Beginning of a Decade TIPSHEET – Education

Charter schools
Charter schools play a key part in the Department of Education’s new Race to the Top grant program. Yet a recent report from think tank Education Sector raised serious concerns about the ability to replicate the success found in some individual schools at the state or national level. Experts from the National Center on School Choice at Vanderbilt University are able to discuss the primary challenges in the charter school arena moving into 2010, the support needed to grow a successful charter school program beyond an individual school or district, and which schools parents are choosing and why.

Ellen Goldring is the Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair of Education Policy and Leadership, chair of the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations and principal investigator at the National Center on School Choice. She is currently researching charter schools across the United States. She and her colleagues have found that the charter school movement is facing the pressures of shifting leadership coalitions, financial burdens and performance demands, and that student engagement and academic rigor are closely tied to leadership and teaching and learning conditions. She has studied leadership challenges in charter schools and how charter schools affiliated with management organizations differ from locally developed and managed charter schools.

Marisa Cannata is the associate director of the National Center on School Choice. Her research focus is on policies surrounding school choice, teacher quality, including teachers’ career decisions, work experiences and hiring. Some of the topics she is currently investigating are how teachers think about charter schools when navigating the job search and how working conditions, professional community and teacher qualifications vary by school type.

Performance pay
With student achievement being formally linked to teacher pay in the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top grant program, performance pay is soon to be a reality in many states across the nation. But the questions remain – does it work, and if so how?

Matthew Springer, director of the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University, can discuss his research into student achievement and performance pay in Texas, the components of a successful performance pay program, and the issues states are likely to face as they look to implement or expand performance pay programs.

Media contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

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