New York: Promotion policy

Mayor Michael Bloomberg won approval from the Panel for Educational Policy of his strict new promotion policy for 3rd-graders. Just before the vote, Bloomberg fired and replaced three panel members who were against the plan, according to the March 16 New York Times. Students who score in the lowest quartile on citywide English and math tests will be retained unless they raise their scores after attending summer school.

Philadelphia: Teaching disparity

A federal complaint filed by an advocacy group for parents and students charges that the district violates the civil rights of minority students by allowing a disproportionate number of inexperienced and uncertified teachers to teach in low-income, minority schools. The Education Law Center wants the district to overhaul the assignment process, according to the March 9 Philadelphia Inquirer. The teachers’ union contract allows teachers to choose where they work based on seniority. Schools CEO Paul Vallas says the district is working to bring additional highly experienced teachers to poor schools.

North Carolina: Certification

Teachers with National Board certification are more effective in raising students’ test scores, a new study reports. Researchers found that students taught by certified teachers scored significantly higher on end-of-year reading and math tests, compared to students whose teachers started but did not finish the certification process, according to the March 10 Raleigh News & Observer. Poor students showed the greatest gains. The study analyzed three years’ worth of scores for 3rd- through 5th-graders. North Carolina has more certified teachers than any other state and pays those who earn the credential a 12 percent salary supplement.

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