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* We are letting thousands of our best teachers walk out the door each year, says a new report: “So who are the Irreplaceables? They are, by any measure, our very best teachers. Across the districts we studied, about 20 percent of teachers fell into the category. On average, each year they help students learn two to three additional months’ worth of math and reading compared with the average teacher, and five to six months more compared to low-performing teachers. Better test scores are just the beginning: Students whose teachers help them make these kinds of gains are more likely to go to college and earn higher salaries as adults, and they are less likely to become teenage parents.”

* A California-based economic analyst says all of the talk about attracting employers to move from one state to another is just that, talk: “‘This whole discussion over moving between states is much to do about nothing because the majority of moves occur within states,’ said Walls, whose National Establishment Time-Series database has tracked 4 million job moves nationally over the past two decades. ‘This goes to the heart of what economic development is all about -- these people who are involved in it are salespeople,’ Walls said. ‘They're real good about telling you about high-profile moves -- but as a systematic activity, none of the states keeps track.’”

* The governor has been talking a great deal about investment and fiscal prudence for the state. His administration also has backed a major change to the personal property tax system. A new analysis from the Senate Fiscal Agency says that by fiscal 2017 – four years away – this change, as planned, would cost the state’s general fund $300 million.

For some context: The FY14 general fund budget request by the governor is $7.54 billion. With $300 million, you could cover the general fund budgets for eight departments (Agriculture, Attorney General, Civil Rights, Education, Environmental Quality, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Military and Veteran Affairs, State) and have money to spare.

In other words, this PPT plan is a very big change.

* The Detroit News reports that violent crime is on the rise in the city AND arrests by the police are falling. Also notable in this chart is the one division of the DPD that is on the upswing in arrests: narcotics. Nothing gets in the way of the drug war, it seems.

* A retiring high school teacher has a warning for college professors dealing with even the best of the current class of students: “Even during those times when I could assign work that required proper writing, I was limited in how much work I could do on their writing. I had too many students. In my final year, with four sections of Advanced Placement, I had 129 AP students (as well as an additional forty-six students in my other two classes). A teacher cannot possibly give that many students the individualized attention they need to improve their writing. Do the math. Imagine that I assign all my students a written exercise. Let’s assume that 160 actually turn it in. Let’s further assume that I am a fast reader, and I can read and correct papers at a rate of one every three minutes. That’s eight hours—for one assignment. If it takes a more realistic five minutes per paper, the total is more than 13 hours.”

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Anne Seaman
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 4:47pm
Point of clarification about the "Irreplaceable..." report. It is produced by (formerly The New Teacher Project started by Michelle Rhee in 1997). The Joyce Foundation is one of several sponsors for the TNTP study. Joyce disseminated the report through its newsroom via the link July 30, 2012. According to the TNTP website, their organization is an 'income generating non-profit with the aim of giving poor and minority students equal access to effective teachers.' and
Derek Melot
Fri, 02/15/2013 - 5:03pm
Ms. Seaman, Thanks for the note. We have made the fix to the post.