Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 8
District of Columbia
Teachers Found to Miss More Work
In Regular Schools Than in Charters
By Liana Loewus
Teachers in traditional public
schools are much more likely than
teachers in charter schools to miss
more than 10 days of work, according
to a new report from a right-leaning
About 28 percent of teachers in
traditional public schools are "chronically absent," defined in the report as
taking more than 10 days of personal
or sick leave. In charter schools, just
10 percent of teachers take that
much leave, the analysis found.
The differences are starker in
some states than others: In Hawaii,
for instance, about 79 percent of traditional public school teachers are
Percentage of teachers absent more than 10 days
SOURCE: "Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public
Schools," Thomas B. Fordham Institute
In most states with charter schools,
traditional public school teachers are
more likely than charter teachers to
miss more than 10 days of work a
year, the Fordham study found. The
exception is Alaska, where the share of
"chronically absent" teachers is higher
for charter schools.
chronically absent. In charter schools
there, the figure is 23 percent.
The Washington-based Thomas
B. Fordham Institute found that
the gaps between charter and district teachers were largest in the
states where the districts have to
collectively bargain-or negotiate
conditions of employment, including time off-but charters do not
have to do so.
"I think the biggest takeaway is
that teacher chronic absenteeism
seems to be driven by state policy
and local collective bargaining agreements-and possibly to a greater extent than is generally appreciated,"
said David Griffith, a senior research
and policy associate at Fordham and
the report's author.
However, Lily Eskelsen García, the
president of the National Education
Association, said in a statement that
"Fordham is using corrupted assertions to draw misguided conclusions."
For his study, Griffith looked at
data from the U.S. Department of
Education's office for civil rights,
the National Center for Education
Statistics, the National Council on
Teacher Quality (which keeps a
database of teacher contracts), and
the National Alliance for Public
Charter Schools. The OCR collects
data from every school in the country on how many teachers missed
more than 10 days of school. The
agency does not disaggregate by
the actual number of days missed.
The data do include extended absences, such as maternity leave,
but do not count days missed for
Interpreting the Data
The study is descriptive, meaning
that it cannot determine causality.
And some of the data sources are
several years old-the most recent
OCR data collection took place in
2013-14, and the NAPCS records
on charters' union status are from
"The thing that really gives me
confidence in the patterns we're
uncovering is that the magnitude
of the differences [between districtrun schools and charter schools] is
really difficult to explain with anything else," said Griffith. "I don't
think that Hawaiian teachers [in
public schools] are that much more
likely to take maternity leave or get
sick. What is sure, is that teachers
in Hawaii are entitled to 18 days of
sick leave, which is more than any
However, as the report says, the
analysis was not able to show a relationship between "policies that
address attendance directly (such
Are Selectivity and Diversity Competing Goals for Teaching?
By Madeline Will
The U.S. teaching profession is not
selective enough, many argue. And
few would say the nation's overwhelmingly white teaching corps is
But increasing both the selectivity
and the diversity of the teaching profession may seem like contradictory
goals to some. Minority candidates
tend to have lower scores than their
white counterparts on traditional selectivity metrics, such as GPAs and
For the last several years, many
states have been trying to find a balance that gets them closer to both
goals. A new report by the Center
for American Progress, a left-leaning
think tank based in Washington, has
reignited the conversation. The report
argues that if states and teacherpreparation programs think comprehensively, selectivity and diversity are
not mutually exclusive.
In fact, said Lisette Partelow, the
lead author of the report and the director of K-12 strategic initiatives for
the center, the two goals can be mutually reinforcing. If done right, she
said, more teachers of color will want
to enter a profession that is seen as
"I think that it is absolutely right to
say that there should not be a trade-off
between having more teachers of color
in the United States of America, and
having effective teachers in America,"
said Benjamin Riley, the executive
director of Deans for Impact, a nonprofit group of education school deans.
"The answer to, 'Can you have both?'
is yes, but it requires a lot of energy,
resources, and attention to the issue."
Exactly what the right steps are to
solve the issue is up for debate. Some
groups favor a high bar for entry into
teacher-preparation programs, while
others prefer an emphasis on exit
That's problematic because
teacher-candidates tend to earn
higher grades than students with
other majors, said Robert Rickenbrode, the senior managing director of teacher-preparation studies
for the National Council on Teacher
Quality, a group that favors
tougher standards for programs.
More than half the states use the
CAEP standards to evaluate the
quality of their programs-includ-
GPA is something that is useful, but it
shouldn't be the end-all, be-all."
Director of K-12 Strategic Initiatives, Center for American Progress
standards. In 2013, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation,
or CAEP, unveiled more ambitious
standards for teacher-preparation
programs, including for a cohort of
students accepted into the program to
have a minimum average GPA of 3.0
and scores averaging in the top half on
nationally normed achievement tests.
But the accrediting group later revised that standard to allow programs
to delay meeting the requirements
until candidates are ready to graduate.
8 | EDUCATION WEEK | October 4, 2017 | www.edweek.org
ing Rhode Island, which the Center
for American Progress highlights
in its report for its commitment to
both selectivity and diversity, with
early results showing slight progress in the latter.
The Rhode Island education department drafted new standards
and started evaluating its teacher
education programs against them
last year. The standards call for
programs to recruit high-quality
candidates who reflect the state's
diverse student population, as well
as ratchet up the selectivity criteria.
"I know there's a lot of folks who
think those are competing priorities,
but we really see this as a both/and
conversation, not an either/or," said
Mary Ann Snider, the department's
deputy commissioner for teaching and
learning. "Some of our diverse and best
and brightest students really want to
go into a profession they see as challenging, not something you go into because it has low expectations."
The state plans to hold programs accountable by collecting and publishing
diversity rates. And in addition to a cohort minimum GPA of 3.0, individual
undergraduate candidates in Rhode
Island must have a minimum 2.75
GPA upon entry into the program.
That requirement goes further than
many states, Partelow said.
Setting the standard at the cohort
level allows for some flexibility for individuals who have a lower GPA but
who might bring other skills into the
profession, she said.
"GPA is something that is useful,
but it definitely shouldn't be the endall, be-all," she said. "The criteria we
use should be evolving based on what
we're finding does correlate and drive
results in the classroom."
Most research has found a small
link between a teacher-candidate's
GPA and effectiveness in the classroom, but Partelow said that studies
found that other factors, like years of
experience, also have positive impacts.
Snider acknowledged that, but said it
is important for prospective teachers
to have a baseline level of literacy and
"A GPA individually does not forecast whether a teacher will be a strong
instructor in the end, but it's one indication of academic readiness," she said.
Still, the state does offer programs
some flexibility to admit candidates
who don't meet the entrance programs, as long as programs provide remedial supports and receive approval
from the department.
A High, Flexible Bar
Flexibility is key, said Emery
Petchauer, an associate professor of
English and of teacher education
at Michigan State University. That
should extend to GPA, and also to licensure exams, he said.
For example, he said, states could
allow for a composite score: If a candidate scores high in one area of a licensure test, but low in another, the high
score would make up for it.
Programs should also consider
other indicators, he said, such as performance assessments of candidates'
teaching, demonstrated commitments
to educational justice and certain communities, or an "ability to inspire hope
in young people."
"These qualities and characteristics are more connected to the daily
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 4, 2017
Education Week - October 2, 2017
States Are Making It Easier To Transfer Teacher Licenses
Union Fees Again Reach High Court
Education Advisers Say White House Has Ignored Them
News in Brief
Independent Charters Aim to Elevate Their Status
In Devastated Puerto Rico, Reopening of Schools Is Far Off
Are Selectivity and Diversity Competing Goals for Teaching?
Teachers Found to Miss More Work In Regular Schools Than in Charters
Math, Reading Hurdles Drawing Joint Scrutiny
Growing Numbers of States Embrace Career Education
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: From Theory to Practice, Hurdles for Personalized Learning
New SAT Results Hard to Gauge
K-12 Budget Woes Dog States As School Year Advances
DeVos Expounds on Policy In One-on-One Interview
DeVos Gives Schools Options On Handling of Sexual Assault
Watch List: High Court, 2017-18 Term
Scenes From DeVos’ ‘Rethink School’ Tour
State ESSA Plans: One-Stop Guide
Arts Education: A Look Ahead Researchers, professors, and practitioners make their case for the future of the discipline
Susan Riley: The ‘A’ in STEAM Completes the Puzzle
Jay P. Greene: Arts Integration Is a Sucker’s Game
Howard Gardner & Ellen Winner: We Still Have So Much More to Learn
Emily Gasoi & Sonya Robbins Hoffmann: For the Future, Arts Assessment Is Indispensable
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Mariale Hardiman: Asking the Right Questions for a Creative Future
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Education Advisers Say White House Has Ignored Them
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 2
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 3
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 5
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Independent Charters Aim to Elevate Their Status
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - In Devastated Puerto Rico, Reopening of Schools Is Far Off
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Teachers Found to Miss More Work In Regular Schools Than in Charters
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Math, Reading Hurdles Drawing Joint Scrutiny
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Growing Numbers of States Embrace Career Education
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: From Theory to Practice, Hurdles for Personalized Learning
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - New SAT Results Hard to Gauge
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 13
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - DeVos Expounds on Policy In One-on-One Interview
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - DeVos Gives Schools Options On Handling of Sexual Assault
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Watch List: High Court, 2017-18 Term
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 17
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Scenes From DeVos’ ‘Rethink School’ Tour
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 19
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - State ESSA Plans: One-Stop Guide
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 21
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Susan Riley: The ‘A’ in STEAM Completes the Puzzle
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Jay P. Greene: Arts Integration Is a Sucker’s Game
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Emily Gasoi & Sonya Robbins Hoffmann: For the Future, Arts Assessment Is Indispensable
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - 27
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - Mariale Hardiman: Asking the Right Questions for a Creative Future
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - October 4, 2017 - CW4