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Friday Churn: Rating “other” teachers

What’s churning:

The State Council for Educator Effectiveness will devote a big chunk of a full-day session today to considering the knotty issue of how to evaluate “other licensed personnel” – education jargon for teachers who don’t work full-time in classrooms.

The 2010 educator effectiveness law requires that all licensed education personnel – principals and teachers – be evaluated annually and that at least half of the evaluations be based on student academic growth. That growth is to be measured by scores on statewide tests and other academic indicators.

Doing such evaluations for full-time classroom teachers is one thing; connecting student growth to the work of specialists, librarians, counselors and others is more complex.

The council today will consider and discuss suggestions from the law’s sponsors, models from elsewhere in the nation and next steps in the process.

Created by the effectiveness law, the council was assigned to develop regulations for implementing the law and propose them to the State Board of Education. The council previously proposed general regulations and rules for appeals of ineffective ratings. The state board has issued regulations in those areas.

The council meets today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the offices of the Colorado Association of School Boards, 1200 Grant St.

What’s on tap:

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education meets at 1 p.m. today in the Old Supreme Court Chambers of the Capitol. Agenda.

Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, speaks at 6 p.m. tonight at the Magness Arena in the Ritchie Center at the University of Denver. Event info.

If you haven’t heard, Khan is the Louisiana native born to immigrant parents who went on to earn three degrees from M.I.T. In 2004, he started tutoring his young cousin in algebra via the internet and, at the urging of others, began placing his lessons on YouTube in 2006. His lessons proved so popular – imagine 20,000 hits for algebra videos – that Khan quit his job as a hedge fund manager in 2009 to work on the Khan Academy full-time.

Khan has been featured on a number of national news outlets and, most recently, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who says he uses Khan Academy for his own kids, wrote the Time profile on Khan.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Speaking of online ed: Harvard and MIT are partnering to offer the public free Internet classes, with each donating $30 million to create a nonprofit organization called “edX” to develop the courses. Read more about it in The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at

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