Virtual School Meanderings

June 24, 2022

Teacher shortage

The second of two “Think Twice” reviews of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

June 23, 2022READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

Between February 2020 and May 2022, about 300,000 public school teachers and staff have left their positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The educator shortage is being felt in many communities across the United States.
In response to COVID-19 related shortages, the TNTP think tank released a report outlining recommendations for district leaders for creating short- and long-term staffing plans.
While the topic of teacher shortages is in critical need of examination and solutions, the report has weaknesses in the basis of its research, leaving policymakers unsure of the potential success of its recommendations.

Read on to learn more.

Maddie Fennell

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

REPORT REVIEWED

Ed Fuller of Pennsylvania State University reviewed “Addressing Teacher Shortages: Practical Ideas for the Pandemic and Beyond.”

WHAT THE REVIEWER FOUND

TNTP’s stated purpose for the report is to help education leaders understand and respond to staffing challenges, “based on best practices gathered working with hundreds of school systems over almost 25 years.”
The report is very timely and can help some districts examine current educator shortages or plan for future ones. The report makes recommendations for diagnosing staffing problems, creating short- and long-term plans, and policies that would reduce barriers to becoming a teacher.
However, Fuller found the report fails to provide peer-reviewed research to support its claims and so it is unclear for the reader which recommendations are evidence-based.
The report also assumes districts have ample discretionary funds, rendering many of its recommendations useless to smaller districts, those in rural communities or other districts with limited funds.
Finally, the report ignores key research-based issues: The importance of teacher-student relationships to learning; the importance of school leaders of color in recruiting and retaining teachers of color; and the importance of principal stability in creating a stable workforce of qualified teachers.
Other peer-reviewed research has demonstrated the importance of these factors, including the National Education Policy Center’s (NEPC) policy brief on “grow-your-own” teacher programs. These programs are seen as a possible solution to the educator shortage and a way to recruit a new generation of teachers of color. The NEPC report outlines strategic ways to implement the practice.
The TNTP report covers a worthwhile topic and may be of limited use to some schools and education leaders, although readers and policymakers should consider additional research to determine the effects of implementing the report’s recommendations.

Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because of the report’s lack of evidence-based research, policymakers and other readers are left to research independently on whether the recommendations could be implemented effectively. Given the urgency of the educator shortage in many areas of the country, those looking to address the teacher shortage would be better off seeking out peer-reviewed research. Without using the best possible research, it’s unlikely schools will be able to address the widespread teacher shortage, which will ultimately impact student learning.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. Amidst a widespread teacher shortage, the TNTP think tank released a report outlining recommendations for district leaders on creating short- and long-term staffing plans.
  1. While the report is timely, it suffers from research-related weaknesses that leave unclear the potential success of its recommendations.
  1. A review of the National Education Policy Center found readers and policymakers should instead examine peer-reviewed research when considering ways to address the educator shortage.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
Teacher shortages are being felt across the U.S. Beware of non-peer-reviewed research before implementing solutions. Teacher shortages are being felt across the U.S. Beware of non-peer-reviewed research before implementing solutions.
While there are many recommended solutions for addressing the #TeacherShortage, not all are evidence-based. Read more: While there are many recommended solutions for addressing the #TeacherShortage, not all are evidence-based. Read more:
A review from @NEPCtweet found a report on addressing the #TeacherShortage doesn’t utilize peer-reviewed research. Read more: A review from @NEPCtweet found a report on addressing the #TeacherShortage doesn’t utilize peer-reviewed research. Read more:
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
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Don’t Collapse Multiple School Performance Indicators Into a Summative Rating on State School Report Cards, Warns New Policy Brief

The first of two “Think Twice” reviews of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

June 23, 2022

Contact:

Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
Gail L. Sunderman: (410) 435-1207, glsunderman@yahoo.com

Don’t Collapse Multiple School Performance Indicators Into a Summative Rating on State School Report Cards, Warns New Policy Brief

Key Takeaway: Summative ratings are limited indicators of student learning and can misidentify schools, potentially leading to misappropriation of resources for school improvement.

EAST LANSING, MI (June 23, 2022) – The federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 provided states with slightly more flexibility in the design of their school accountability systems. However, while states may take different approaches to measuring and reporting school performance, they have consistently chosen approaches of public reporting that collapse multiple school performance indicators into a summative rating.

In a new NEPC policy brief, State Accountability Rating Systems: A Review of School Report Cards as Indicators of School Quality, Gail L. Sunderman, co-founder and former director of the Maryland Equity Project at the University of Maryland, discusses the difficulties that arise when state’s school report cards use this summative-rating approach.

A core element of the Every Student Succeeds Act is the requirement that states develop statewide systems allowing for meaningful differentiation among schools. States are then required to use this information to identify schools that should be the focus of improvement efforts. Individual states decide on the type of report card, or rating system, that they will use to report this information to the public.

These report cards are intended to publicize information about how well schools and districts meet specified goals, which would ideally incentivize school improvement. However, for report card rating systems to be potentially beneficial as a school improvement policy instrument, they must provide fair and valid indicators of school performance.

The increased flexibility under ESSA means that states are following different policy paths reflecting their own interests, concerns, political perspectives, and economic conditions. Approaches that collapse multiple school performance indicators into a summative rating are concerning because there is very limited credible research on how well a single score captures the complexity of school performance or provides information on how to improve.

“Summative ratings that conflate information into a single score obscure a great deal of information about variations in school performance,” Dr. Sunderman explains. “They also do little to explain performance differences between or within schools or to help identify effective strategies to address low performance.”

Moreover, the available research evidence suggests that summative ratings fail to identify schools with high and equitable achievement, distinguishing such schools from those with high average achievement and large achievement gaps. Indeed, available research suggests that summative ratings advantage schools serving primarily higher income students while obscuring the failure of such schools to serve all children.

For policymakers designing accountability systems, Dr. Sunderman provides recommendations for resolving the significant challenges of using a single score that also reflects the complexity of teaching and learning.

Find State Accountability Rating Systems: A Review of School Report Cards as Indicators of School Qualityby Gail L. Sunderman, at:
https://greatlakescenter.org

This policy brief was made possible in part by the support of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (greatlakescenter.org).

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.eduAbout The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform. Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: https://www.greatlakescenter.org. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at https://www.greatlakescenter.org/

June 13, 2022

Social and emotional learning

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

June 9, 2022READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

As educators work to help students recover from learning losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also addressing the personal well-being of students. In a 2020 RAND Corporation survey, public and charter school administrators reported their greatest need for resources and professional development was addressing the social and mental health of students.
Even before the pandemic, education leaders recognized how children’s abilities to interact well with others and manage their emotions impacts their learning potential. This is referred to as Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).
A report from the American Enterprise Institute alleges SEL approaches have forced goals and techniques from psychology on practices in school classrooms. However, a review of the report found it to be biased and misleading, misrepresenting both the definition and goals of SEL.

Read on to learn more.

Maddie Fennell

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

REPORT REVIEWED

Julia Mahfouz of the University of Colorado Denver reviewed, “The Unexamined Rise of Therapeutic Education: How Social-Emotional Learning Extends K-1 Education’s Reach into Students’ Lives and Expands Teachers’ Roles.”

WHAT THE REVIEWER FOUND

American Enterprise Institute’s report argues the rise of SEL has led schools to have power and responsibility beyond the core mission of facilitating academic skills. It claims teachers are unprepared to take on “therapeutic” responsibilities. It argues the new “therapeutic” vision for public education may counter conservative views and values.
Simply put, SEL addresses social and emotional skills that allow individuals to be good citizens and positive contributors to their own lives and those of people around them, Mahfouz wrote. Research has shown the positive effects of these skills, resulting in multiple states introducing SEL standards for schools. The American Enterprise Institute report chooses to ignore evidence documenting positive influences SEL has on student academic achievement, as well as their overall well-being and sense of community.
The report misrepresents SEL and promotes misunderstanding and fear around it. SEL is not a new concept, according to the Social Emotional Learning Alliance for the United States. The concept has become more popular in recent years due to mental health issues made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Hechinger Report.
Research shows parents want their children to develop social and emotional skills. However, SEL has become a controversial topic in education, alongside critical race theory and sex education because of these types of reports that misinform the public.
As a result of its flaws, the American Enterprise Institute’s report is a one-sided discussion that is not useful to inform school policy.

Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Data shows parents want their children to learn social and emotional skills in school. As with other issues certain regulations can lead to confusion and chilling effects on teachers. SEL aids students in their overall learning, and policies enacted out of fear could take those learning opportunities from students with unknown effects.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. A report from the American Enterprise Institute alleges Social and Emotional Learning approaches have led schools to have responsibility beyond academic skills.
  1. SEL addresses skills that allow students to be good citizens and contribute to the lives of others, and research has shown the positive effects of these skills on academics.
  1. As a result of its misrepresentation of SEL and its ignorance of other search, the American Enterprise Institute report is not useful for policymakers.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A report from @AEI misrepresents #SocialEmotionalLearning and is not useful for policymakers. Read more in a review of the report: A report from @AEI misrepresents #SocialEmotionalLearning and is not useful for policymakers. Read more in a review of the report:
A review from @NEPCtweet shows a report on #SocialEmotionalLearning misrepresents the concept and ignores other research. Read more: A review from @NEPCtweet shows a report on #SocialEmotionalLearning misrepresents the concept and ignores other research. Read more:
Social and emotional learning is the latest concept to face backlash in schools, even though research shows its positive impacts on student achievement. Social and emotional learning is the latest concept to face backlash in schools, even though research shows its positive impacts on student achievement.
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

June 4, 2022

Recruiting and supporting BIPOC teachers

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

June 2, 2022READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

Across the country, school administrators have struggled to retain teachers. “Grow Your Own” teacher programs are seen as a possible solution to the shortage and a way to recruit a new generation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) to the profession. We’re seeing the growth of these types of programs across the United States as leaders create strategic ways to implement the practice.
“Grow Your Own” teacher programs are designed to place community members as teachers by recruiting and preparing them to work in local schools. This is done through partnerships with educator preparation programs, school districts/local education agencies and other community-based organizations.

Read on to learn more.

Maddie Fennell

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

SUMMARY

A new policy brief written by Conra D. Gist of the University of Houston called “’Grow Your Own’ Programs: Examining Potential and Pitfalls for a New Generation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color Community Teachers” explores new models for local recruitment programs.
The author looked at models with commitments to advancing justice and equity in teacher development, which can open doors for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), so teachers already have roots in and understand the communities in which they serve.
There has been a recent increase of “Grow Your Own” initiatives at the federal, state and local levels. The initiatives are timely, given the teacher shortage, and signal a new era for the development of these programs in the 21st century.
However, Gist cautioned that despite the enthusiasm about the potential of these programs that could advance educational equity for BIPOC students, research on BIPOC educators shows teacher development programs should focus on recruitment equally with preparation and retention.
Gist shares recommendations for grow your own teacher program designers, policymakers and researchers so the programs are crafted in ways that prepare and sustain support for BIPOC teachers.
Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Gist makes recommendations for Grow Your Own teacher program designers, policymakers and researchers.
Recommendations for program designers:
  • Establish recruitment/selection practices that value BIPOC.
  • Apply equity and justice approaches that center BIPOC communities.
  • Provide financial, academic and wraparound resources and support for placing and retaining BIPOC community teachers in schools.
  • Establish partnerships between educator preparation programs, community-based organizations and leaders, and school districts.
Recommendations for policymakers:
  • Prioritize funding programs and program leadership with a proven track record of commitments to justice and equity.
  • Make long-term funding commitments to BIPOC community teachers.
  • Make structural changes in teacher development that support the professional growth of BIPOC community teachers.
  • Require partnerships between educator preparation programs, schools and community leaders that are informed by BIPOC community member voices.
Recommendations for research:
  • Investigate the impact of Grow Your Own teacher programs on BIPOC community teachers at all levels.
  • Develop community-centered research methods led by and engaging BIPOC scholars/community leaders.
  • Amplify BIPOC voices and experiences in the research design process.
  • Develop sustainable plans to conduct evaluations of the long-term impacts of Grow Your Own teacher programs.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
How to we combat the teacher shortage? Grow our own teachers. Read a new #PolicyBrief on grow your own #teacher programs in the U.S. How to we combat the teacher shortage? Grow our own teachers. Read a new #PolicyBrief on grow your own #teacher programs in the U.S.
Given the #TeacherShortage, there’s been a recent increase in Grow Your Own teacher programs at all levels. Read more: Given the #TeacherShortage, there’s been a recent increase in Grow Your Own teacher programs at all levels. Read more:
Grow Your Own teacher programs should advance #Justice and #Equity so teachers have roots in and understand the community they serve. Read more: Grow Your Own teacher programs should advance #Justice and #Equity so teachers have roots in and understand the community they serve. Read more:
Follow Us
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Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

May 24, 2022

Teacher Staffing Report Pairs Some Potentially Useful Recommendations With a Dearth of Evidence

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

May 24, 2022

Contact:
Michelle Renée Valladares: (720) 505-1958, michelle.valladares@colorado.edu
Ed Fuller: (814) 865-2233, ejf20@psu.edu

Teacher Staffing Report Pairs Some Potentially Useful Recommendations With a Dearth of Evidence

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Report’s absence of research evidence to support its claims calls into question the reliability of some otherwise helpful recommendations.

EAST LANSING, MI (May 24, 2022) – In response to Covid-related teacher shortages, the TNTP think tank (formerly “The New Teacher Project”) released a report with recommendations for district leaders in crafting short- and long-term teacher staffing plans. A new review of that report finds that it includes some positive elements but suffers from several research-related weaknesses.

Ed Fuller of Penn State University reviewed Addressing Teacher Shortages: Practical Ideas for the Pandemic and Beyond, and found it to contain clearly articulated employment goals and some potentially useful recommendations. However, the review finds several weaknesses.

First, Professor Fuller details, the report fails to provide peer-reviewed research to substantiate claims, so that it’s unclear which, if any, recommendations are evidence-based. Second, the report assumes districts are large and metropolitan, with ample discretionary funds. Many recommendations will not be useful to smaller districts-especially rural districts-or to districts with limited funds. Third, the report ignores at least three key research-based issues: the importance of teacher-student relationships to effective teaching and learning, the importance of leaders of color in recruiting and retaining teachers of color, and the importance of principal stability in creating a stable cadre of well-qualified teachers.

Accordingly, while school and district leaders may find in this report some useful ideas to consider, they should read additional research to independently determine whether recommendations of interest are evidence-based and how local context might affect implementation.

Find the review, by Ed Fuller, at:
https://www.greatlakescenter.org

Find Addressing Teacher Shortages: Practical Ideas for the Pandemic and Beyond, written by Ben DeGrow and published by TNTP, at:
https://tntp.org/assets/covid-19-toolkit-resources/TNTP-Addressing-Teacher-Shortages-2022.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: https://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/

About The Great Lakes Center
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform. Visit the Great Lakes Center Web Site at: https://www.greatlakescenter.org. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/greatlakescent. Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCenter.

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 Follow on Twitter

The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at https://www.greatlakescenter.org/

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