In late February, Holbrook Language Academy in Concord, California, a two-way, Spanish and English dual immersion magnet school, held a workshop to educate parents about the domains of language learning — reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking. A normal schedule, in which students would learn half of the day in English and half in Spanish, has now been reduced to an hour or so through Zoom and as many bilingual videos and resources Marshall can find.
For years, incorporating technology into blended learning environments has been a luxury for the districts that can afford it and an aspiration for those that don’t have the resources for device rollouts. But with coronavirus-related closures going through April and extending through the end of the school year for some states, 1:1 devices have suddenly become the preferred avenue for instruction. This means districts are now focusing heavily on tech-centered professional development as teachers remotely learn how to teach online — something the U.S. Department of Education recently allowed the repurposing and rollover of the previous year’s state funding for.
Sorting Through Performance Evaluations: The Influence of Performance Evaluation Reform on Teacher Attrition and Mobility
The federal Race to the Top initiative signified a shift in American education policy whereby accountability efforts moved from the school to the teacher level. Using administrative data from Tennessee, we explore whether evaluation reforms differentially influenced mobility patterns for teachers of varying effectiveness. We find that the rollout of a statewide evaluation system, even without punitive consequences, was associated with increased turnover; however, there was comparably greater retention of more effective teachers, with larger differences in turnover between highly and minimally effective teachers confined to urban districts and low-performing schools. These results imply that states and districts can increase exit rates of low-performing instructors in the absence of automatic dismissals, which is a pattern that our analyses suggest may not generalize beyond urban school settings.
Schools play a critical role in brokering access to college and career information and resources. The authors used the American Teacher Panel and American School Leader Panel to survey nationally representative samples of teachers and principals in U.S. public high schools about their perceptions of the quality and availability of their schools’ supports for college and career transitions. The authors found that, although both groups of educators reported widespread supports, inequities both within and between schools are likely to limit some students’ opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed after high school, as well as their awareness of available postsecondary pathways. Although sufficient postsecondary transition support was widely reported for high-achieving students, sufficient support for underrepresented minority students, low-income students, and underachieving students was reported less frequently.
To encourage learning while schools are shut down, Illinois education officials have gathered online tools for educators and promoted the hashtag #keeplearning. Some students in Illinois, however, won’t be able to watch their teacher conduct live science experiments or download a story time video. They don’t have a computer or high-speed internet at home, or a cellphone data plan that would support it. A Chicago Tribune-ProPublica Illinois analysis found digital inequities across the state, the effects of which will be exacerbated as families are isolated inside their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. In more than 500 of the state’s roughly 3,100 census tracts, there were fewer than 600 quality connections per 1,000 residents, accounting for a significant portion of Illinois geography. At least 54 census tracts had even lower rates of connectivity as of the end of 2017, the analysis showed.
Approximately one year ago educators from around the country came to New York City to celebrate the launch of the RAND Corporation’s report Principal Pipelines: A Feasible, Affordable, and Effective Way for Districts to Improve Schools. The report, which examined the impact of a strategic approach to school leader development in the six large districts that took part in Wallace’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, found a positive impact on student achievement and principal retention. A lot has happened since we released the findings, and it’s no understatement to say a lot has happened in the world around us as well. Still, we thought this day was worthy of note, both to acknowledge the significance of the original findings and the work they have inspired.