Great Teachers: attracting, training and retaining the best
United Kingdom Parliament (1 May 2012)
The Education Select Committee has released its ninth report with a set of recommendations on teacher training and retention. The committee recommends that Performance Related Pay be introduced in England as a way of increasing the attainment of students by rewarding and retaining the most ‘effective’ teachers in the profession. Other studies, including this one conducted by the RAND Corporation in New York City, have called into question the effectiveness of teacher merit pay for improving student academic achievement.
Annual appraisal plan includes observing teachers in classroom
Arlington, K. Sydney Morning Herald
(27 April 2012)
Australia is implementing its first national guidelines for performance assessments of teachers, giving them a clear understanding of 1) what they will be expected to achieve each year and 2) how their performance will be measured. Every teacher will set goals for the year, have their performance reviewed, and provide evidence in support of their performance. (Evidence will include improved student results and feedback from students, parents, peers or supervisors on goal attainment.) Classroom observations will also be carried out. In return, teachers will receive constructive feedback and may be eligible for performance bonuses. National consultations of the document, developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), will be held before it is implemented next year. Anthony Mackay, the chair of the AITSL, argues for “recognizing and supporting the best” teachers here.
In addition, below is a video from AITSL about the desired outcomes of teaching standards:
Charter school trials to take place across the country
Armstrong, J. New Zealand Herald
(21 April 2012)
Act, the ruling political party, will continue with its controversial plan to set up autonomous charter schools, and it is now likely to take in disadvantaged schools across the country, rather than just being restricted to those in south Auckland and Christchurch, so as to avoid the “fish bowl” effect. The concept of charter schools has been heavily criticised by teacher unions, academics, and some politicians who point to the failure of some charter schools in the United States to lift students’ educational achievement. (See New Zealand’s Green Party’s criticisms of charter schools here.) The Chairwoman of the New Zealand Model of Charter School Working Group, Catherine Isaac, said the group would look at overseas examples of success and failure as part of its development of a New Zealand model, as well as seeking meetings with teacher unions as part of an extensive round of consultations.
Governor of Austrian province suggests including PISA results in students’ general grades
(17 April 2012)
In order to increase student motivation for PISA tests, Josef Pühringer, the Governor of the Province of Upper Austria, suggests including PISA test results in students’ general grades. He believes this would lead to higher test scores because the problem with Austria’s PISA results, in his view, is one of student motivation rather than weak student knowledge and competences. (Find more about Austria’s performance on PISA in relation to other nations here and here.)
Charter schools ‘harmful’ says study
Davison, I. New Zealand Herald
(14 April 2012)
Despite an academic group’s insistence that charter schools “may do more harm than good to the under-achievers,” the New Zealand Government “has recently reaffirmed its keenness to implement charter schools…” Under the National-Act agreement, New Zealand will be implementing charter school reform in areas that are traditionally low-achieving—South Auckland, Christchurch East, and possibly Wellington. “The academic group welcomed the Government’s focus on the need to address educational achievement through wider social and economic policies,” but they believe the narrow focus of the educational achievement data could end up increasing the educational inequities charter schools aim to reduce. The Government, however, countered that there were many different models of charter schools worldwide. Said Act Party leader and Associate Education Minister John Banks, “For our New Zealand model we are taking the best of the best ideas from the most successful charter schools, as well as from the most successful schools in New Zealand.” The same academic group also said that charter schools were a “radical departure” from the principles of social democracy and civic participation.
Despite the debate about charter schools, this video highlights how charter schools “remain a mystery” for many New Zealanders, whereas this video is an interview with Head of Education at Aukland University, Dr. Airini, discussing the aforementioned poll and the New Zealand charter school movement in general.
Scotland instituted an “independent, self-regulating professional body for teaching after the decision to bring it into line with organisations such as the General Medical Council.” The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) will have greater flexibility and power when dealing with teachers who have “have fallen short of the standards of conduct or professional competence,” according to the UK edition of the Huffington Post
. The Chief Executive of the GTCS, quoted in Scotsman.com, said, “We now have full responsibility for current and future professional standards; we determine the qualifications for entry to teaching; we accredit courses of teacher education; we determine the ‘fitness to teach’ of teachers and applicants for registration; and we have a duty to bring forward a system of Professional Update for registered teachers.” Also, see the video below from the Press Association:
Osaka Prefecture Council passed Basic Education Acts
Asahi Shinbun Digital
(23 March 2012)
“The Osaka prefecture council passed three acts — Basic Act on Educational Administration, Basic Act on Prefecture School Act, and Basic Act on Teachers — on March 23. They will take effect April 1. These acts will bring about drastic changes in educational administration and practice in Osaka. The changes include: 1) the governors’ increased involvement in educational affairs, 2) the elimination of school districts, 3) the implementation of a school and teacher evaluation system, and 4) raising the penalty for teacher misconduct.”