Author

Chad Aldeman

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    Author Bio:
    Chad Aldeman is an Associate Partner at Bellwether Education Partners.


Articles

Blog Posts/Multimedia

What Do Pac-Man and Pensions Have in Common?

If states continue to preserve their existing pension systems at any cost, teachers will see the Pension Pac-Man eat further and further into their take-home pay.

05/18/2016

What Was Behind the Rise (and Subsequent Fall) in Teacher Turnover?

Despite the conventional wisdom, there’s very little evidence that current education policies are driving teacher turnover.

05/10/2016

The Chicago Teacher Pension Crisis: By the Numbers

As is true for the state as a whole, Chicago is spending a lot of money to preserve a pension plan that isn’t serving its teachers very well.

04/01/2016

How Many Teachers Deserve Adequate Retirement Benefits? Some? Most? All?

Current teacher retirement systems require teachers to stay 20, 25, or even 30 years before they qualify for adequate retirement benefits.

03/27/2016

How Should States Design School Rating Systems? A Conversation with an Expert

Under the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act, all states will be responsible for designing their own statewide accountability systems.

03/25/2016

3 Reactions to Our Teacher Prep Reports

Our report, which finds that we don’t actually know very much about how to prepare teachers or help them improve, has generated a lot of feedback.

02/08/2016

Can We Predict Who Will Be a Great Teacher? An Interview with Allison Atteberry

How much do we know about a teacher before they enter the classroom? What about after they’ve been teaching a few years? Is any of this information strong enough to act on?

02/02/2016

The Montessori Approach to Teacher Training: An Interview With Jackie Cossentino

Nationwide, the public sector offers more than 400 Montessori programs which now enroll more than 100,000 students. Those numbers are growing as more places offer Montessori programs and more families opt into it.

12/11/2015

School Accountability Before, During, and After NCLB

With NCLB reauthorization taking another step forward, I’m again hearing the refrain that states won’t back away from school accountability when they’re not forced to by the feds.

12/03/2015

Graphs: Teacher Pension Costs Are Higher Than Teacher Pension Benefits

Pension debt alone now eats up to about 10 percent of the average teacher’s compensation. This is money that is spent on teachers but isn’t actually going to them now or in the future; it’s money just to pay down debts that were accrued in the past.

11/23/2015

Hillary Clinton Should Listen to Her Friend Raj Chetty on Teacher Effectiveness

She could learn about his work linking value-added measurement (VAM) scores of teachers to their students’ long-term life outcomes

11/19/2015

Teacher Retention and the Economy: An Example from North Carolina

Teacher turnover rates don’t change all that much over time, but we see higher turnover during economic expansions than during recessions.

11/04/2015

Over the Long Term, NAEP Scores Are Way, Way Up

In anticipation of new NAEP scores coming out this week, I thought it would be useful to spend some time reflecting beforehand on what we know on a macro scale.

10/26/2015

Do New Common Core Test Results Tell Us Anything New?

What do new assessments aligned to the Common Core tell us? Not much more than what we already knew.

10/14/2015

Schooling Isn’t Learning, the Rewards to Better Schools Are Enormous, and Other Observations from Eric Hanushek

An interview about accountability, attainment, and more

10/01/2015

Sorry, Folks, ESEA Reauthorization Just Got Much Harder

Some folks are claiming that news that House Speaker John Boehner will step down at the end of October makes an ESEA reauthorization more likely this fall. That’s just crazy talk.

09/28/2015

Would Pension Plans Be Fine If They Were (Magically) Fully Funded?

Teachers suffer from low salaries while they work in exchange for the promise of better retirement savings when they leave, but for most teachers, that promise never becomes a reality.

09/21/2015

Politicians Couldn’t Agree on a “Common” Yardstick for Schools. Statisticians Created One Anyway.

SchoolGrades uses the results of state tests to create a comparable, A-F grading system for all public elementary and middle schools in the U.S.

09/16/2015

Scott Walker’s Act 10 Caused an Uproar, But Things Are Mostly Back to Normal

In the midst of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s controversial 2011 budget bill, many warned that the state’s public employees, including teachers, would retire in droves.

08/31/2015

Can Teachers Really Teach Anywhere?

Teachers are much more likely to move within a state than to cross state lines.

08/28/2015

Teacher Retention Rates Are Up, Not Down

The data simply don’t support the notion that teachers are leaving schools in droves in response to recent education reforms.

08/20/2015

Teacher Shortage? Blame the Economy

A new study finds that when recessions hit, both men and women are less likely to want to become teachers and instead turn to fields like accounting and engineering.

08/10/2015

Graduation Rates Are Insufficient as an Accountability Measure

Graduation rates don’t tell us very much about whether students are prepared for life after graduation.

07/27/2015

Eye-Opening Stats About High School and College Dropouts

American adults in the 1940s had about the same odds of being a high school graduate as today’s Americans have of being a college graduate.

07/20/2015

Why Aren’t NAEP Scores for High School Students Going Up?

And how do we kickstart achievement for high school students?

07/15/2015

Great News: Fewer Students Attending High School Dropout Factories

Something amazing is going on with high school graduation rates.

07/06/2015

4 Things North Carolina Can Teach Us About the Market for New Teachers

North Carolina has a new “Educator Quality Dashboard” with some fascinating data on teacher preparation in the state.

07/01/2015

Teacher Experience Levels Vary By State

Data suggest that some states should be investing much more heavily in teacher recruitment and retention efforts.

06/21/2015

Teacher Retention and the Economy: An Example from Colorado

Big trends in the economy like unemployment rates and wages have at least as big an impact on teacher mobility as specific education policy changes.

06/09/2015

Eight Ways Teachers Can Maximize Their Pensions

If you read this list and think it doesn’t quite square with why you went into teaching, your pension plan may not be working in your best interests (or the best interest of schools and students).

05/26/2015

Simpson’s Paradox Hides NAEP Gains (Again)

The achievement scores of black, Hispanic, and low-income students have increased dramatically.

05/01/2015

President Obama and the Politics of Pensions

As evidence mounts showing how poorly structured pension plans fail to meet the needs of today’s workforce, let’s hope more politicians make it a trend.

04/08/2015

Campbell’s Law, Cheating, and Atlanta’s NAEP Score Gains

Although 11 educators were convicted of cheating on state tests, the city made remarkable improvements on low-stakes measures of educational progress such as NAEP.

04/07/2015

A Wonky But Important Argument for Annual Statewide Testing

A move away from annual testing would leave many subgroups and more than 1 million students functionally “invisible” to state accountability systems.

02/12/2015

Will the Common Core Lead to More Schools Labeled Failing? Not Really.

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.

01/22/2015

Grade-Span Accountability Is A Bad Idea: Just Ask CAP and the AFT

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.

01/16/2015

The Not-So-Secret Recipe for ESEA Reauthorization

As the edu-intelligentsia anxiously anticipates another attempt at updating the law, it’s worth revisiting how we got our last reauthorization.

01/14/2015

Pension Theory Versus Pension Reality

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.

12/16/2014

Illinois Turns Its Back to the Future

A court ruling is potentially very problematic for new teachers and those who aren’t yet teaching.

11/25/2014

Teachers’ Unions Support Local Collective Bargaining…Except When it Comes to Their Pensions

Teachers might prefer a different arrangement than current state pension plans, but they don’t really have a voice in those decisions.

11/18/2014

The Teacher Equity Problem Is Real. The Proposed Solutions Are Not.

If teachers are the most-important in-school factor for student growth, we certainly don’t act like it.

11/14/2014

Colorado’s Unreal Teacher Retirement Plan

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.

10/23/2014

Teachers Would Prefer Cash

A common perception about how we pay public sector workers is fundamentally flawed.

10/17/2014

The Stock Market Has Recovered. Why Haven’t Pensions?

Pension plans have not made much of a dent in their long-term unfunded debt. How could this be?

10/08/2014

Charter School Teachers Subsidize State Pension Plans

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.

09/22/2014

A Quick Note to Dana Goldstein About Pensions

No one is seriously advocating for reducing the pensions of any individual teachers or retirees.

09/12/2014

Diagnosing the Right Pension Problems

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.

09/09/2014

Is Arne Duncan’s Teacher Evaluation Moratorium Unnecessary?

Despite state policy changes, many districts still don’t factor student growth into teacher evaluation ratings in a meaningful way.

09/02/2014

The Evolution of Teacher Pensions

Over the years, legislators increased pension benefits significantly, but they have not distributed those increases evenly to all teachers.

08/04/2014

The Politics of Teacher Evaluation Formulas

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.

07/29/2014

Americans Stink at Math (But We’re Much Better Now)

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.

07/25/2014

Five Thoughts on the New Yorker Cheating Story

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.

07/21/2014

Teacher Pensions, Recruitment, and Retention

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.

07/09/2014

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.

06/09/2014

Teacher Benefits Still Eating Away at District Spending

Instead of hiring more teachers or paying them more money, districts are devoting an increasing share of finite resources to employee benefits.

06/04/2014

Another Hidden Penalty On Teachers

In the median state, teachers must wait 24 years before their pension is finally worth more than their own contributions.

05/30/2014

Early Retirement Trade-Offs

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.

05/22/2014

California’s Pension Debt Will Eat Everything In Its Path

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.

05/19/2014

Different Standards for Different Students?! We’ve Had Them for Years

Under a provision in the federal No Child Left Behind Act called “safe harbor,” states must set different standards for different groups.

05/14/2014

States Penalize New Workers

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.

05/08/2014

Randi Weingarten Talks About Pensions, But Doesn’t Really Want to Have a Conversation About Them

Teachers need leaders willing to have courageous conversations about how to modernize and improve retirement security for all of our nation’s teachers.

05/01/2014

The Warning Michigan Schools Should Be Giving 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

04/29/2014

Is TFA to Blame for the Rise in Teacher Attrition?

No, or at least not very much

04/14/2014

The Pension IOU

Teachers should insist that all forms of compensation—including retirement benefits—are paid for upfront and that benefit promises are matched by real contributions.

04/08/2014

How Generous Are Public Pensions?

For the average full-career state worker, traditional defined benefit plans are working quite well.

04/02/2014

Washington State’s Waiver May Be in Jeopardy

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.

02/21/2014

The Unpredictability of (New York) Teacher Pensions

The unpredictable nature of pension contibutions has a real consequence on school district budgets and, therefore, on teachers.

02/14/2014

Two Graphs on Urban Teachers and Their (Lack of) Pensions

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.

02/11/2014

California Pension Reform: An Interview With San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed

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?

02/04/2014

Teacher Pensions Don’t Boost Retention

Empirically, pensions appear to have no effect on early- or mid-career teachers.

01/27/2014

Half of New York City’s Teachers Won’t Qualify for a Retirement Benefit

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.

01/23/2014

Illinois Pension Reform: An Interview With State Senator Daniel Biss

Illinois recently passed pension reform legislation with robust bipartisan support. Here’s how and why it happened.

01/19/2014

Pension Reform vs. the ‘California Rule’

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.

01/13/2014

According to Its Pension System, D.C. Teacher Turnover Hasn’t Increased

If you follow news about the District of Columbia Public Schools closely, you could be forgiven if you thought teacher turnover had increased since the schools were handed over to mayoral control in 2007.

01/07/2014

What You Should Know about TFA and the Value of Experience

Teach for America is not doing harm to our nation’s schools or our low-income students. In fact, TFA seems to be out-performing not just other beginning teachers but veteran teachers as well.

09/17/2013

How to Raise Teacher Salaries in Two Easy Steps

The majority of teachers stand to significantly benefit from two cost-neutral pension reforms

09/13/2013

President Obama’s Not-So-Secret School Accountability Plan

Way back in March of 2010, President Obama released his blueprint for reauthorizing NCLB. Three years later, we’re still operating as if the blueprint never happened, as if three years of policymaking hasn’t happened.

09/03/2013

Perspective on the Common Core

We have a lot more commonality in standards and assessments than we did five years ago

07/29/2013

Teacher Benefits Are Eating Away at Salaries

Instead of hiring even more teachers or paying them more money, districts are devoting an increasing share of finite resources to employee benefits.

05/28/2013

Timing the Common Core

The next time you read a proposal about halting the Common Core, keep in mind all the time and money that’s already been spent.

05/02/2013

There Are Ineffective Teachers (and Principals, Superintendents, Librarians, Janitors, etc.)

If an employer can’t differentiate between their employees, they’re likely to treat them all as interchangeable widgets when it comes time to decide on how to help them improve, how much to pay them, or which ones should be retained.

04/03/2013
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