» Policy Briefs and Memos
Policy Briefs and Memos
IMPACT in Washington: Lessons From the First years
October 17, 2011
In IMPACT in Washington: Lessons From the First years, former Wall Street Journal reporter Barbara Martinez takes a look at the IMPACT teacher evaluation system in our nation's capital. Early results show that the system is doing pretty much what it was intended to do: recognizing and rewarding the most successful teachers, providing feedback and targeted professional development to help teachers improve, and dismissing the relative few who don't belong in classrooms.
Read the full report here
Teacher Voice/Teacher Choice: Teacher Satisfaction in NYC Public Schools
September 26, 2011
The politics of charter school co-location (when a public charter school shares space with a traditional district school) have always been fraught with emotion. In an effort to cut through the spin and get to the reality, Democrats for Education Reform has released a new brief entitled Teacher Voice/Teacher Choice: Teacher Satisfaction in NYC Public Schools. This document unpacks what teachers themselves have to say through the most recent NYC Department of Education surveys and points to a surprising revelation: teachers in co-located charter schools reported being more satisfied than the traditional public school colleagues with whom they share a building. These charter school teachers reported receiving more feedback from their school leaders, and claimed, in significantly higher percentages, to be working in schools that set higher standards in the classroom and make student learning a priority.
The brief looks at the causes and implications of these responses, the results of which will change the conversation on charter school co-location.
Democrats for Education Reform: Concerns and Recommendations on USDOE Waiver Process
September 15, 2011
Proceed, With Caution: Secretary Duncan's Waiver Plan Has Potential Risks and Opportunities for Education Reform
September 15, 2011
Last month, President Obama and Secretary Duncan announced that the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) will soon begin a formal process for considering state and local waiver requests of federal education laws. Today, Democrats for Education Reform issued a briefing memo that lists our concerns and recommendations on the process.
- We are skeptical on the grounds of both process and substance. Some of the states that have made the least effort to improve the quality of education and close achievement gaps are now asking for waivers that in essence allow them to gloss over or abdicate responsibility for low-performing districts and schools;
- We do not question the Department's authority to solicit or issue waivers.
Creating A Winning Legislative Campaign: The Colorado Story
March 30, 2011
Dear DFER friend:
We get a lot of requests for advice and strategy from reform partners across the country. All of us in this space are trying to figure out what kinds of advocacy approaches work best considering the rapidly-shifting and sometimes turbulent political landscape, so we're always happy to share our mistakes and triumphs.
We recently created a case study/how-to guide for our internal team at Democrats for Education Reform which describes in great detail the approach our organization took in Colorado last year in working to pass the landmark "Senate Bill 191," which reformed principal/teacher tenure in ways we think could/should have profound impact nationally.
Because we get asked for this kind of information so often, we decided to share the case study with anyone who wants to learn more about one kind of approach that proved to be extremely successful. (Even if Colorado got totally hosed by the Race To The Top judges, the legislative work that was done as part of SB 191 was the most impressive reform work we saw in any state in 2010. Long live Colorado!)
Read the case study here.
Read The Advocate's Checklist here.
Our hope is that sharing this case study with others will give a better sense of the great work that our group and others, like Stand For Children, got done in Colorado last year.
As always, we look forward to partnering with you in the future.
AS STATES SLASH EDUCATION BUDGETS, HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DEDICATED FEDERAL DOLLARS GO UNUSED
January 10, 2011
Loan Forgiveness, "TEACH" Scholarships Could Be Better Utilized To Help Teachers
Call to Action Part of DFER's 'Ticket to Teach' Policy Proposals
A more serious conception of the place of the teacher in the life of the nation is both necessary and timely. [I urge] changing the systems that support poorly trained, paid and esteemed teachers."
Henry Wyman Holmes, Dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 1920
Over the last century, there have been dozens of reports and calls to action to improve teacher preparation, pay, performance, and prestige. Unfortunately, despite such declarations, Dean Holmes' words are no less apt today than they were 90 years ago.
Some help is on the way. New investments by the federal government and private philanthropists have launched literally hundreds of state and local policy initiatives to improve teacher effectiveness.