Shortchanged: The Hidden Cost of Lockstep Teacher Pay

TNTPThis new report from TNTP analyzes the impact of lockstep compensation systems, which pay teachers almost exclusively based on years of experience and academic credits, and proposes paying teachers for what really matters: how hard their jobs are and how well they do them.

The report shows that paying teachers without regard for their actual performance shortchanges great teachers-and costs schools and students dearly.

Consider the consequences of lockstep pay:

  • Low early-career salaries keep talented people from even considering teaching.
  • Great teachers feel pressure to leave the classroom, while less successful ones are encouraged to stay.
  • The best teachers aren’t recognized for leading the classrooms where they’re needed most.

If we seriously believe in the value of great teaching, we have to not only pay teachers more but also pay them differently. This isn’t just hypothetical: More than 25 districts, states and charter networks are already revamping how they pay their teachers, and they offer a road map for building smarter compensation systems across the country.

For more information, please visit:


Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers

all4ed webinarThe Alliance for Excellent Education has released a new webinar and report on Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers.

Webinar: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers

This webinar highlighted current trends in the teaching workforce, the research on induction programs, and a systems approach to creating supportive teaching and learning conditions. In conjunction with the webinar, the Alliance released a new report—On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers (see below)—that examines research on teacher turnover and performance and the implications for designing induction supports and professional learning as part of a coherent teacher development system.

On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning TeachersRoughly half a million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year—attrition that costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually. This high turnover rate disproportionately affects high-poverty schools and seriously compromises the nation’s capacity to ensure that all students have access to skilled teaching, according to this Alliance report. To curb turnover—especially among new teachers—this report recommends a comprehensive induction program comprised of multiple types of support, including high-quality mentoring, common planning times, and ongoing support from school leaders.

To view the webinar, please visit:

To read the report, see:


Alternative student outcomes in teacher evaluation systems

IES_NCESWhat do we know about using alternative student growth measures to evaluate teacher performance? The following three updates from The Institute of Education Sciences provide research-based answers to that question.

States increasingly are interested in incorporating measures of student achievement growth in teacher evaluations. But the typical measure of student growth—progress on state assessments from one school year to the next—usually covers only reading and math and only in grades 4–8. Members of REL Mid-Atlantic’s Teacher Evaluation Research Alliance wanted to understand more about the alternatives, and the REL produced this research review at the link below in response:

How are states defining and applying Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) in their teacher evaluation systems?

REL Northeast and Islands provides an overview of how states are using SLOs, based on a review of state education websites. SLOs are an alternative to the more generally used value-added modeling with standardized test scores. See

How does research inform practical questions about using alternative student growth measures?

Dr. Brian Gill, an expert on teacher evaluation, hosted this REL Mid-Atlantic webinar to discuss his research on alternative student growth measures and to answer questions from the audience. The fall 2013 webinar recording, slides, and FAQs are available at the link below. To access the materials, visit


The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) build the capacity of educators to use data and research to improve student outcomes. Each REL responds to needs identified in its region and makes learning opportunities and other resources available to educators throughout the United States.


Teachers feel satisfied yet underappreciated

logooecd_enAn often-cited educational utopia is Finland, but even there, a new study finds, only 58.6% of teachers said they felt properly appreciated.

The new study is from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and is entitled the “Teaching and Learning International Survey”. It questioned more than 100,000 lower secondary school teachers and about 6,500 head teachers from 34 countries. This is the second such survey, with the last coming in 2008.

Despite the low numbers in terms of teachers feeling properly appreciated, which also included only 4.9% of teachers in France saying that society valued their work and 5% in Sweden, other figures were more encouraging.

Overall job satisfaction was high with 9 out of 10 teachers positive about their work and 8 out of 10 saying they would choose teaching again, if starting anew.

Another area that the survey addressed was that of where experienced teachers are likely to teach. Results showed that teachers with at least 5 years of teaching experience tend not to be in economically challenged schools.

This international survey, which did include the US, is consistent with similar surveys conducted just in the United States in that figures show teachers feel underappreciated. In the U.S., the figure is about a third feeling properly appreciated. The overall concern with these figures is that it will be a disincentive for highly qualified prospective teachers to join the teaching force.

For more information, please visit:



August Issue Brief: Teacher Compensation

In Case You Missed It!Education reformers are working diligently to design new teacher compensation systems and career pathways that reward high-quality teaching, equitably distribute effective teachers, and offer opportunities for advancement without leaving the classroom. In this month’s issue brief, we explore various resources, research reports, and ideas related to teacher compensation to provide food for thought about this important topic.

How can teacher compensation plans be designed to promote excellence in teaching and equitable distribution of effective teachers? Which teacher compensation initiatives are most effective for promoting desired outcomes? Please respond to our call for commentary. We’d love to hear from you!

To check out this month’s newsletter and access resources on teacher compensation, please follow this link:

To ensure you do not miss future issues, we encourage you to subscribe to the monthly newsletter by following this link:


Getting Personal: Teachers, Technology, and Tailored Instruction

Education Week American Education News Site of RecordFaced with tougher state standards and new research about how children learn, more schools and school districts have plunged into variants of personalized learning, or approaches to instruction that seek to better cater to students’ individual learning needs. This special report from Education Week explores that growing interest in personalized learning, looking at how related instructional initiatives are playing out in the classroom and what solutions and challenges they pose for teachers and schools.


Betting Big on Personalized Learning

In 2012, the Iredell-Statesville district in North Carolina won a $20 million grant to pursue a personalized-learning initiative. Now, the district’s leaders want to make sure they get it right.

Before Buying Technology, Asking ‘Why?’

Districts might believe that personalized learning follows directly from major technology purchases, but the reality tends to show otherwise.

Amid Skepticism, Blended-Learning Models Aim to Transform Teachers’ Work

Some advocates say that digitally oriented instructional arrangements can improve not only student learning but teachers’ working conditions and job satisfaction as well.

Award-Winning Educator Taps Technology to Layer Instruction

English teacher Diana Neebe helped create her school’s 1-to-1 iPad curriculum. Along the way, she reconceptualized English class.

Learning by Universal Design (Interview)

Neuropsychologist David H. Rose, a principal architect of Universal Design for Learning, says classrooms need a richer mix of resources and more emotion.

How I Blended My Math Class (First Person)

Silvestre Arcos, an award-winning math teacher at KIPP: Washington Heights Middle School, says that bringing technology into his classroom has boosted engagement and given him more flexibility to address students’ learning needs.

Any Way You Want It: A Video Collection on Personalized Learning (Video)

In these videos from our editorial partners at Teaching Channel, teachers and students discuss personalized learning and the instructional approaches that ground it.

Read this entire report here.


Landmark Partnership in Maryland

????????????????????In a landmark agreement, leaders of eight Maryland education organizations are joining together to support the implementation of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs), a key component of the new teacher and principal evaluation system. This level of collaboration is unprecedented at the statewide level.

All of the organizations have agreed to coordinate resources and strategies and provide teachers and principals with the training and tools necessary to develop high quality SLOs. The SLO process supports the primary goal of the evaluation system–to improve effectiveness in the classroom and ultimately increase student growth.

The organizations include the Maryland State Board of Education, Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland State Education Association, Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland, Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals, Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals, and Baltimore Teachers Union.

Details of this unique partnership are covered in The Washington Post, Associated Press, The Baltimore Sun, and Education Week.


Test and Punish – A Reality or Mirage?

newamericafoundationAnne Hyslop of the New America Foundation has written a compelling piece about the supposed test-and-punish legacy of No Child Left Behind. Nearly 15 years on from that piece of legislation, which many prominent public school advocates such as Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University and AFT President Randi Weingarten have lampooned for its punitive measures for underperforming schools and its teach-to-the-test tendencies, Hyslop argues convincingly that the accountability model of NCLB has never really materialized. (In few cases where it has been allowed to take force, improvements have been made, especially for low-performing students and in math.)

Because of the Obama Administration’s waivers, states have even more flexibility and time before accountability measures are implemented. For example:

High stakes [for teacher evaluations] don’t have to enter the picture until Spring 2017—after Arne Duncan hands over the keys to the next Secretary of Education. Teachers could get two ratings and two rounds of “support and improvement” before any stakes are involved (and even then, federal leverage is limited in terms of how much evaluations must inform personnel decisions). And don’t forget, the Department has also let states apply for an extra year to use evaluations to “inform” those decisions. That delays full implementation until as late as Spring 2018. Simply, the debate over whether there should be consequences for teachers during the transition to new assessments often obscures the fact that a no-stakes period is already standard federal policy. And now that the Department is relaxing its review process for extending the waivers, they could be opening the door to even more delays—a move that would be welcomed by many, including Darling-Hammond and Weingarten.

Hyslop sums up the situation bluntly:

In short, if educators or local officials feel like today’s accountability systems “test and punish” them, it’s got much more to do with their responses to federal accountability, not the policy itself. In the transition to new standards and tests, states have tried to be sensible and already halted many of the consequences. If NCLB is a zombie, then “test-and-punish” accountability is a ghost: you might think you see it, and you might be afraid of it, but turn on the light, and you’ll find it just isn’t there.

Hyslop concludes her hard-hitting article with a call for states and districts to make hard choices to actually make improvements:

It may not be as easy to implement, or as cheap, but there are alternatives that don’t sacrifice high-quality, rich instruction at the altar of test-based accountability. These alternatives may require building professional capacity, training teachers and leaders differently, and providing new resources and time… And making these choices more popular will require tackling education challenges—often beyond the scope of accountability policy—head-on, from teacher preparation to school leadership.

For more information, please visit:


Teacher Led Professional Learning aims to catalyze changes to ensure that all teachers have the chance to learn on the job and that great teachers can lead on the job.

The website starts with a simple premise:

Schools already have their greatest professional development resource on hand: great teachers who are ready to take on leadership roles, who could lead professional development that is a natural part of everyday school work. Instead of continuing to spend great sums on low-impact professional development, schools must allow these teachers to continue teaching while helping their peers improve.

To design high-quality, teacher-led professional learning, the website offers overviews and links to resources for every step, from schools, districts, and supporting organizations across the U.S.:

  • Defining teacher-leader roles: Descriptions of teacher-leadership roles that put great teachers in charge of developing their peers
  • Selecting teacher-leaders: Information on skills and competencies that teacher-leaders need to help their peers improve instruction and achieve positive student impact
  • Training for teacher-leaders: Descriptions and links for well-regarded national teacher-leader training programs
  • Finding time for teacher-led professional learning: Multiple ways to find time during the school day for frequent, teacher-led, job-embedded, collaborative development
  • Funding for teacher leadership: Funding methods for on-the-job teacher leadership
  • Leading successful teams: Research and resources on successful team leadership
  • Evaluating teacher-leaders: Methods for developing effective evaluation for teacher-leaders

The new website was developed by a team of the Pahara-Aspen Teacher-Leader Fellows including teacher-leaders, union leaders, nonprofit leaders and others. The fellows’ goal is to help teachers and their schools, unions, and districts implement collaborative, job-embedded professional learning that leads to better student learning by developing and using the skills of involved teacher-leaders.

The Teacher-Leader Fellows who conceived of the website believe teacher-leaders need their own training and development, time to collaborate with and help peers during the school day, and supportive administrators who ensure that professional learning is part of everyday teaching. They believe that teacher-leaders should lead the great majority of professional development in schools-and be paid and empowered to develop excellence among teaching peers.

Teachers consistently report wanting more collaboration and opportunities to develop. With high-quality professional learning led by great teacher-leaders on the job, all teachers win-and students can reap the rewards.

For more information, please visit:


Achieve and Teaching Channel Partnership to Release Videos for Teachers

achieveAchieve and Teaching Channel announced the launch of their new partnership by releasing three new videos that introduce and explore Achieve’s Evaluating Quality Instructional Products (EQuIP) initiative. The videos, which are publicly available for viewing on Teaching Channel’s website (, introduce the EQuIP Peer Review process and provide an in-depth look at real teachers using the mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) rubrics to evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units.

EQuIP was launched by Achieve as a means of identifying high-quality materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The objectives of the EQuIP initiative are twofold:

(1) to increase the supply of high quality lessons and units aligned to the CCSS that are available to elementary, middle, and high school teachers as soon as possible; and

(2) to build the capacity of educators to evaluate and improve the quality of instructional materials for use in their classrooms and schools.

Lessons and units submitted to the EQuIP peer review panel are evaluated on a rubric with four different dimensions: alignment to the standards, evidence of instructional shifts, evidence of instructional supports, and assessment. Each dimension contains specific criteria and clear guideposts for using the rubric to provide feedback. The EQuIP peer review panel is currently comprised of 55 educators representing nearly half of the states in the U.S. Peer reviewers volunteer up to 12 days over the course of their commitment and collaborate both in person and virtually. Since the program’s inception, EQuIP peer reviewers have identified and publicly posted 40 lessons/units rated “Exemplar” or “Exemplar if Improved.”

The three EQuIP videos produced by Teaching Channel provide an overview of the peer review process and introduction to the benefits for both ELA and mathematics teachers. Peer reviewers and Achieve staff explain the dimensions of the rubric as well as the ways in which EQuIP-reviewed products can be used in real classrooms.

All three videos can be viewed here:

Individual videos are listed below:

EQuIP Overview:

Using the EQuIP math rubric:

Using the EQuIP ELA rubric:

To learn more about EQuIP or download exemplary lessons and units, please visit