Does Head Start Still Work?

Education Week recently recognized the fiftieth anniversary of the Head Start Program.

When the nation’s first federally funded preschool program was begun, President Lyndon Johnson said “Five- and 6-year-old children are inheritors of poverty’s curse and not its creators.  Unless we act, these children will pass it on to the next generation, like a family birthmark.”

The question today is whether the program succeeds in giving poor children the boost they need to be successful in school and later in life. Congressionally mandated studies of Head Start children have found that by early elementary school, they are academically indistinguishable from their peers who did not attend the program—a reason to drastically revamp or even discontinue the program, experts say.

For more information, see Ed Week article here.

Does Head Start Still Work?

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Poll: Regulations for colleges of education

The U.S. Education Department recently released a draft set of regulations for colleges of education that would link some federal funding in part to how well the students of these aspiring teachers do on standardized test scores. The teacher training programs could lost some federal funding if their graduates don’t perform well.

Should schools of education be held accountable for how well the students of their graduates perform test scores?

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U.S. Wants Teacher Training Programs to Track How Graduates’ Students Perform

Originally posted by Motoko Rich at the New York Times:

The federal Department of Education announced preliminary rules on Tuesday requiring states to develop rating systems for teacher preparation programs that would track a range of measures, including the job placement and retention rates of graduates and the academic performance of their students.

In a move that drew some criticism, the Education Department said the new rating systems could be used to determine eligibility for certain federal grants used by teacher candidates to help pay for their training.

Critics have long faulted teacher training as inadequately preparing candidates for the realities and rigors of the job.

In a conference call with reporters, Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, said that far too many education programs set lower requirements for entry than other university majors.

(Read more here)

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Teacher training – a concept Secretary Duncan has missed

Originally posted at The Washington Post.

The U.S. Education Department recently released a draft set of regulations for colleges of education that would link some federal funding in part to how well the students of their graduates do on standardized test scores. It was no surprise that the department did this; it has been enamored with using standardized test scores as a chief “accountability” metric for years — despite warnings from assessment experts that it isn’t a valid or reliable method. Just how questionable this notion is is the topic of the following post by Sarah Blaine, a mother, former teacher and full-time practicing attorney in New Jersey who authors the parentingthecore blog. Blaine has written several popular posts that have been published on The Answer Sheet, including “Pearson’s wrong answer–and why it matters in the high-stakes testing era” and “You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong.”

Read more here.

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Harvard Launches Fellowship Initiative to Prepare Seniors to Enter Teaching

By Stephen Sawchuk at Edweek

Harvard University plans to launch a fellowship program to prepare seniors at the esteemed college to become K-12 teachers, giving them more than a year of student-teaching, a lightened course load, and follow-up supports once they’ve started to lead their own classroom.

Plans for such a program have been in development for some time, but now it’s officially a go, thanks to a $10 million infusion of cash from two anonymous donors. (Harvard’s President, Drew Faust, and an additional donor also made key contributions.)

Harvard already has an undergraduate teacher-preparation program, but it’s quite small, enrolling on the order of 25 students of year. Most of the teachers the university prepares are graduate students. But in recent years, the college has seen an increased interest among undergraduates in pursuing a teaching career, said James Ryan, the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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