November 28, 2016
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From NCTAF's Blog


Teacher Shortages: What’s the Problem?

The issue of teacher shortages has again become a focal point in media and policy discussions. The focus is needed – many of our highest need schools continue to struggle with recruiting and retaining the best teachers, particularly in the areas of math, science, special education, and bilingual education. When we survey the current education landscape to see if every child has access to great teaching, we find that some progress has been made, but it is unevenly distributed. We have had these conversations for years, but the data make it clear there are major disparities that continue to exist across racial and economic lines.

REPORT: Coaching for Impact: Six Pillars to Create Coaching Roles That Achieve Their Potential to Improve Teaching and Learning

Learning Forward, the University of Florida Lastinger Center, and Public Impact have long advocated for high-quality coaching for teachers, with years of lessons learned about how to make coaching a force for instructional improvement. Based on our experience, the research base on coaching, and a forward-looking analysis, we use this new report to call on the nation’s education leaders to expand their commitment to high-quality coaching for all teachers.

REPORT: Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders

This new report by the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program and the Council of Chief State School Officers is designed to help states make the most of this important opportunity. The framework examines eight equity priorities that states already are pursuing and identifies multiple provisions in ESSA that states can use to address each priority.

REPORT: Listening to and Learning from Teachers: A Summary of Focus Groups on the Common Core and Assessments

This Center on Education Policy report summarizes discussions from five elementary teacher focus groups conducted in Delaware, Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin in spring and summer of 2016. Topics addressed include the Common Core State Standards, curricula, instructional materials, CCSS-aligned state assessments, student achievement data from those assessments, and accountability.  Where possible, the teachers’ comments are compared to the findings from CEP’s 2015 teacher survey.

Networked Impact: This is Not Your Grandfather’s Coalition

The 100Kin10 effort to increase the number of STEM teachers in America’s classrooms offers insights into an emerging model for social change. The networked impact approach, which breaks the mold for how organizations collaborate and make change, can be applied to other large, systemic challenges.

The networked impact model draws on some familiar aspects of collective impact—such as a common agenda, shared measurements, and support systems that groups such as StriveTogether have used to great effect. It also embraces the ethos of network entrepreneurs, who value the overriding mission and trusting relationships within a network above the brand or capacity of any single group in it. Indeed, the speed of a network is trust: The more trust, the faster you move.



News Digest


Trump and Potential Education Secretaries Talked Choice, Common Core

President-elect Trump Saturday met with two education leaders rumored to be under consideration to serve as his education secreary Saturday: former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and Betsy DeVos, the chairwoman of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group.


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In Praise of Uncertainty, by NCTAF Commissioner Jal Mehta

Perhaps the most undervalued quality in primary and secondary education is uncertainty. Students are rewarded for getting things "right," and uncertainty is seen as an undesirable quality to be remedied. But in the real world, almost everything good comes out of uncertainty--that's the space that sparks invention and creativity, and, critically, it is the space in which knowledge is developed. Failure to live in uncertainty not only denies students a chance to develop the kinds of capabilities they need to live in a complex world, it gives them a false view of the very knowledge they are studying.

Latino Superintendents Lead the Way in Texas' Largest School Districts, featuring NCTAF Commissioner Richard Carranza

For the first time in Texas, four of the state's largest six school districts — Houston, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth — have Latinos at the helm. The quartet in power is not only an indicator of the demographic transformation Texas has undergone over the past two decades, but the strides Latino educators have made, too.

Performance Assessment Resource Bank: Resources for Deeper Learning

This week the Performance Assessment Resource Bank, a bank of free, high-quality performance assessment resources, launched nationwide. This bank is designed to solve a major challenge for teachers and leaders intent on creating opportunities for all students to engage in deeper learning--access to tools to support the use of performance assessment. Since performance assessments require students to construct an original response rather than simply recognize a correct answer, they can support students in demonstrating their learning in ways that are authentic to the discipline and address real world challenges.

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 2017 Summit, featuring NCTAF Commissioner Jeff Duncan-Andrade

Be a part of the exciting community of innovators at the 2017 Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education, on March 27-29, 2017. Register here.

Teacher-Powered Schools 2017 National Conference

Join Teacher-Powered Schools for a weekend of networking and peer learning in Los Angeles, on January 27-29, 2017. Register here.

Speak Up 2016 Survey!

It's time for students, parents, teachers, principals, librarians, technology leaders, superintendents, and more to Speak Up! The survey takes fewer than 20 minutes to complete and are completely anonymous. Join more than 500,000 people from more than 10,000 schools to be sure your voice is heard this year.

Speak Up is both a national research project and a free service to schools and districts, brought to you by Project Tomorrow.
Copyright © 2016 National Commission on Teaching & America's Future, All rights reserved.