recent online live chat, we brought a panel of specialists together to discuss possible solutions.”(more)

8 things teachers want you to know about their profession

E-School News – Laura Ascione

“Teachers who are “career changers” and who have come to the teaching profession from other fields say their career change brings benefits to the classroom, according to a new University of Phoenix College of Education survey focusing on how K-12 teachers view their profession. Those benefits include real-world experience, new ideas, teacher diversity, and unique teaching styles and perspectives.”(more)

Making Teaching Cool Again: How Schools Must Adapt To Recruit Millennial Talent

Forbes – Jonathan Cetel

“As an executive director of a non-profit focused on education policy, I often reflect on my teaching experience, and I am convinced that a major overhaul is needed to recruit and retain great teachers. Fundamentally, the profession is not geared toward meeting the needs of millennial talent…In a landmark 2010 McKinsey & Co study, we learned that nearly half of all new teachers come from the bottom third of high school graduates (based on SAT scores) and we are losing teachers quickly. Annually, 13% of teachers leave the classroom and nearly 50% leave after five years. I believe there are three major problems that need to be addressed…The good news is that policymakers are finally catching up to the research and recognizing that teachers are the most important asset in any school. We are starting to see some innovative practices being implemented in districts and states across the country.”(more)

Report: States improve teacher policies

E-School News – Staff Writer

“Policies policies across the U.S. averaged a C- grade, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which on Dec. 8 released its ninth annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook. The annual policy yearbook analyzes every state law, rule and regulation that shapes the teaching profession, from teacher preparation, licensing and evaluation to compensation, professional development and dismissal policy. Across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, states average a C- for their teacher policies in 2015, up from an overall grade of D in 2009. The average state grade has held steady since NCTQ’s last comprehensive report card in 2013, despite the bar being raised on several key topics, including aligning teacher licensing policies with the expectations of college- and career-readiness standards adopted by many states.”(more)

New Report Highlights Teacher Eval Paradox: High Ratings Across the Board, But Growing Backlash

The 74 Million – Matt Barnum

“The vast majority of teachers are still getting high marks, even while most states have begun using student test scores in teacher evaluation at the urging of the Obama administration. That’s according to the National Council for Teacher Quality, which just released the latest in a series of invaluable, deeply researched reports that document how states judge teachers and principals. This research echoes recent reporting from The Seventy Four and elsewhere finding that under new evaluation systems, the overwhelming majority of teachers are deemed effective.”(more)