Virtual School Meanderings

March 27, 2017

Multiple Unsupported, Unfounded Claims Limit Report On Raising The Bar For Teacher Admissions

From the inbox this past week.

March 23, 2017

Marilyn Cochran-Smith, (617) 552-4591,
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Multiple unsupported, unfounded claims limit report on raising the bar for teacher admissions

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Mar. 23, 2017) — In a recently issued report, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) advocated raising the bar for entry into teacher preparation programs as a means to improve teacher quality across the country. The report, Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admission Standards in Teacher Prep, reviewed the academic requirements at 221 institutions in 25 states, and argued for boosting entry requirements. An academic review of the report released today finds the report to be problematic and lacking research to support its claims.

A team of reviewers, led by Boston College’s Marilyn Cochran-Smith, reviewed the report for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Also contributing to the report were Megina Baker, Wen-Chia Chang, M. Beatriz Fernández, and Elizabeth Stringer Keefe.

The reviewers are part of Project TEER (Teacher Education and Education Reform), which is a collaborative research group interested in the intersection of teacher education policy and practice, on one hand, and neoliberal education reform, on the other.

According to the reviewers, the report suggests that raising the bar through higher admission standards for teacher education programs will improve teacher quality. Unfortunately, the report does not provide sufficient supports for its assertions or recommendations.

Additionally, the review find the report fails to adequately address claims regarding:

  1. The impact on teacher diversity of raising admissions requirements for teacher candidates;
  2. The public perceptions of teaching and teacher education; or
  3. Attracting more academically able teacher candidates.

The review team concludes that the report ignores a large body of research and offers little guidance for policymakers or institutions seeking to use the information.

Find the review on the GLC website:

Find Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep at:

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.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

Dr. Cochran-Smith
is the Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools and Director of the Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College.

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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 develp reasearch-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at

24 March 2017: Google Alert – LRN

The corporate alert for K12, Inc. from this past Friday.


As-it-happens update ⋅ March 24, 2017
K12 Inc. (LRN) Shares Bought by Dimensional Fund Advisors LP

K12 logo Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of K12 Inc. (NYSE:LRN) by 12.2% during the fourth quarter, according to its most …
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LRN – MarketBeat Daily: Headlines and Analysts’ Updates for 3/24/2017

The MarketBeat update from this past Friday. Daily Update: Analysts' Upgrades, Downgrades & New Coverage Facebook  Twitter  StockTwits
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March 26, 2017

McREL e-News | Spring Break | A Time To Reflect And Recharge

And from Thursday’s inbox…

March 2017

Spring break offers educators
time for reflection and rejuvenation
Many U.S. districts are on spring break around this time of year, offering educators a time to recharge and reflect on this year’s progress. As you revisit your goals and growth, let us know if you and your colleagues need ideas or assistance for recharging an important initiative, making sense of your data, or creating strong goals and action plans for the next school year. Contact us today for a strategic session with one of our experts. No fee, no obligations, just good ideas and inspiration for quick wins and game changers to keep your school, district, agency, or system on track for success.
Let us know how we can help!

Meet us in Anaheim and San Francisco
If you’re attending the ASCD or Carnegie national education conferences this month, we’d love to meet you there and hear how your school year is going. We want to know what’s working well, what’s on your plate for the remainder of the current school year, and what big goals and initiatives you’re thinking about for next year.

To set up a specific time to visit with us about strategies for improvement, acceleration, or innovation in your school or system, contact Madonna Shafer at or 303.632.5507.

New from McREL

White Paper | Finding Simplicity on the Other Side of Complexity: A Strategic Planning Process Streamlines District Work and Improves the System for All
Managing a school district has become an increasingly complex endeavor. But one school district in Pinedale, Wyoming, has found that taking a systems approach to strategic planning not only simplifies district work but also increases the success of principals, teachers, and students.

In this white paper, Jay Harnack, the superintendent of Sublette County School District #1, and Matt Seebaum, senior director at McREL, show how a strategic planning process reduces redundancy and workload by integrating district goals, strategic planning, and school improvement into one streamlined process. Read the white paper.

Blog Post | Can teacher curiosity assist in whole school improvement?
How many times throughout the day do you pause to ask yourself a question related to the work you’re doing? In this post, Tonia Gibson delves into teacher curiosity and its importance in cultivating student curiosity, promoting learning, and contributing to school improvement efforts. “Curiosity is contagious,” she writes. “If I want others to be curious, I must, myself, demonstrate curiosity.” Read her blog post.

Blog Post | What does it really take to personalize learning?
In this post, Bryan Goodwin looks at the research on personalized learning, and identifies three key shifts that must occur during implementation to strengthen its impact and support long-term success. Read his blog post.

Webinar | Quality Questioning: A catalyst for thinking and learning
How can teachers use “quality questioning” to stimulate student thinking and support classroom dialogue? Why is dialogue essential to meaningful formative feedback? Jackie Walsh and Beth Sattes, authors of the new 2nd edition of Quality Questioning: Research-Based Practice to Engage Every Learner, explored these questions in our February webinar (originally recorded on February 28, 2017). View the webinar.

Events & Opportunities

Weeklong Chats on Twitter

In the spirit of collegiality and sharing of best practices and common (or uncommon) struggles and successes, we’re hosting a weekly series of chats on Twitter. Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #McRELchat to share your thoughts and ideas on each week’s theme with other educators. Our weeklong “slow chats” begin on Mondays and end on Sundays.

Informal classroom walkthroughs
March 20-26
Question: How have informal classroom observations and walkthroughs helped you and your school?

Classroom looping
March 27-April 2
Question: What are the benefits or downfalls of looping (students retaining the same teacher for two or more years)?

Student impact on teachers
April 3-9
Question: How has a student impacted your teaching career?

Working walls
April 10-16
Question: What are the benefits of using a “working wall” in your classroom?

Instructional coaching
April 17-23
Question: How do you benefit from an instructional coach’s advice and insight?

Professional Learning with McREL

Secure your spot in our high-impact professional learning sessions this summer. Expand your knowledge and deepen your capacity to make significant changes in teaching, leading, and learning.

Classroom Instruction That Works® 
June 19-21

Classroom Instruction That Works Authorized Facilitator Training
June 19-23

Balanced Leadership® for School-Level Leaders
July 11-14

District Leadership That Works® 
July 17-18

Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners®

July 19-20

Upcoming Conferences

ASCD Annual Conference “Empower 17”
March 25-27Anaheim, California
Attend conference sessions led by McREL staff and visit us in the exhibit hall (booth #1519, near the General Session entrance) to learn how we help educators flourish with school and system improvement, acceleration, and innovation services; teacher and leader training and coaching; curriculum-instruction-assessment-standards reviews and alignment; and research, data analysis, and program evaluation services.
Follow us on Twitter to participate in McREL’s exhibit hall activities and win prizes, including Visa® gift cards, free registrations to McREL summer professional learning sessions, or a set of McREL’s books. For ongoing conference updates, follow the conference hashtag: #Empower17

To set up a specific time to visit with McREL staff at the conference, contact Madonna Shafer at or 303.632.5507.

McREL Sessions

  • Leading with Focus and “Simplexity” in Your School. Saturday, March 25, 1-2:30 p.m., session #1216, with Bryan Goodwin
  • Inside-out Coaching: Helping Teachers Flourish. Sunday, March 26, 1-2 p.m., session #2225, with Bj Stone and Kathleen Dempsey
To learn more and register, please visit the ASCD conference website.

Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education
March 27-29San Francisco, California
Join McREL staff and educators from across the country to explore the latest research, strategies, and innovations in systemic education improvement. Visit with McREL staff during the poster sessions to learn about real-world applications and outcomes.

To set up a specific time to visit with McREL staff at the conference, contact Madonna Shafer at or 303.632.5507.

To learn more and register, please visit the Carnegie Foundation conference website.
Visit our events page or contact McREL to learn more about other upcoming conferences and events.
McREL: Helping educators flourish
“The cohesiveness and alignment between Balanced Leadership and Classroom Instruction That Works allows leaders to intently lead with instruction at the forefront of planning, development, and support.”
Chastity Jeff, Project Manager, ESC Region 18-TxCEE, Texas
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Next Week | 4 New Webinars for Educators

Another item from Friday’s inbox…

EdTech Digest 2017 TrendsetterMedia literacy, personalized learning, ELL, and more – next week’s webinars offer a wealth of topics for you to explore. Our webinars are a great way to connect with experts and colleagues for professional learning.
You can also browse and search a complete archive of more than 1,300 recorded webinars. Whether you attend live or watch a recording, you can earn a one-hour CE certificate for every webinar.
New! We’re honored to be recipients of EdTech Digest’s 2017 Trendsetter award.

Upcoming Free Webinars

Kelly Mendoza
News and Media Literacy: Building Critical Consumers and Creators
Wednesday, Mar. 29 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by Kelly Mendoza, Director of Learning and Engagement, Common Sense Education

Kate Bean
Elevating the Educator’s Voice:
Personalized Learning for Teachers
Thursday, Mar. 30 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by Kate Bean, Executive Director, Aveson Charter Schools/Personalized Mastery Learning

Della Rodrigues
Building Blocks for the Success
of English Language Learners
Thursday, Mar. 30 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by Della Rodrigues, Math Teacher, Kenmore Middle School, Arlington, VA

Steven W. Anderson
A Conversation on Improving School Culture
Thursday, Mar. 30 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by Steven W. Anderson, Digital Learning and Relationship Evangelist; with Erin Olsen, Curriculum Director for Sioux Central Community School, IA; and Derek L. McCoy, Principal for West Rowan Middle School, NC

Visit the edWeb Calendar Earn a CE Certificate NEW! Webinar Archives
Webinar Calendar
edWeb webinars are free. Register for upcoming webinars on the edWeb Webinar Calendar.
CE Certificate
Earn a CE certificate if you attend a live webinar or view a recording. Learn more.
Webinar Screen
Now you can easily search and view over 1,250 recorded webinars, and take a CE quiz to earn your CE certificate.

Announcing Inside K12 – a new resource for informed educators.
Read the premiere issue here. is a free professional learning and social network that makes it easy for teachers and all educators to connect and collaborate with peers, share information and best practices, and spread innovative ideas to improve teaching and learning.

Contact us to learn more: 800-575-6015 | |

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