April 12, 2007

Clueless on K Street (PR efforts targetting bloggers)

(In reality, the firm that sent the following is in Arlington, Virginia, but I couldn't resist the alliteration.) It's amazing how the PR response to the existence of bloggers is not to change how one approaches publicity but to apply the same techniques (sending out press releases) to the new arena (bloggers). I suppose some bloggers might feel all warm and fuzzy about being the targets of publicists, but I suspect most won't. Blogging's sine qua non is a somewhat chaotic networking of information.

Incidentally, the press release is slanted towards a blanket endorsement of virtually any pay-for-performance plan, while the report makes clear that the teachers behind it are far more sophisticated than the publicists. Among other things, the teachers excoriate the (now-defunct) Florida STAR program, and the report acknowledges the role of unions in the Denver and Minneapolis systems. They're also skeptical of using growth models as a sole engine for pay systems.

But in the interest of revealing what happens behind the scenes of publicity efforts, here's the whole press release.  Compare it with any stories written in response and see if the reporters did any independent work. (I have to prepare for class after taking another 28-hour trip between my Tuesday and Thursday classes, so I have no clue whether there's anything about this in the news today.)

APRIL 11, 2007


Performance-pay that rewards teachers for helping students make progress, developing relevant skills and taking leadership roles will help improve teaching quality for all students, says first report from TeacherSolutions

Research Triangle, N.C. --­ Teachers will support performance-pay plans that advance student achievement and the teaching profession, says a first-of-its-kind report written by a diverse group of expert teachers from across the United States. The new TeacherSolutionsSM study proposes radical changes in the way teachers have traditionally been compensated, including:

  • Rewarding small teams of teachers who raise student achievement together;
  • Rewarding teachers who accept challenging assignments in high-needs schools and strengthen connections between school and community; and
  • Redesigning pay systems so that teacher success, not seniority or graduate degrees, determines maximum teacher pay.

The report, Performance-Pay for Teachers: Designing a System that Students Deserve, is the first to be issued by TeacherSolutions, an initiative of the Center for Teaching Quality to bring the views of expert teachers to bear on critical issues facing public education and offer solutions based on their classroom experience.

The report proposes a comprehensive new framework for teacher compensation, where base pay would still be tied to level of experience but where teachers could earn more through a variety of incentives as they progress from "novice" to "expert." The incentives would be tied to student progress, professional improvement, school and community leadership, and collaborative work, including mentoring and coaching, that extends teacher expertise beyond a single classroom. To read the full report, go to:


Performance-Pay for Teachers was produced after a year of research and study by a team of 18 award-winning teachers, including former National Teacher of the Year Betsy Rogers and four winners of the prestigious Milken teaching award. Much of the project, supported by the Joyce, Gund and Stuart foundations, was conducted on the Internet and included a series of live online discussions with leading experts in the field.

"These are the authentic voices of educators who have been successful with every kind of student, in every kind of school," said team member Lisa Suarez-Caraballo, a bilingual math teacher in inner-city Cleveland and winner of the Milken National Educator award. "We know how teachers think and what will motivate them."

To achieve the ultimate goal of improving learning for all students, says the panel of teacher experts, compensation plans must not only create opportunities for all teachers to be rewarded for their impact on student progress, they must provide incentives to attract and retain quality teachers and support their professional development in meaningful ways.

To read the rest of this news release, go to http://www.teacherleaders.org/teachersolutions.

About TeacherSolutions

The Center for Teaching Quality launched the TeacherSolutions model in February 2006 when a select team of 18 highly accomplished teachers from throughout the nation (including both union and non-union members) was assembled in a first-of-its-kind approach to begin to study professional compensation. TeacherSolutions panelists include National Board Certified Teachers, several state teachers of the year, winners of the Milken National Educator of the Year Award, Presidential Award recipients and a National Outstanding Young Educator of the Year award winner. The team includes:

Sarah Applegate, Lacey, Wash.; Susan Bischoff, Manatee County, Fla.; Anthony Cody, Oakland, Calif.; Bill Ferriter, Wake County, N.C.; Nancy Flanagan, Howell, Mich.; Theresa Killingsworth, Phoenix; Becky Malone, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Valdine McLean, Pershing County, Nev.; Renee Moore, Cleveland, Miss.; Ford Morishita, Portland, Ore.; Jennifer Morrison, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Carole Moyer, Columbus, Ohio; Lori Nazareno, Denver; Marsha Ratzel, Overland Park, Kan.; Betsy Rogers, Brighton, Ala.; Lisa Suarez-Caraballo, Cleveland, Ohio; Amy Treadwell, Chicago; and Maria Uribe, Denver.

About the Center for Teaching Quality

The Center for Teaching Quality seeks to improve student learning through developing teacher leadership, conducting practical research and raising public awareness about what must be done to ensure that every student in America has a qualified, well-supported and effective teacher. Over the past eight years, the Center¹s work, rooted in the National Commission on Teaching and America¹s Future (1996) landmark report, has sought to promote a coherent system of teacher recruitment, preparation, induction, professional development, compensation and school-design policies that could dramatically close the student achievement gap. Through initiatives like TeacherSolutions and the Teacher Leaders Network (www.teacherleaders.org), the Center is committed to cultivating leadership, spreading expertise and elevating the voices of accomplished teachers so that their knowledge of students and schools can inform the next generation of teaching policies and practices.


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Posted in Education policy on April 12, 2007 7:04 AM |