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Bennet, Alexander, Mikulski Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Create Academies that Prepare Great Teachers and Principals


Ohanian Comment: The Democrats do it again.

First, we have a press release from Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. On the strength of his political connections and a Yale Law School degree, Bennet was appointed superintendent of the Denver Public schools in 2005, where he served a brief tenure. He is listed as a lecturer/advisor in the Broad Residency program.

Next, we have a letter written on New Schools Venture fund letterhead supporting this proposed legislation. This letter seems to include a fairly complete list of the usual suspects.

Finally, see a Politico article claiming "The legislation is also supported by leading universities with teacher training programs and major school district leaders."

NOTE: The only current head of a public school to sign this is Broad-trained Jean-Claude Brizard, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools, whose name aptly appears next to that of the Business Roundtable. Jason Kamras, Chief, Office of Human Capital, District of Columbia Public Schools, also signed. Kamras lists being an "adviser on education policy to the Barack Obama presidential campaign" in his credits. Getting into public ed with Teach for America, he taught math in D. C. for eight years and was named national Teacher of the Year in 2005.

The only universities with teacher training programs that I can see as signers are: National Center for Urban Education at the University of the District of Columbia, the Urban Institute at the University of Chicago, and University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education. Individual signers who work for universities are: and Kenji Hakuta, Lee J. Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford University, and Tom Payzant, Professor of Practice Harvard Graduate School of Education.

To quote Aristotle: One swallow does not a summer make. Nor do a couple of stooges make "leading universities."

I did not know that Politico posted press releases. I hope university people note that small insert against research that is not output related:


The accountability is all about results, or "outputs"-- improving the academic achievement of students in the classroom. None is for "inputs" -- requirements for faculty members to perform research unrelated to teacher preparation.

Question: What will it take to get professors to see that, like teachers, they are being eaten alive? What will it take to get them to fight back?

Has the AAUP endorsed the SOS March? Has AERA?


I would remind you when you see the Center for American Progress Action Fund as a signer that the Center for America Progress, quasi-progressives, wrote then-Senator Barack Obama's first speech on education policy.

And finally, as you read the Politico spam, a word about the author connections: Ted Mitchell is chief executive officer of NewSchools Venture Fund. Tim Knowles is director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. Christina Hall and Jennifer Green are co-founders and co-directors of the Urban Teacher Center, a teacher training outfit.

SMALL NOTE on the Money connections (There is so much one could say): The Urban Teacher Center lists its supporters here. You should also note that they received a $1 million Race to the Top grant. In 2010, the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute received $11.6 million from the U.S. Department of Education. And remember who Duncan chose to direct Race to the Top: Joanne Weiss, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at NewSchools Venture Fund.

When the U. S. Department of Education wants promoters for a bill, it has plenty of cards to call in.


Press Release from Sen. Bennet's newsroom

Bennet, Alexander, Mikulski Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Create Academies that Prepare Great Teachers and Principals
June 22, 2011


Washington, DC-- U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) today introduced a bipartisan bill to create and support academies that train and support great teachers and principals to help improve student achievement in high-need schools. The Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies (GREAT) Teachers and Principals Act would help grow new kinds of teacher and principal training academies that are held accountable to high standards in exchange for reduced bureaucracy and red tape. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have also cosponsored the bill.

"My time as superintendent of Denver Public Schools taught me there is no harder or more important job than being a teacher," said Bennet. "We need to do a better job of preparing and supporting our teachers and principals for this challenging work. This bill will help ensure that we have high quality training academies that produce great teachers and principals."

"Being in the classroom, not just the lecture hall, will help the next generation of teachers and principals get the skills they need to make our schools the best they can be," said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families. "Educators need training where they're supported, where they're mentored, where they get critical feedback, and where they learn what it takes to be a great teacher or principal. Our children deserve the best. That's what this bill is about."

Although studies show that nothing makes a bigger difference to learning that great teaching, the current system for training and supporting teachers and principals, especially to teach in high-need schools, is falling short. Nearly half of teachers leave the profession in the first five years. Three years of good teaching can mean as much as a 53 percentile-point difference in student academic achievement, compared with ineffective teaching, but a leading study of 28 teacher-training programs revealed that more than 60 percent of alumni said that they were not adequately prepared for the classroom.

The GREAT Teachers and Principals Act would create new and more effective avenues for the preparation of great teachers and principals, by harnessing the power of innovation.

The bill supports the growth of new kinds of teacher and principal training academies. Academies would receive federal resources directly through participating states. The academies would be defined by key characteristics:

  • Rigorous selection in admissions to get the best and brightest into the schools where they are needed most

  • Emphasis on clinical instruction in preparing teacher and principal candidates

  • Graduation tied to improving student academic achievement. Programs that fail to produce great teachers or principals will be not be reauthorized.


  • In return for accepting this accountability, academies will be free from burdensome, input-based regulations that are unrelated to student achievement. More than 50 organizations signed a letter of support for the bill led by NewSchools Venture Fund and including the Business Round Table, Teach For America, and the United Negro College Fund.


    Support for Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies [pdf file] for Teachers and Principals Act, S. ____
    June 22, 2011

    The Honorable Tom Harkin
    The Honorable Michael B. Enzi
    Chairman Ranking Member
    Senate Committee on Health, Education, Senate Committee on Health, Education,
    Labor & Pensions Labor & Pensions
    731 Hart Senate Office Building 379A Senate Russell Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510

    Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Enzi:

    We are writing to express our strong support for the Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies for Teacher and Principals Act recently introduced by Senator Bennet, Senator Alexander, Senator Mikulski, Senator Landrieu, and Senator Kirk. We believe this innovative approach to training the next generation of teachers and principals is absolutely vital to meet the needs of today's accountability-driven schools and classrooms, where the ultimate measure of success is tied to student achievement.

    If enacted, the proposed legislation will improve the field of teacher and principal training in three distinct ways. First, the newly created academies will be rigorously selective in who they admit to their programs -- just as West Point admits only the best of the best, so too will these new academies admit and train our most promising teacher and leader candidates. Second, candidates at these academies will receive significant, hands-on clinical training as part of their training, so that these new teachers and principals will be prepared on their very first day at work.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, candidates will only graduate from these academies once they have demonstrated a track record of success in improving student achievement in the classroom. Training academies that fall short of meeting their goals in this regard would not be reauthorized, and would not continue their programs.

    In return for accepting this higher degree of accountability, teacher and principal training academies will be freed from having to satisfy antiquated, input-based requirements. For example, these academies will not be required to hire faculty to conduct research on issues unrelated to student achievement. Similarly, as the use of online learning and electronic readers continues to grow, it makes little sense to impose requirements related to physical infrastructure upon these programs.

    This flexibility will allow these academies to innovate and transform the practice of teacher and principal training, and at the local level.

    There are other exciting, transformative ideas included in the GREAT Teachers and Principals Act as well. Among other things, teacher training programs and programs will serve high-needs areas (including rural areas) and high-needs subjects, and existing high-quality programs will be prioritized for funding.

    Participating states will also have the opportunity to partner with intermediary nonprofit organizations to identify, support and grow the next generation of programs. And academies will continually track the employment of their graduates as they progress throughout all stages of their careers.

    Finally, and importantly, the GREAT Teachers and Principals Act is a voluntary program. Only those states that want to innovate and break with the status quo methods of preparing teachers and principals would apply for funds.

    Further, states will have a wide degree of flexibility in choosing what programs to authorize and support, and in establishing the authorizers that will approve and oversee academies to ensure they are held accountable for results.

    Whether as part of reauthorization the Elementary and Secondary Act or as an independent legislation, we offer our unqualified support for the GREAT Teachers and Principals Act. We need to train the next generation of great teachers and leaders, and this bill will do that.

    Sincerely,

    Achievement First
    Aspire Public Schools
    Black Alliance for Educational Options
    Boston Plan for Excellence
    Boston Teacher Residency
    Jean-Claude Brizard, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools
    Business Roundtable
    Brook Byers, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
    Capital Teaching Residency
    Center for American Progress Action Fund
    Charter School Growth Fund
    Civic Builders
    ConnCAN: Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now
    DC Prep Public Charter School
    Democrats for Education Reform
    DonorsChoose.org
    Charlene Drew Jarvis, Senior Advisor, Jarvis Co.
    E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
    Education Equality Project
    The Education Trust
    EnCorps
    FirstLine Schools
    Lance Fors, Chairman, New Teacher Center
    Peter C. Gorman, former Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
    Green Dot Public Schools
    Kenji Hakuta, Lee J. Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford University
    Jane Hannaway, Director, Education Policy Center, The Urban Institute
    IDEA Public Schools
    Jason Kamras, Chief, Office of Human Capital, District of Columbia Public Schools
    Joel Klein, former Chancellor, New York City public schools; senior advisor, News Corporation
    Knowledge Is Power Program
    Mastery Public Schools
    MATCH Charter Public High School
    MinnCAN: The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now
    National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
    National Center for Urban Education at the University of the District of Columbia
    New Leaders for New Schools
    New Schools for New Orleans
    New Teacher Center
    The New Teacher Project
    NewSchools Venture Fund
    Tom Payzant, Professor of Practice Harvard Graduate School of Education and former Superintendent of Boston Public Schools
    Relay School of Education (formerly Teacher U)
    RI-CAN: The Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now
    Rocketship Education
    Kim Smith, Bellwether Education
    Stand for Children
    Students for Education Reform
    Success Charter Network
    Teach For America
    Uncommon Schools
    United Negro College Fund
    The Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago
    Urban Teacher Center
    Urban Teacher Residency United
    University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education
    YES Prep

    Cc: U.S. Secretary of Education, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education & Pension Members, and U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee Members
    ============
    Politico
    June 23, 2011
    Opinion: A revolution in training teachers
    By Christina Hall and Jennifer Green and Ted Mitchell and Tim Knowles


    An impassioned national debate has erupted around what were once considered arcane matters deep inside the education world: How teachers' skills should be judged, how to help less-skilled teachers get better and what to do if they don't.

    But there are two points where pretty much everyone agrees: quality of teaching matters more than anything else, and we need to do the work that can put a strong teacher in every classroom.

    That first point is now beyond dispute. A year with a strong teacher gives a student a percentile-point boost over a student who spent the year with a less effective teacher. Three straight years with a great teacher can translate into as much as a 53 percentile-point difference. Troublingly, it is the students already most at risk for failure "low-income and minority children" who are most likely to have ineffective teachers.

    To put more effective teachers in the classroom, we have to get better at preparing them. Yet our current preparation and support efforts are uneven. More than 60 percent of education school alumni report that they were not adequately prepared for the classroom.

    Arthur Levine, the former president of Teachers College at Columbia University, has assailed a "chasm between what goes on in the university and what goes on in the classroom." American schools are falling behind those of other industrialized countries, one influential study found, in part, because we don't do enough to support new teachers.

    A wide range of reform-minded thinkers and practitioners -- from universities to K-12 schools to nonprofits--are now working to create the space for innovation in teacher preparation, paired with meaningful accountability for results.

    There's no magic bullet here. We know we still have much more to learn about what makes teachers exceptionally effective. So we need an R&D space for teaching practice -- and to make sure that the ones that flourish are those that translate into better learning for our students.

    That's why we, along with dozens of other leaders from throughout the education field, support the new teacher training bill, Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals, introduced in the Senate Wednesday.

    The bill empowers states to encourage innovation through teacher preparation academies and their equally vital cousins' academies that will train principals. It provides funds to states that submit strong plans for new teacher and principal preparation programs that can prove their effectiveness to high-needs schools and subjects.

    The legislation is also supported by leading universities with teacher training programs, major school district leaders, some of the strongest schools for low-income children, the United Negro College Fund, the Center for American Progress and the Education Trust. (A full list is here.)

    These academies bring a variety of approaches--but they'll have some crucial points in common which, taken together, represent a revolution. They will likely limit admission to candidates with strong potential for success in the field -- axiomatic in professions like law and medicine, but rare in education. They are to provide supported, hands-on clinical instruction-- also like medical training.

    Perhaps most exciting, these new programs not only will gather the data but are willing to be held accountable for the classroom effectiveness of graduates. Indeed, accountability will apply both to new teachers, who will receive final degrees only when they have demonstrated classroom skill, and to the institutions themselves-- which are responsible to the state for the performance of the teachers they train.

    What training programs won't be held responsible for, under this bill, is also important. The accountability is all about results, or "outputs"-- improving the academic achievement of students in the classroom. None is for "inputs"-- requirements for faculty members to perform research unrelated to teacher preparation.

    These steps, which bring teacher training one step closer to that of lawyers and doctors, will help teaching to be recognized as the true profession it deserves to be. More important, it will help to put excellent teachers and principals in the schools where they are needed most.



    — multiple signers
    New Leaders for New Schools and Politico

    2011-06-23

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57582_Page2.html#ixzz1QBwoaoXW

    na


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