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Districts must do more to ensure low-income and minority students have access to top-notch teachers, says a new report. Poor students and students of color are less likely to be taught by a highly effective teacher than are other students, but there are some pockets where change is occurring.

Ken Royal is a former teacher and DA editor. He blogs at connectlearningtoday.com.

If you’re an educator, at any level or grade, sitting back and expecting education change to happen, without you getting involved, you need to stand up now. If you think that you can’t do something, or start change, you’re mistaken.

Kenneth Goldberg is author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.

Few topics generate as much debate in education as homework. Experts disagree on its educational value, and research offers little clarification. Teachers and parents vary in how much homework they think children should do. So where do principals fit into the homework system?

Paul Finch is the superintendent of the Red Hook Central School District in Red Hook, N.Y.

What happened? This is what we at the Red Hook Central School District had to ask when we looked at our student achievement data.

In some cases, there was a mismatch between our beliefs about certain teachers and actual performance, as measured by student achievement data. Ultimately, our personal biases were exposed and this led us to rethink our hiring practices.

Teacher-turned-activist Sabrina Stevens is executive director of Integrity In Education.

In mid-January a new organization called Integrity In Education was launched with the goal of “exposing the corporate and profit-motivated influences working to control public education across the country.”

is Van Roekel speaks at a recent conference, sponsored by the Education Writers Association and held at the University of Chicago, about teacher evaluations. Next to him, from his left are:

Changing state laws and the rise of evaluations have given administrators more flexibility in removing tenured teachers, a task that had long been nearly impossible. More states are tying student achievement to teacher evaluations and renegotiating contracts.

The National Education Association (NEA) has taken the position that teachers should be held accountable for providing high-quality classroom instruction. To avoid drawn-out legal battles, districts also should have a cost-effective, efficient system in place if someone has to be dismissed, the group states.

Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp once said, “If top recent college graduates devoted two years to teaching in public schools, they could have a real impact on the lives of disadvantaged kids.” I agree. TFA members and other short-term teachers have changed kids’ lives—for the worse.

As an idealistic Ivy League graduate, I was the student TFA likes to recruit. According to Kopp’s thesis, my education, academic achievements, and enthusiasm would transfer into great teaching.

This online school creates customized, web-based professional development programs for individuals, schools, and districts across the country. Professional development options are delivered as virtual courses, live webinars, or as face-to-face customized workshops. FLVS courses are specifically designed for student motivation, school leadership, and online teaching.

Year: 
2013

Teacher substitute placement and absence management can be automated online and over-the-phone with this online tool. Teachers can register their absences at any time, either by calling a toll-free number or by logging on to Aesop online. Aesop also saves data entry time by integrating with other software applications.

Reader Testimony: 

“The program has been an excellent tool to help refute unemployment compensation claims when filed by substitute teachers. The attendance tracking feature is highly accurate and helps us effectively record employee absences. The electronic approval has replaced the outdated paper/pencil system for administrators to approve personal days or vacation days.”

—Thomas Sigafoos, director of human resources, Upper Dublin School District, Pa.

Year: 
2013

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