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Teachers' Unions: Friend or Foe to Reform?

Nicole Goldstein's picture

This celebrating lady is "not for turning." Is Rhee taking inspiration from Margaret Thatcher?On Friday, July 23, Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of Washington D.C. Public Schools, dismissed teachers across the city for poor performance. The number of teachers dismissed has yet to be finalized, but at one point, figures were pointing to as high as 240. Other teachers have been placed on probation, and must prove themselves worthy of the high standards Rhee has set for them. She even went so far as to tie teachers’ pay to their performance when negotiating with the Washington Teacher's Union. As a British citizen, I couldn't help but think whether Rhee was taking inspiration from the Iron Lady herself, AKA, Margaret Thatcher - Britain's first female prime minister, who fought many battles against the unions. Whatever the source of Rhee's inspiration, this was an unprecedented step to take. Some may posit that she is addressing what is called, "the widget effect" - the failure to act on differences in teacher effectiveness.

Evidence on Learning Matters: READ Trust Fund

By Emily Gardner, READ Trust Fund

 

It's been a busy year and a half for the Russia Education Aid for Development (READ) trust fund, since it launched in 2009 to further critical work on quality learning assessments. The program is gearing up for another productive year, working to move the pendulum forward on the global imperative to measure progress in learning. Evidence on learning matters and assessment is central to improving education effectiveness. 

Gender and Marginalization

Nicole Goldstein's picture

This past spring, UNESCO published its 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, which offered an in-depth look at the pressing need for countries and donors to focus on Reaching the Marginalized. 

Every year, millions of children are shut out of the classroom. Overwhelmingly, those left on the side lines are among society's most marginalized populations -- and in numbers, are disproportionately female.

Cash on Delivery: Exploring a Results-Based Approach to Education Aid

Christine Horansky's picture

Around the world, aid from international donors buys textbooks, hires teachers, and opens schools - all worthy and necessary contributions in the fight to educate every child. But largely, the development equation remains fundamentally the same.

A new book presented at the World Bank recently by the Center for Global Development flips that equation on its head with proposed progress-based aid for education. In essence, the idea entails paying a country not for inputs such as pencils or classrooms - but once each child educated passes certain bars such as completion of his or her grade level.

Food Wars: Battling the Bulge in Schools

Nicole Goldstein's picture

Jamie Oliver was feeding students to better test scores, but no longer

In Jishnu Das' Notes From the Field: Playing Chicken in India post, he explored an impact evaluation he was involved in, over a decade ago on India's mid-day meal scheme. Keeping on this topic of school meals is especially pertinent at this time. 

In the United States, earlier this week (as reported on Sara Mead's new Policy Notebook),  the House Education and Labor Committee began considering changes to the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act, which reauthorizes funding for the federal school lunch program. With an allocation of around $12 billion, this year, the federal school lunch program aims to increase access to school lunch and out-of-school programs, whle improving the nutritional value of school meals.

New Open Data Initiative Emphasizes Importance of Education Stats and Better Visualization of Data

Christine Horansky's picture

In conjunction with the new Access to Information policy, the World Bank recently launched the Open Data Initiative, freeing up development data for use to stakeholders worldwide. The new website at data.worldbank.org underlines the importance of data collection and utilization for better tracking trends in global development. Education statistics are prominently featured on the new site and serve as major indicators for two of the eight Millennium Development Goals (#2 universal primary education and #3 gender equality.) 
 

Notes from the Field: Comparing Three Villages in Madhya Pradesh

Jishnu Das's picture

Kids sitting down reading but where is the teacher?I  was in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh recently. Madhya Pradesh, or MP, as most Indians know it – is a big state in the middle of the country. It also has some of the poorest human development indicators in the country.

Some distance from Gwalior, we get off at a large village on the side of the road and start walking away from the highway towards the villages in the interior. Eventually, we cross a stream and reach the last village before a hill stops the road from going any further.

We are in a tribal village, with silos for community grain, a recently constructed Panchayat (the local governing body) hall and a decrepit school. The schools have been closed down after the walls collapsed and snakes were discovered in the classroom. The teachers now hold classes in the temple under a large banyan tree.

Global Study to Explore Issues of Equity in Higher Education Around the World

By Roberta Bassett, Tertiary Education Specialist, Human Development Network    

The ability of a society to produce, select, adapt, commercialize, and use knowledge is critical for sustained economic growth and improved living standards. As a locus for both knowledge creation and dissemination, tertiary education institutions help countries build globally competitive economies by developing a skilled, productive and flexible labor force and by creating, applying and spreading new ideas and technologies. In middle and low-income countries, tertiary education works to build the institutional capacity that is essential to reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

For that growth to be inclusive, opportunities to access and succeed in higher education must be as equitable as possible. A global study is being undertaken on Equity of Access and Success in Tertiary Education, funded by the government of the Netherlands through the Bank-Netherlands Partnership Program (BNPP).

Teachers Need Incentives, But Also Better Tools

Emiliana Vegas's picture

Bill Gates has the right ideaIn his 2010 Annual Letter for his foundation, Bill Gates highlighted the need to focus on “helping teachers improve." While many continue to advocate for increased accountability and incentives for teachers, he mentions the need to provide teachers with more and better information on their performance. As he puts it:

“It is amazing how little feedback teachers get to help them improve, especially when you think about how much feedback their students get."

 

What Are We Doing?

Many of us who work on research and policy advice for developing countries are constantly reminding governments of the need to assess student performance, to improve mechanisms to reward effective teachers and remove those who are not so effective, and to provide information to parents and communities about school quality.

The World Bank is Listening: Global Consultations Shape New Education Strategy for 2020

What will the world look like in ten years and how can we best tailor our work in education to help countries achieve a future that is prosperous and equitable?

These are some of the questions the World Bank has been asking the global community as it charts its direction in education for the next ten years.

Consultations kicked off this spring to help shape and inform the new Education Sector Strategy for 2020. The education strategy team embarked on a series of consultations with the governments of client countries, multilateral and bilateral entities, local and international NGOs, donors, academia, and civil society to solicit their input. Summaries of discussions from the consultations to date have been posted online.

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