Teacher Evaluation Changes Threatened by California Bill

A long-dormant bill that could significantly impede efforts in Los Angeles and elsewhere to use student test scores to evaluate teachers has been revived and faces a key legislative test Thursday.

If passed, the bill would impose a new requirement that all aspects of teacher evaluation systems be collectively bargained, changing current law that school districts believe empowers them to design performance reviews on their own.

Since teacher unions have vociferously opposed the use of test scores in evaluations, saying they are too unreliable for decisions on hiring and firing, the bill would probably weaken the movement to do so.

Critics decried the bill as a bald attempt by teacher unions to kill the Los Angeles Unified School District‘s new voluntary evaluation system, which uses state standardized test scores for the first time to measure how effective instructors are in helping students progress. L.A. Supt. John Deasy has asserted that the district has a right to launch the program without negotiations, a position sharply opposed by United Teachers Los Angeles.

Deasy said the bill, AB 5 by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) and set for review Thursday in the Senate Appropriations Committee, will jeopardize the new program and weaken efforts to hold teachers and administrators accountable for their students’ academic progress.

“This current bill, if passed, would really weaken the progress we’re making,” he said. “It will end a great deal of it.” <Read more.>

Via Teresa Watanabe and Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times.

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Next Skills Prep Curriculum Train-the-Teacher Workshop

Here is another professional development opportunity for CTE teachers and administrators.  SB70 will reimburse your registration, travel, meals and hotel for this training.  Please send me an email if you plan to attend.  ~Bob Hawkes

We’ve scheduled another Next Skills Prep Train-the-Teacher Workshop on June 5th – 6th for high school teachers and administrators!

Here is a link to the information and registration form: http://www.wplrc.losrios.edu/PDFs/NSI_Prep_TTT_JUN2012.pdf .

If you work for (or are partnering with) high schools, ROPS, or non-profit programs for youth, this is an opportunity to obtain the complete Next Skills Prep curriculum (binder and CD) and get certified to teach it.  Next Skills has been endorsed by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of CommerceLEED, and SETA/Sacramento Works.  Their logos are among those that appear on the official student certificates which students then take to employers to apply for internships and jobs.

Next Skills Prep has become a graduation requirement for CTE students at the Sacramento Academic & Vocational Academy (SAVA) and well over 600 students from multiple high schools have completed Next Skills in the past two years.

We don’t offer this workshop very frequently because our Next Skills lead trainer (John St. John) now works full-time in Maryland and has to fly out to do this.  He is a fantastic trainer—very dynamic and entertaining—so while you’re gaining a  valuable curriculum, the professional development opportunity is a bonus!  The registration deadline is May 31st.

You can preview a sample chapter if you go to our web site at www.wplrc.losrios.edu .  Find the column on the right titled “Upcoming Events” and look about halfway down. Call me if you’d like more information.



Valerie Carrigan

Director, Los Rios Workplace Learning Resource Center
and Next Skills Institute
Workforce and Economic Development
1410 Ethan Way, Suite 203
Sacramento, CA 95825-2205
(916) 563-3253   Fax (916) 563-3270
Web Site: http://wplrc.losrios.edu

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Entrepreneurship Mini-Grant Teleconference

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NSF Seeks More Participation From Community College Faculty

​A meeting this summer between officials from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and community college leaders illustrates how important the federal agency views two-year colleges in preparing students for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In June, NSF and the American Association of Community Colleges(AACC) convened the Broadening Impact: NSF Funded Projects at Two-Year Colleges Conference, which marked the first time NSF officials from all of the agency’s divisions and directorates held wide-ranging dialogues with several hundred community college educators who represented a variety of disciplines, technician preparation and transfer programs.

A recent conference report​ summarizes small-group discussions about the challenges community college educators encounter when preparing NSF grant proposals, as well as community college educators’ suggestions for areas where NSF could broaden its support.

NSF has long recognized community colleges as both the nation’s leading source of technician education and as the higher education institutions where many engineers, scientists, teachers and other STEM professionals begin their postsecondary learning. <Read more.>

Via Madeline Patton, Community College Times.

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What Spurs Students to Stay in College and Learn? Good Teaching Practices and Diversity

Good teaching and exposure to students from diverse backgrounds are some of the strongest predictors of whether freshmen return for a second year of college and improve their critical-thinking skills, say two prominent researchers.

Patrick T. Terenzini, a professor of higher education at Pennsylvania State University, and Ernest T. Pascarella, a co-director of the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at the University of Iowa, spoke to an audience of chief academic and fund-raising officers convened by the Council of Independent Colleges here on Sunday.

The two men are co-authors of a highly influential book, How College Affects Students, and they sought on Sunday to synthesize what recent research says about student learning, while also weighing in on recent controversies in higher-education research.

Mr. Pascarella based his observations on the findings from the first year of the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, which followed thousands of students at 19 liberal-arts colleges. It recorded the background information of entering freshmen, asked them about their experiences, recorded their outcomes after their first year, and collected the same information again after their fourth year.

Good teaching was not defined by test results. Instead, its attributes were identified on a nine-item scale, which included student appraisals of how well the teacher organized material, used class time, explained directions, and reviewed the subject matter.

The likelihood that freshmen returned to college for their sophomore year increased 30 percent when students observed those teaching practices in the classroom. And it held true even after controlling for their backgrounds and grades. “These are learnable skills that faculty can pick up,” Mr. Pascarella said. <Read more.>

Via Dan Berrett, The Chronicle of Higher Ed.

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