Teaching Quality Supports

Give At-Risk Students Early, Tailored Supports

By Chris Hill, NC Justice Center, and John H. Jackson, Schott Foundation

It’s time we recognize that students fall behind not because of inherent character flaws, but because our education policies for the past two decades have focused on implementing tough standards while failing to build support systems that address the societal factors that create barriers to academic success.

More than 20 million students in the United States are below proficient in reading and math and barred from the educational opportunities that will lead to success.

Moving From Standards to Supports

By John H. Jackson, President & CEO, Schott Foundation

Standards-based reform creates an inherent system of winners and losers by raising the bar and assessing who makes the cut. Supports-based reforms provide and strategically align the needed resources so each student has the opportunity to reach that bar—and surpass it.

In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama returned repeatedly to the theme of "we the people" and the ever-more-inclusive nature of that "we" in our nation.

"Who Is Teaching Our Kids, Mr. President?"

Many students, including those with disabilities, English Learners, students of color, and students from low-income or rural communities are being taught by teachers with little or no training. The 93-member Coalition for Teaching Quality asks that the US DOE compile a national report on the number of students being taught by teachers-in-training who are inappropriately identified as "highly qualified teachers" under federal law.

The following is an open letter to President Obama from the Coalition for Teaching Qualtiy, a broad-based coalition of 93 local, state and national organizations (full list below), including the OTL Campaign, requesting a report on the distribution of teachers by state. 


April 30, 2013
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20500


Market-Oriented Education Reforms' Rhetoric Trumps Reality

Publication Date: 
Tue, 2013-04-23
Broader, Bolder Approach to Education

Top-down pressure from federal education policies such as Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind, bolstered by organized advocacy efforts, is making a popular set of market-oriented education “reforms” look more like the new status quo than real reform. Reformers assert that test-based teacher evaluation, increased access to charter schools, and the closure of “failing” and under-enrolled schools will boost at-risk students’ achievement and narrow longstanding race- and income-based achievement gaps. This new report from the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education examines these assertions by comparing the impacts of these reforms in three large urban school districts – Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago – with student and school outcomes over the same period in other large, high-poverty urban districts. The report finds that the reforms deliver few benefits, often harm the students they purport to help, and divert attention from a set of other, less visible policies with more promise to weaken the link between poverty and low educational attainment.


New OTL Policy Guide: School Boards Play Key Role in Ending Suspensions

At the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Annual Conference this weekend, hundreds of school board members voted to adopt a resolution to prevent the use of out-of-school suspensions and encouraged school boards to implement positive discipline policies that keep students in the classroom and learning. One of the most crucial tools to use on the local level is being released today: the OTL Campaign's brand new policy guide for school board members and local advocates.

National School Boards Association Votes for
Resolution to Prevent Out-of-School Suspensions

New OTL Policy Guide Highlights Successful District Reforms


How Boston Students Made Their Voices Heard in the Classroom

In an article published in Phi Delta Kappan, Dan Chu from the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) details BSAC's long and ultimately successful campaign to develop a tool for students to give constructive feedback to their teachers.

Dan Chu from the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) got an article published in Phi Delta Kappan last month! In the article, he details BSAC's long and ultimately successful campaign to develop a tool for students to give constructive feedback to their teachers.

Linda Darling-Hammond Talks High-Stakes Testing

OTL ally Linda Darling-Hammond was recently on the Melissa Harris-Perry to talk about the dangers of high-stakes testing and the threat they pose to public schools.

OTL ally Linda Darling-Hammond was on the Melissa Harris-Perry show last weekend talking about the dangers of high-stakes testing and the recent testing cheating scandal in the Atlanta public school district. 

There are three full clips devoted to the discussion – don't miss any of them!


Racial Justice Webinar Recap, Resources and Video!

Thanks to all those who joined us for an exciting webinar this week with Terry Keleher and Jermaine Toney from the Applied Research Center! Here's a quick recap of what we discussed, tools for you to use in your advocacy and organizing work, and a video of the webinar to share!

Terry Keleher (right)
and Jermaine Toney (left)

Is Right-Wing School Reform (Texas) Toast?

By Jeff Bryant, Education Opportunity Network

What happened this weekend in the Texas capital of Austin revealed a groundswell of resistance, from multiple political factions, against what has been heretofore defined as “education reform.” A rally brought thousands of people into the streets to hear education historian Diane Ravitch declare Texas, the place where reform “madness” started, would be where “the vampire gets … a stake in its heart.”

It’s a conventional wisdom among Democrats to write off the state of Texas as a land of gun wielding troglodytes who genuflect to Rush Limbaugh and swill Fox News Kool-Aid. (Full disclosure: I was born and raised in the Lone Star State.)


We Need Equity for Students and Supports for Teachers

Following the release of the Equity and Excellence Commission's seminal report on the lack of equity and opportunity in our schools, OTL ally Linda Darling-Hammond and Congressman Michael Honda have published an op-ed in the Washington Post echoing the report's call for policies that increase access to key opportunities and resources for every child and provide supports for recruiting, training and retaining high quality teachers.

Congressman Michael Honda
and Linda Darling-Hammond


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