High-Poverty Schools Hit Hardest by “Principal Churn”

Study Looks at the Causes, Impacts of Principal Turnover

By Michelle Wiley and Sara Hossaini - April 4, 2019

Principals are a key in-school factor associated with student achievement. When principals leave, it can disrupt school progress, increase teacher turnover, and stall student achievement. A new study developed by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) reviews existing research to identify why school leadership matters and the impacts of principal mobility on student achievement. The study looks at the data on principal mobility and ways that policymakers can improve principal retention, especially in schools with higher percentages of students from low-income families, students of color, and low-performing students where turnover is highest.

The report, Understanding and Addressing Principal Turnover: A Review of the Research, was released on March 19 in Washington, D.C., at the 2019 NASSP Advocacy Conference and is the first release of an intensive project by the two organizations to explore the causes of and solutions to principal attrition...

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Oakland Unified Teachers Approve Contract After Seven Day Strike

By Michelle Wiley and Sara Hossaini - March 9, 2019

Oakland teachers voted to approve a new contract with the district on Sunday, March 3.

"Educators will be back in their classrooms Monday, knowing that students will benefit from the gains won in smaller class sizes, more student supports, and living wages that will help halt the teacher retention crisis in Oakland," the Oakland Education Association said in press release...

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Seven Things to Keep in Mind After a Teacher Strike

February 9, 2019

(Editor’s note: The recent teacher strike in the mammoth Los Angeles Unified School District became nationwide news, and there have been intense negotiations within the past year in many smaller school districts around California. With that in mind, the Association of California School Administrators recently published the following article.)

The after effects of a strike are long lasting and healing can take years. The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Membership Services tapped former assistant superintendent Bill Tschida for strategies to keep in mind as school administrators work with their staff to move forward following a strike...

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State Controller Publishes 2017 Salary Data for K-12 Education Staff

December 15, 2018

On December 4, California State Controller Betty T. Yee updated her Government Compensation in California website to include 2017 self-reported data for K-12 education employers, including public school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education - a total of nearly 413,000 positions and almost $16.28 billion in wages...

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Causes, Impacts of Teacher Shortage Examined in New Report

August 22, 2018

As students return to school this fall, many school administrators are reviewing their teacher workforce and voicing concerns that there are still not enough fully-prepared teachers to meet the need.

Teacher shortages have become an increasing problem since the Great Recession when, to balance budgets, many jurisdictions reduced their teacher workforces. Since then, low teacher salaries (relative to other professions), lack of adequate teacher preparation, lack of administrative support, and challenging working conditions (especially in schools serving large numbers of low-income families) have driven many teachers out of the profession and dissuaded people from joining...

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Teachers Are Stressed - But Schools Can Help

July 17, 2018
By Youki Terada

In news that will surprise no teachers, a new study has found that 93 percent of elementary school teachers experience high levels of stress. But schools can mitigate the harmful effects of stress by providing proper supports, highlighting the importance of a holistic approach to teacher well-being.

In the study, researchers from the University of Missouri surveyed 121 elementary school teachers, asking questions such as, “How stressful is your job?” and “How well are you coping with the stress of your job right now?” Teachers reported on their levels of burnout and cynicism and on feelings of accomplishment and self-efficacy-their belief in their ability to be effective teachers...

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U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus Decision Criticized by Unions

June 29, 2018

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in the much-watched Janus v. AFSCME case that was widely seen as a blow to unions, and to public sector unions in particular. The decision means that public employees will not have to pay agency fees (or “fair share” fees) to unions that represent them in collective bargaining, which could lead to a significant decline in both union membership and dues. Agency fees are distinct from regular union dues, and make up a significant share of union budgets.

The statements from the justices regarding the decision reflected a deep split among the nine Supreme Court justices...

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Teachers of Color Remain in High Demand, but Short Supply

June 1, 2018

Research shows that teachers of color help close achievement gaps for students of color and are highly rated by students of all races - a fact that is relevant in light of the release during May of data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

This year’s NAEP results show persistent achievement gaps between students of color and from low-income families and their peers who are White or from more affluent families. Although more teachers of color are being recruited across the nation, the pace of increase is slow and attrition rates are high, leaving growing gaps between the demand for such teachers and the supply...

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Additional Training Can Help Principals Have High Overall Accuracy in Teacher Observation Evaluations, Study Finds

February 24, 2018

More than 90 percent of teacher evaluations in schools include direct observations by principals. However, the evaluations are often subjective, and if principals are not properly trained, the results may not be a fair representation of a teacher’s performance. A recent study at the University of Missouri (MU) found that after completing training with the Network for Educator Effectiveness, principals improved their accuracy. Besides creating greater accuracy, the training also encouraged discussion among principals and teachers about measurable goals.

Christi Bergin, a research professor in the MU College of Education and one of the developers of the Network for Educator Effectiveness, says that improving teacher observation practices helps education leaders prioritize methods in a way that increases transparency...

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State Figures Show That Teacher Diversity Gap Is Large and Will Widen Following Trump’s Termination of DACA

February 24, 2018

A quarter of all students nationwide are Latinx (Latino or Latina), but less than 8 percent of the nation’s teaching workforce identify as such. On February 20, the Center for American Progress released new state-by-state figures showing that there is a Latinx teacher diversity gap in 40 of the 41 states with available data. In fact, the teacher diversity gap is larger for Latinx students than for other ethnic minority groups, and now the careers of tens of thousands of DACAmented teachers — and the education of hundreds of thousands of students-hang in the balance.

The states with the largest Latinx gap — California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas — are also the states with the largest percentage of Latinx students. Teacher diversity, however, is becoming increasingly important in rural areas with fast-growing Latinx communities where diverse teaching workforces are extremely low...

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California Districts Report Another Year of Teacher Shortages

By Desiree Carver-Thomas, Learning Policy Institute February 24, 2018

This year, 2 in 5 new Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers have not yet completed the preparation and requirements for a preliminary credential. In Stockton Unified, more than half of the new teachers are underprepared. And in Shoreline Unified-a rural Northern California district-just one of the five new teachers hired for the 2017-18 school year was fully credentialed. In these districts and throughout the state, many new teachers lack any experience teaching the subject or students they were hired to teach and are not even enrolled in a teacher preparation program. That’s according to a survey conducted last fall by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), which found that persistent teacher shortages are once again leading districts to rely on underprepared teachers to fill classrooms throughout the state.

Shortages were not a problem for many districts during the Great Recession. During that time of budget cuts, California districts laid off teachers in droves. But with the passage of Proposition 30 and implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) in 2013, district budgets increased, allowing them to reinstate programs and classes lost to the Recession and to expand learning opportunities for students with the greatest needs...

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Part-Time Playground Positions Now Classified Employees

October 30, 2017

On October 2, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill ("AB") 670, amending Education Code section 45103 to provide that employees in part-time playground positions (or "noon duty aides") must be included in the classified service, regardless of whether the employee serves in another classified position elsewhere within the district. This change will go into effect on January 1, 2018, and, due to what may have been a legislative oversight, will apply only to non-merit system school districts. The impacts of this bill could be significant for many non-merit system school districts, including those that have already incorporated noon duty aides into their classified employee unions and collective bargaining agreements.

Prior to the enactment of AB 670, employees in part-time playground positions were expressly excluded from the classified service, unless they also served in another classified position in the same district...

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New Report Provides Path Forward to Increase Teacher Diversity and Selectivity

October 2, 2017

A new report from the Center for American Progress finds that raising the competitive bar for entry into the modern teaching workforce does not need to come at the cost of simultaneously continuing to promote diversity in the teacher profession. CAP’s report identifies unique challenges and solutions to accomplish both goals, given the existing underrepresentation of people of color in the teacher pipeline and the rapidly increasing diversity of the student populations. The analysis also provides empirical evidence from states and individual education programs that have proven successful in achieving both aims.

“Racial diversity benefits everyone, whether it’s students or teachers. Developing proven and rigorous standards to increase selectivity within the teacher workforce and keeping the U.S. workforce competitive on an international scale does not – and should not – need to come at the cost of diversity within the teacher pipeline...

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Why Training Teachers in Social and Emotional Learning is Just as Important as the ABC’s

By Sarah Jackson - October 2, 2017

Children come to school with more than just their backpacks. They often bring worries about whatever’s going on at home, or anxieties about being in school or interacting with their peers. It’s the teacher’s job to help them learn to regulate these feelings, get support, and be ready to learn. Addressing children’s social and emotional needs is one of the hardest parts of any early learning teacher’s job. Yet it’s not something typically included in teacher preparation programs nor is it a priority for many principals.

The Franklin-McKinley School District in San Jose, Calif. is trying to change that through a unique series of professional development trainings for its early childhood teachers designed to build teachers’ skills in early literacy and social emotional development...

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