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Advancing the Teaching Profession

Barnett Berry

April 1, 2014

On unions and the future of the teaching profession


I’m no blame-the-unions pundit. After all, management—not unions—have imposed many of the rules that stifle creative (heck, even just sensible) practices in schools.

But here’s the plain truth: it’s time for unions to innovate.

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Barnett Berry

March 26, 2014

The education riddle we must solve now

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Riddle me this: What is plentiful in schools but rarely utilized? What matters a great deal for children—yet carries little weight for policymakers? You guessed it: teacher expertise. 

A new survey reveals that only 32 percent of America’s teachers report their opinions are “heard and valued” at the district level, beyond their schools. And a miniscule fraction of the 20,000 teachers polled by Scholastic believe their perspectives are embraced at the state level (5%) and or national level (2%).  

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Barnett Berry

March 20, 2014

Will Arne Duncan leave a legacy of teacher leadership?


I was delighted when USDOE Secretary Arne Duncan used the very language I’ve so often employed—of leading without leaving the classroom—to announce a new teacher leadership effort last week. But is his administration ready to address the significant barriers teacher leaders face?

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Barnett Berry

November 25, 2013

Look to other ‘knowledge industries’ to get teacher evaluation right


America’s teaching profession is in need of an overhaul of its teacher evaluation system.  Researchers of many decades ago—including Arthur Wise and Linda Darling-Hammond back in 1984—pointed out such problems as the lack of “uniformity and consistency” as well as “resolve and competency” of administrators in assessing teacher performance.*  

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