Since the Obama Administration has quietly transitioned to a normative accountability system, where schools are compared to each other rather than to some pre-determined “proficiency” benchmark, it doesn’t matter if all students appear to perform worse this year.
Rather than having regular check-ups on student progress, with relatively low stakes on those results, we’d have much higher stakes attached to a smaller number of test scores.
As the edu-intelligentsia anxiously anticipates another attempt at updating the law, it’s worth revisiting how we got our last reauthorization.
In the fantasy world that the National Institute on Retirement Security has created, state pension plans do a bang-up job of delivering benefits to workers. That’s just not the reality of the world we live in.
A court ruling is potentially very problematic for new teachers and those who aren’t yet teaching.
Teachers might prefer a different arrangement than current state pension plans, but they don’t really have a voice in those decisions.
If teachers are the most-important in-school factor for student growth, we certainly don’t act like it.
Teachers are forced to forego their own retirement savings in order to pay down a debt accrued over many years. It harms their future retirement security and, by forcing districts into painful budget decisions, it harms the quality of education delivered to Colorado’s students.
A common perception about how we pay public sector workers is fundamentally flawed.
Pension plans have not made much of a dent in their long-term unfunded debt. How could this be?
Charter schools and their teachers pay the same high employer and employee contribution rates as all other schools, but higher turnover rates mean their teachers will get much less in return.
No one is seriously advocating for reducing the pensions of any individual teachers or retirees.
When the public is led to believe financial issues are the only problems with today’s pension plans, financial issues will be the only problems legislators seek to address.
Despite state policy changes, many districts still don’t factor student growth into teacher evaluation ratings in a meaningful way.
Over the years, legislators increased pension benefits significantly, but they have not distributed those increases evenly to all teachers.
As states revamp their teacher evaluation systems, they continue to search for that magic number: the percentage of a teacher evaluation rating that should be based on student academic performance.
Elizabeth Green’s story for Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?” is a must-read. But for all the time Green spends documenting the ways Americans stink at math, she never mentions that we’ve gotten much better.
Rachel Aviv’s article about a cheating scandal involving teachers at one middle school in Atlanta is very well-written, but the sources of the pressure on Atlanta teachers and principals to improve and the threat behind it are more complex than NCLB alone.
Are state pension plans a recruitment or retention incentive for teachers? It’s complicated, but many of the claims about the value of pensions don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Are Maryland Teachers Leaving Because of the Common Core or New Teacher Evaluation Requirements? Probably Not.
There are a number of factors that may affect teacher retention in any given year. We should be wary about trying to pin down any one reason.
Instead of hiring more teachers or paying them more money, districts are devoting an increasing share of finite resources to employee benefits.
In the median state, teachers must wait 24 years before their pension is finally worth more than their own contributions.
Faced with a budget crisis, Illinois offered teachers a generous early retirement package. Large numbers of older, more experienced teachers took the offer, Here’s what happened next.
California discovered a $2.4 billion budget surplus from what it projected in January, but that money won’t be going to any new, exciting program.
Under a provision in the federal No Child Left Behind Act called “safe harbor,” states must set different standards for different groups.
States have responded to their pension funding gaps by cutting retirement benefits for new hires and increasing the amount of time workers need to serve before qualifying for a pension, raising the normal retirement age, and reducing benefit formulas.
Teachers need leaders willing to have courageous conversations about how to modernize and improve retirement security for all of our nation’s teachers.
High mobility rates and a 10-year service requirement for teachers to qualify ensure that less than half of Michigan’s new teachers will remain long enough to earn a pension
No, or at least not very much
Teachers should insist that all forms of compensation—including retirement benefits—are paid for upfront and that benefit promises are matched by real contributions.
For the average full-career state worker, traditional defined benefit plans are working quite well.
Most states are living up to the promises in their waiver, but Washington over-promised in this case, and failure to fix it may force them back under No Child Left Behind.
The unpredictable nature of pension contibutions has a real consequence on school district budgets and, therefore, on teachers.
The majority of teachers in these cities do not remain in the same district long enough to qualify for even a minimal pension, and only a very tiny fraction of teachers stay long enough to receive a pension that would be sufficient for a stable retirement.
Will states and cities facing skyrocketing costs find a way to protect the retirement benefits that people have already earned while making changes to the way benefits are earned in the future?
Empirically, pensions appear to have no effect on early- or mid-career teachers.
Pension plans need to estimate how much money they’ll need in order to pay the benefits they’ve promised in the future. They also need to estimate how many employees will qualify for a benefit in the first place.
Illinois recently passed pension reform legislation with robust bipartisan support. Here’s how and why it happened.
Cities and states faced with rising pension costs have begun to search for the most effective way to balance retirement promises made to workers with the need for fiscal sustainability and employer flexibility.
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