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GREAT Act Update

The movement to create a vibrant market for high-quality teacher training took another important step forward today. Due to vigorous championing by Representative Thomas Petri (R-WY), language to support states that want to create “GREAT” teacher and principal training academies has been added to the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act – the so-called “House teacher bill” for those of us wonks who live in Washington D.C. – introduced by Rep. John […] Read more

Educreations Policy Update

NewSchools Policy Director Ben Riley provides a great overview of two new education bills that were introduced last Friday, January 6 in the House Education and Workforce Committee. In his short video, Ben provides a run-down of the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation & Effective Teachers Act. Ben’s using a great new app called Educreations, which allows users to create video “lessons” à la Khan Academy. (Their tagline is “Teach what you know. […] Read more

The Latest GREAT News

The ayes have it! Last Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee approved Senator Michael Bennet’s GREAT Amendment to the omnibus ESEA reauthorization bill by voice vote. (For more background on GREAT, you can read previous blog posts here, here and here – the essential idea is to improve teacher and principal training by focusing on admissions selectivity, clinical training, and accountability tied to student achievement.)For those who weren’t riveted […] Read more

Drone Submarines, Flying Cars, and the Classroom

What does education have in common with a pilotless submarine and remote-controlled insects? In short, the letters ARPA. Stay with us for a moment — because we’re going to need your help. In 1953, Congress created DARPA — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — to catch up with a Soviet Union that could turn innovation into workable defense projects faster than the United States could. It was idea-heavy and bureaucracy-light, freed […] Read more

The Risks of Waiving to the Top

Last Friday, President Obama delivered the long-awaited news: it’s the end of No Child Left Behind as we know it. In a short speech delivered to a virtual Who’s Who of the education community, the President announced that NCLB’s uniform, national system of school accountability is no more. It has ceased to be. In its place, the Administration is now offering states the opportunity to receive a waiver from NCLB provided that […] Read more

Why we need GREAT colleges of education

As readers of this blog and my small-but-slowly-growing Twitter followers know, this past June Senator Michael Bennet introduced the GREAT Teachers and Principals Act, S. 1250. I haven’t stopped talking about the bill since, so I’m happy to finally be blogging this time about…well, still about GREAT! Specifically, I’d like to take a moment to explain and clarify some confusion that seems to have arisen around the interrelation between the GREAT Act and […] Read more

GREAT Act Q&A, part 2

Last Wednesday, I blogged about Senate Bill 1250, the GREAT Teachers and Principals Act, designed to create and support high-performing teacher and principal “training academies.” The introduction of this legislation sparked a wave of media coverage, which in turn generated a number of questions and discussions over Twitter, Facebook, and in the blogosphere. So, in the spirit of the Q&A theme used in my original post, I thought I would answer a […] Read more


Today, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) will introduce a bill, co-sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) to support the creation and expansion of teacher and principal training academies. This legislation, titled the Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals Act (GREAT Act), represents a bold, innovative approach to improving the quality of teacher and leader training. And in the spirit of […] Read more