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Policy Briefs and Memos

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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Built to Succeed? Ranking New Statewide Teacher Evaluation Practices

In Built to Succeed? Ranking New Statewide Teacher Evaluation Practices, Martinez joins Jocelyn Huber, DFER's teacher advocacy director, and Ron Tupa, DFER's director of state legislatures, in providing a pre-season "likelihood of success" ranking of 19 states that changed their teacher evaluation policies in the last few years. There are a lot of caveats attached to this type of project, since states tackled the problem in so many different ways, but we will obviously continue to monitor the practices in these states going forward. 

 
Read the full report here.
 
Here is a rundown of our state rankings:
 

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IMPACT in Washington: Lessons From the First years

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.

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