University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

January 12, 2011

In OWL-OEP Weekly Links on January 11, 2011 at 3:20 am

Across Arkansas this week, educators are reacting to the Quality Counts report released by Education Week. Quality Counts assigns a grade to each state based on performance in six broad sub-categories. Arkansas’ overall grade held steady from the Quality Counts 2010 report, earning a B- (81.4%), which is above the C (76.3%) grade earned by the nation. Stay tuned for a detailed Policy Brief coming from our office, similar to the brief we released last year, which breaks down Arkansas’ grades in each of the featured sub-categories.

The three large Pulaski County districts have seen a bit of turmoil this week. For example, supporters of Little Rock School District Superintendent Linda Watson are talking about potentially staging a walk-out as a demonstration of protest for Watson’s recent ousting by the School Board, and Charles Hobson, the Superintendent of Pulaski County Special School District reflects on a tumultuous six months as the school district head.

In national news, a New York judge ruled on Monday that the NYC Department of Education’s ratings for 12,000 teachers must be released to the public. This looks like something we saw in 2010 when the LA Times released the value-added scores of teachers amid a great deal of pomp and circumstance.

And if you are interested in looking at the public records lying around in your own state, the ADE release the Teacher Salary Schedule Analysis for School Year 2010-11 this week. The non-weighted state average for a newbie teacher is $31,592. Teachers in Arkansas top out on average at about $48,710.

Finally, we learned that Michelle Rhee has released a plan to fix the public education system. Her policy agenda is a pretty thick document (about 20 pages long), but Ms. Rhee boils her plans down to three categories: 1) Elevate the teaching profession by valuing teachers’ impact on students; 2) Empower parents with real choices and real information; 3) Spend taxpayer resources wisely to get results for students.

Interesting links this week, what do you think: can Michelle Rhee save education? Is her policy agenda appropriate? Should we create value-added scores of teachers? Are Arkansas teachers paid sufficiently? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment.

  1. For those involved in planning, devising solutions, etc., it has long been recognized that the “devil” is in the details. Until one peruses the plan, it wuld not be fair to judge. However, she is dynamite and if it has a chance, she is the one most likely to pull it off.

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