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Policy Briefs and Memos

DFER Indiana Releases DFER-INtake Wrap-up Report

Dear Friends,

Heading into early April, DFER Indiana (DFER-IN) produced an initial assessment of the education bills making their way through the Indiana General Assembly’s 2013 session. We called this analysis of legislation our Midterm DFER-INtake since it was our “take” on the bills we found to be most relevant to our principles and policy priorities. At the time of its release, we indicated the legislature was facing some very important decisions that had to be made relative to education policy and reform: (1) They could enact legislation benefitting the state’s students that would strengthen rigor, empower families and teachers, and emphasize smarter investments in teacher preparation and support; or, (2) They could pass legislation that retreats on the very policies that brought our state’s education system to the top in the first place. Now that the legislature has adjourned for the year, it is time to see exactly what course the General Assembly took, by presenting the “DFER-INtake Wrap-up” report.

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Culture of Countenance: Teachers, Observers and the Effort to Reform Teacher Evaluations

“Culture of Countenance” in Teacher Observations May Set New Evaluation Reforms Up for Failure If Not Addressed

In the “Culture of Countenance: Teachers, Observers and the Effort to Reform Teacher Evaluations,” DFER Policy Analyst and former teacher Mac LeBuhn communicates that unless reformers can change the “culture of countenance” regarding teacher observations new reforms to evaluations will continue the same quality-blind practices.

Read “Culture of Countenance: Teachers, Observers and the Effort to Reform Teacher Evaluations,” here.

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Dear Friends,

Much like the teams catching fire at the right time in the “NCAA March Madness,” the state of Indiana has been on a major roll to improve our education system. The 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly presents us, however, with a fork in the road at which we face two choices: (1) We can enact legislation that would benefit the state’s students by strengthening rigor, empowering families and teachers, and emphasizing smarter investments in teacher preparation and support. Or, (2) We can pass legislation that retreats on the very policies that put us at the top in the first place.

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Why Ed Reformers Must Make Sure President Obama is Re-Elected

In Why Ed Reformers Must Make Sure President Obama is Re-Elected, DFER Executive Director Joe Williams and DFER Director of Federal Policy Charlie Barone communicate the need for reformers to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to re-elect "education reformer in chief" President Barack Obama.

During his past four years in office, President Obama has been a stalwart leader for the education reform movement. We must all do our part to ensure he remains in office for another four years to continue the historic momentum of reform he has worked so courageously to advance.

Read the full report here.

Also, don't forget to review our recent policy brief on Mitt Romney: What Kind of President Would Mitt Romney Be on Education? 

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What Kind of President Would Mitt Romney Be on Education?

In What Kind of President Would Mitt Romney Be on Education?, DFER Policy Analyst Omar Lopez and DFER Massachusetts State Director Liam Kerr join DFER Director of Federal Policy Charlie Barone in forecasting the effects of a possible Romney administration on our education system.

And, based on the Olympic class waffling Romney has exhibited throughout his campaign on issues such as student loan interest rates, the DREAM Act, the education budget, and a federal role in education (or lack there of), their prediction is quite grim.

Read the full policy brief and view DFER's Education Report Card grading both Romney and Obama here.

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