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Our team blogs regularly on a broad range of topics related to education reform and provides a blend of leading-edge perspectives. One of Bellwether’s greatest strengths is that diversity of viewpoint is encouraged among the partner team and throughout the organization. Everyone at Bellwether is committed to dramatic improvements in our public education system, but internally there are different views about how to accomplish that work. As a result, the views expressed in these blogs should be considered to be those of the writers rather than organizational viewpoints of Bellwether or of any organizations or individuals with whom Bellwether works. Likewise, outgoing links do not constitute any type of endorsement of other websites or organizations.

Ahead of the Heard

The Bellwether team blog, Ahead of the Heard, features regular commentary, analysis, and original insights from our staff.

Max Marchitello

Despite its relatively small size, the state of West Virginia has had a significant influence on national politics. Take for example West Virginia’s educators, whose two-week strike in 2018 sparked similar protests across the country. Yet, stagnant salaries are not the only financial problem facing teachers and states: there is a growing teacher pension crisis. […]

The post To Address Their Teacher Pension Problems, States Need to Better Understand West Virginia’s History of Reform appeared first on Ahead of the Heard.

Eduwonk

Andrew Rotherham provides education news, analysis, and commentary through his widely read blog, Eduwonk.com. 

Chad Aldeman

Yesterday I noted that Teach For America is likely our largest provider of new teachers. Although it’s impossible to prove definitively given current data limitations, TFA is also likely our largest provider of new teachers of color.

First, let’s go with TFA’s estimate that half of their corps members identify as people of color. Since they’re currently placing about 3,500 teachers a year overall, that means TFA is responsible for about 1,750 new teachers of color entering America’s public schools every year.

Teacher Pensions

Teacherpensions.org, a project of Bellwether Education Partners, provides high-quality information and analysis to help stakeholders – especially teachers and policymakers – understand the teacher pension issue and the trade-offs among various options for reform.

Max Marchitello

As soon as state legislators begin to seriously ponder teacher pension reform, the specter of West Virginia is raised. Defenders of traditional pensions argue that the Mountain State’s switch to a defined contribution (DC), 401(k)-style plan and its subsequent return back to a pension plan offers definitive proof that reform cannot work.

But that story is vastly oversimplified.  

The reality is that both plans are poorly designed and fail to provide a high-quality benefit to a majority of teachers, and that any structure, even one expected to better meet teachers’ retirement needs, can fail if not carefully structured.