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ECS TQ Update

Spring 2006

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Welcome to the TQ Update, a quarterly newsletter dedicated to providing information and resources on teacher quality related issues.

Teaching Quality Policy Center News
The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality
ECS is proud to announce our participation in The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (NCCTQ). The NCCTQ is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and operated by Learning Point Associates, along with its partner organizations ETS, ECS and Vanderbilt University. This Center will serve as the premier national resource to which the Regional Comprehensive Assistance Centers, states and other education stakeholders will turn for strengthening the quality of teaching -- especially in high-poverty, low-performing, and hard-to-staff schools -- and for guidance in addressing specific needs, thereby ensuring highly qualified teachers are serving students with special needs.

The goals of the National Center are to:

  • Promote successful implementation of the teacher quality requirements of NCLB by disseminating critically reviewed research, strategies, practices and tools
  • Ensure a highly qualified teacher workforce by developing needs-based solutions
  • Broaden the understanding and use of successful models and practices
  • Galvanize public and policy support to meet the demands of NCLB related to teacher quality.

As part of the work of the NCCTQ, the TQ staff at ECS will be updating state policy databases on HOUSSE, teacher preparation, teacher recruitment and retention, and teacher licensure and certification.

Providing Quality Resources to Policymakers on Teacher Compensation Redesign
Diversifying the way teachers are paid -- and in particular, paying teachers on some measure of performance -- is gaining support as a possible vehicle to improve the quality of teaching, increase accountability, increase student achievement, and attract and retain quality teachers to where they are needed most. With generous support from The Joyce Foundation, ECS is engaged in a project designed to provide policymakers with resources and information they need if they are considering designing or implementing these types of compensation systems in their states.

As part of this year long project ECS will:
  • Expand an issue Web site offering essential resources on teacher compensation
  • Create a Web-based database of teacher compensation programs around the country
  • Publish issue papers on aspects of teacher compensation redesign
  • Publish mini-case studies on teacher compensation redesign efforts specifically designed for policymakers
  • Hold an invitational state team forum on teacher compensation redesign. This forum will take place April 28-29, 2006 in Wilmington, Delaware. For further information on the forum, please see the Upcoming Meetings and Events section below.

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New Center Publications
With support from The Teaching Commission, ECS recently published the issue paper, Diversifying Teacher Compensation. Aimed at policymakers intrigued by the idea of moving teacher pay beyond the single salary schedule, this paper provides an overview of the research on such a shift; key findings and questions from previous experiences; an overview of some recent attempts to diversify teacher pay; and a comparison and detailed summaries of four leading programs and proposals at the district and school levels. This paper is an expansion and update of a 2001 publication that reviewed five leading pay-for-performance models or proposals at the time, titled Pay-for-Performance: Key Questions and Lessons from Five Current Models.

ECS recently published a policy brief on paraprofessionals, From Highly Qualified to Highly Competent Paraprofessionals: How NCLB Requirements Can Catalyze Effective Program and Policy Development. The brief results from the discussion of an expert panel on paraprofessionals convened in September 2005 with support form the National Center for Teacher Transformation (NCTT) at St. Petersburg College in Florida. It reviews NCLB requirements for paraprofessionals and discusses how these requirements can be leveraged by policymakers and practitioners to ensure paraprofessionals are both highly qualified and highly competent. Examples include identifying clear definitions and expectations for skill sets specific to task assignment, and creating a career lattice to encourage development within paraprofessional roles.

ECS has compiled a large amount of research from each of the 50 states regarding paraprofessional certification and qualification requirements, professional development for paraprofessionals, and assessment tests and passing scores for those tests, which are accepted and designated by states. To help make this information more accessible, ECS has produced a Paraprofessional Database Research Navigator, a paper designed to highlight and streamline these data.

ECS also has a new StateNote on Professional Development for Paraprofessionals Across the States. Using state examples, this StateNote highlights information on higher education and state partnerships, multi-tiered certification systems, pathways available for paraprofessionals to become licensed teachers, and online professional development.

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Upcoming Center Meetings/Events
With generous support from The Joyce Foundation, and co-sponsorship from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), ECS is hosting a policy forum on Teacher Compensation Redesign April 28-29, 2006, in Wilmington, Delaware at The Spencer Hotel. The goals of this invitational forum are to bring together state teams of legislators, governors' education policy advisors, chief state school officers and other policymakers to provide the opportunity to learn from national experts and practitioners about various aspects of differentiated teacher compensation systems; provide the opportunity to network with other state representatives; and discuss challenges and goals related to teacher compensation in the states.

The 2006 National Forum on Education Policy, July 11-14 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Check the next TQ Update for descriptions of the TQ sessions.

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What States Are Doing
Some states continue to struggle meeting the deadlines set through the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) for all teachers to be highly qualified according to the legislation. According to a recent HAWAII Board of Education committee report, only 86% of teachers in the state are highly qualified in their subjects. In the 2002-03 school year, 76% of teachers met the criteria. However, NCLB requires that states receiving a certain class of federal funds meet the 100% requirement or risk losing those funds.

In CONNECTICUT thousand of teachers, including some award-winning educators, could face new job reviews because they do not meet NCLB standards. The U.S. Department of Education has issued a new monitoring report that throws into question the qualifications of more than 13,000 teachers, about 30% of the state's public school teaching force. State education officials have vowed to challenge the report's conclusion that many teachers -- especially older elementary teachers and those teaching social studies and special education classes -- do not meet the federal criteria. The findings could mean that even some of the state's most highly regarded teachers would have to undergo job reviews or possibly take tests or further training to demonstrate their competence.,0,1276473.story?coll=hc-headlines-education

ALABAMA state lawmakers gave final approval to an education budget that would pay for across-the-board raises of at least 5% for the roughly 100,000 employees of public schools and two-year colleges. The budget for the 2006-07 fiscal year would spend $6.02 billion from the Education Trust Fund, an increase of $630.7 million, 11.7%, from this year. The budget also would pay to expand the academic year for public school students from 175 days to 180 starting this fall, at a cost of about $94 million a year in extra pay for public school employees -- about 2.75% -- to cover the additional school days.

A new pay-for-performance program for teachers in FLORIDA will tie raises and bonuses directly to pupils' standardized-test scores beginning next year, marking the first time a state has so closely linked the wages of individual personnel to students' exam results. The effort, now being adopted by local districts, is viewed as a landmark in the movement to restructure American schools by having them face the same kind of competitive pressures placed on private enterprise. Advocates say it could serve as a national model to replace traditional teacher-pay plans that award raises based largely on academic degrees and years of experience. But teachers' unions and some education experts say any effort to evaluate teachers exclusively on test-score improvements will not work because schools are not factories and their output is not so easily measured. An exam, they say, cannot measure how much teachers have inspired students, or whether they have instilled in them a lifelong curiosity. Moreover, some critics say, the explicit profit motive could overshadow teacher-student relationships.

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Teaching quality is part of the Teaching Quality and Leadership Institute. The mission of the Institute is to provide resources to help state policymakers shape education policy on finding, keeping and developing highly effective teachers and education leaders.


To read more about Teaching Quality, visit the ECS Issue Site on Teaching Quality.

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