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Teaching and leadership resources

50-State Comparison: Teacher License Reciprocity

Teacher license reciprocity allows educators who hold a teaching license in one state to earn a license in another state, subject to meeting state-specific requirements. Reciprocity agreements allow states to work through variations in licensing systems to coordinate license transfers and fill vacant teaching positions with qualified candidates. Most states have policies in place to extend reciprocity for certain teachers, but few states provide full reciprocity for all fully licensed teachers from other states.

Uncertain educational environment requires shift in PD

Teaching underwent a massive change this spring when most schools switched to distance learning, and with educators facing an uncertain upcoming school year, professional development must shift to help them prepare, Mount Holyoke College Professor Megan Allen writes for Edutopia. Allen, a 2010 National Teacher of the Year finalist, suggests adding PD on trauma-informed instruction, as many students will have experienced trauma from the pandemic, the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd or new financial uncertainty within their family. Professional development should also focus on team building and collaboration, as teachers are leaning more on each other to navigate this new environment.

Evidence on the Validity, Reliability, and Usability of the Measuring and Improving Student-Centered Learning (MISCL) Toolkit

Student-centered learning (SCL) describes various approaches that keep students’ goals, interests, and needs central to the teaching and learning process. Despite the recent proliferation of SCL approaches, researchers and practitioners are still learning about which SCL strategies are most effective for supporting student achievement and how to measure them. This report summarizes a study on the validity, reliability, and usability of the Measuring and Improving Student-Centered Learning (MISCL) Toolkit, which was developed to help school systems measure, understand, and reflect on the extent of SCL and equitable distribution of SCL opportunities in high schools.

A State Policymaker’s Guide to Equitable Transitions in the COVID-19 Era

This Policy Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the equity issues amplified in the cross-section of high school-to-college transitions and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as concrete ideas for policy action to address immediate and arising high-priority concerns. It is organized into six thematic areas: admissions and enrollment, academic readiness, access to financial resources, experiential learning, new learning environments and non-academic supports.

Study finds racial, gender gaps in principal hiring

Black and female assistant principals are less likely than their white and male counterparts to be promoted to principal. And when they are, it takes longer, according to a study published Monday. Analyzing Texas Education Agency data on promotions for almost 4,700 assistant principals in the state from 2001 to 2017, Lauren Bailes at the University of Delaware and Sarah Guthery at Texas A&M University–Commerce found equally qualified black assistant principals were 18% percent less likely to be promoted than white candidates. In addition, when they did become principal, it took 5.27 years, compared to 4.67 for white candidates. The researchers identified a gender gap specifically at the high school level, with women 5-7% less likely to be promoted to principal and waiting 5.62 years for the position, compared to 4.94 years for men. In a comment, Bailes noted that because serving as a high school principal is often a pathway toward top-level district positions, women who serve as elementary principals are “less likely to be tapped for superintendencies and other district leadership positions.”

Illinois English Learner Handbook

This handbook is presented with the goal of achieving increased academic outcomes and the lifelong success of English Learners. It is designed to support school leaders who are working with students across the state speaking languages other than English. The handbook was created in collaboration with the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Principals Association, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Latino Policy Forum. Along with extensive research and legal guidance, the handbook honors the voices of English Learner educators throughout the state who are providing examples of best practice each and every day.

Student Teachers Learned Intense Lessons Under COVID-19

While the pandemic has brought disruption to daily lives, it has reminded us of the important role teachers play in their students’ lives. Teachers are hardworking, dedicated and effective. Recently, the irreplaceable nature of their work has been reaffirmed by millions of students and their parents. Teachers not only promote learning, help students make connections and nurture their confidence, they also selflessly contribute to preparing the next generation of educators.

Policymakers: Now, More Than Ever, Plan for Next Year With Teachers

Data Access and Use Among Middle and High School Principals

Schools and districts across the United States have invested heavily in data management systems to facilitate educators’ access to data that can inform their work. School principals, in particular, make countless decisions that could benefit from access to data in these systems. Principals also help create cultures of data use within their schools, providing guidance and supporting the conditions that enable other school staff to use data effectively and appropriately. Using results from a nationally representative survey of principals from the RAND Corporation’s American Educator Panels, the authors examine middle and high school principals’ access to several types of data about their students’ outcomes and experiences, along with the ways in which principals report using those data. The authors also explore principals’ reports regarding collaborations with leaders of other schools around data use because this type of collaboration can provide useful professional learning opportunities.

Taking Stock of Principal Pipelines: What Public School Districts Report Doing and What They Want to Do to Improve School Leadership

In overwhelming percentages, top-ranking officials in large and medium-size school districts regard effective school leadership as essential to school improvement. Yet only about half are satisfied with the pool of candidates in their principal pipelines—suggesting that pipelines themselves could be improved. That’s one takeaway from this first-of-its-kind study, a national overview of the use of and interest in principal pipelines to shape a large corps of effective school leaders. Interviewees for the report—superintendents or other leading administrators from a nationally representative sample of 175 medium- to large-size districts—clearly thought that principals were crucial players in efforts to upgrade education.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Ban on Tax-Credit Scholarships for Religious Schools

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a Montana state constitutional provision barring aid to religion discriminated against religious schools and families seeking to benefit from a tax credit for donations for scholarships. “Montana’s no-aid provision bars religious schools from public benefits solely because of the religious character of the schools,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the court in a 5-4 decision. “The provision also bars parents who wish to send their children to a religious school from those same benefits, again solely because of the religious character of the school.”