New Books by Allan Odden

Improving Student Learning when Budgets are TightImproving Student Learning When Budgets Are Tight was published by Corwin Press in February, 2012. It is now available at or

A how-to manual for achieving excellence despite budget cuts

This book offers a comprehensive framework to enhance student achievement in good times and in bad. The author provides a school improvement action plan and then shows how to target resources to implement that plan. More than just a “theory” book, this text describes concrete, specific actions that can be taken immediately. Key strategies include:

• Using data to support boosting student performance
• Focusing on effective instruction
• Setting goals to drive resource allocation priorities
• Setting priorities for situations that require budget cuts
• Hiring top teachers and providing ongoing professional development
• Providing needed technology resources

Allan Odden’s book, Strategic Management of Human Capital in Education, was published by Routledge Press in mid-January.  It is now available at or

Strategic Management of Human Capital in Education offers a comprehensive and strategic approach to address what has become labeled as “talent and human capital.”  Grounded in extensive research and examples of leading edge districts, this book shows how the entire human resource system in schools-from recruitment, to selection/placement, induction, professional development, performance management and evaluation, compensation, and career progression- can be reformed and restructured to boost teacher and principal effectiveness in ways that dramatically improve instructional practice and student learning.  Strategic Management of Human Capital in Education guides educators toward putting more effective teachers, teacher leaders, and principals in the country’s schools-especially in poverty-impacted urban and rural communities-equipping those teachers and principals with instructional and leadership expertise, and rewarding and retaining those who are successful in attaining these objectives. Drawing from cases, experiences, and deliberations from a national task force, this book outlines a comprehensive framework for how to transform current human resource management practices into authentic, strategic talent management systems in order to improve student achievement.

“This important new book clearly and comprehensively addresses the new work in school reform that is changing the face of human resources in school systems.”

-From the Foreword by Carl A. Cohn, Professor and Co-Director, Urban Leadership Program, Claremont Graduate University

Taking Human Capital Seriously: Remarks from Allan Odden, SMHC Co-Director

Taking Human Capital Seriously: Talented Teachers in Every Classroom, Talented Principals in Every School

Remarks from Allan Odden, Co-Director of SMHC

Today, Jim Kelly and I released an urgent report from Strategic Management of Human Capital (SMHC), Taking Human Capital Seriously: Talented Teachers in Every Classroom, Talented Principals in Every School. The report calls for close cooperation between states and districts, determined commitment from all parts of the education policy community including teachers, teacher union/associations, and administrators, and strong political leadership. The report is based on several SMHC principles, including the following:

  • Develop an explicit vision of teaching and learning as one key element of an effective improvement strategy.
  • Principals bear the ultimate responsibility for implementing school-wide reforms that will lead to high academic achievement for all students.
  • Strategic human capital systems continually improve the teacher and principal workforce by responding appropriately to evidence of effectiveness on the job, using the two metrics of measures of teaching practice and measures of student learning.

We are proud of the bold actions this report advocates for at the state and district levels, specifically:

  • At the state level, require districts to use the results of performance-based teacher and principal evaluation systems to identify professional development needs, career leadership opportunities, and specific emphases in ongoing professional development.
  • At the district level, systematically develop new teacher intensive induction and mentoring.
  • At the district level, provide intensive, ongoing and high quality professional development. A critical element of any reform effort is an intensive, targeted and sustained professional development program that brings consistency to teaching and assessment.

This report lays out a clear blueprint for reform.  We urge state and local policymakers to implement these recommendations as soon as they are able.

Click here to download the report.

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SMHC Issues Urgent Report on Talent in Education

Today, SMHC released a call to action outlining the dramatic steps necessary to improve teacher and principal talent. Taking Human Capital Seriously: Talented Teachers in Every Classroom, Talented Principals in Every School comes in response to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s August challenge, in which he called upon SMHC to advance bold ideas for major reforms. This report offers 20 policy recommendations for state and district actions to improve student achievement by recruiting, developing, evaluating, compensating and retaining more effective teachers and principals. Click here to download the report.

To view other resources from SMHC, visit the Resources section of the SMHC Web site at

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“Teachers are the Center of Education”

College Board and PDK International are shining a spotlight on great teaching with Teachers are the Center of Education, a new publication that profiles eights teachers. In chronicling the day-to-day work of a handful of incredible teachers from different disciplines, locations, kinds of schools, and student populations, Teachers are the Center of Education illustrates the importance of teachers to learning. The report’s mission is simple: “To highlight the critical importance of teachers, salute their great work and recognize that they stand at the center.”

To read Teachers are the Center of Education, visit

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SMHC Highlighted in New Teacher Compensation Report from CED

CED paperIn a new report from the Committee for Economic Development (CED), SMHC is noted for helping to increase public understanding of the importance of strategically aligning all elements in the human resource system with the common goal of improving student learning. The report, Teacher Compensation and Teacher Quality, argues that to increase student achievement, we need to reform how we pay teachers.

CED, a public policy organization comprised of business and education leader, offers several examples of what the authors consider promising reforms.

  • Evaluating teachers for compensation purposes should include quantitative measures of student learning, where available, and qualitative assessments of teachers’ skills, knowledge, and classroom effectiveness.
  • Compensation policies should be blind to how long teachers stay in the classroom.
  • Career paths that provide opportunities for promotion and compensation should be created. However, these career paths should not necessitate teachers leaving the classroom for administrative positions.
  • Compensation policies should take into consideration content areas where it is more difficult to recruit and retain teachers.
  • Compensation policies should include incentives that encourage teachers to work in the most challenging schools.

See page 9 of the report for highlights on the SMHC project.

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SMHC Co-Director Kelly to Address Delaware Practitioners on HC Management

On Wednesday, October 7, SMHC Co-Director Jim Kelly will meet with Delaware legislators, business leaders, and district superintendents to discuss human capital management. Kelly will also deliver a presentation to education practitioners to kick off the Delaware Department of Education’s Leadership for Learning series. In his presentation, Kelly will advise practitioners on the best practices of strategic human capital management, as well as how to address SMHC’s agenda in state and local practices and policies.

Delaware has been on the forefront of human capital reform with the Delaware Cohesive Leadership System (DCLS). In setting up DCLS, Delaware’s goals were to 1) develop leaders with the necessary skills and capacity to improve student learning; 2) enhance working conditions and incentives to enable leaders to improve student learning; 3) ensure that policies, programs, practices, and budgets are coordinated in ways that connect leadership to meeting high expectations for every child, especially those with the greatest needs; and 4) build and support networks, partnerships, and other strategies to share information pertaining to successful programs and policies.

Kelly’s presentation will be from 4:30 pm to 6:00 p.m., at the Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center. This event is open to the public. To register, contact Alison Willey at [] or (302) 855-1629.

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New Book from SMHC Co-Director Allan Odden

10 Strategies for Doubling Student PerformanceSMHC Co-director Allan Odden continues to push for dramatic improvements in public education in his recently published book, 10 Strategies for Doubling Student Performance. The book, which complements his previous work co-authored with Sarah Archibald, Doubling Student Performance … and finding the resources to do it, outlines a comprehensive and strategic school improvement plan for school and district leaders that will enhance their students’ performance. 

According to Daniel A. Domenech, a member of the SMHC Task force and executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, “Odden offers a sound program of ten steps school leaders can implement to significantly improve student academic achievement in their districts.” Through these steps, Odden defines the most important practices for creating strong professional communities of the future.  Notably, his chapter on the human capital side of improving performance explains that class size, location, and school demographics are challenges easily mitigated. Other chapters offer vivid illustrations about how to excel in the extremely competitive education space.  

Jack D. Dale, also a SMHC Task Force member and superintendent of Fairfax County Schools, VA declares, “Odden not only thinks big, he provides specifics examples from real school districts to support his ten-step program. His systemic analysis of school district improvement and specific examples create a road map for the nation.”

Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, also praises the book, saying “…Allan Odden vividly illustrates many of the most important practices for creating strong professional communities. From the organization of time to the development of productive curriculum and instruction, school leaders will learn how to create a framework for school reform grounded in research and the wisdom of practice.”

10 Strategies for Doubling Student Performance can be ordered at or directly from Corwin by telephone at 800-233-9936 or 805-499-9734, or Fax at 800-417-2466 or 805-499-5323 or online at

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The People Have Spoken: New Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll on U.S. Public Schools

The Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll released last month offers insight into Americans’ perceptions of U.S. public schools. The poll offers a number of interesting findings on the issue of talent management. Highlights from this year’s poll include:

  • TEACHER PAY – Almost three out of four Americans favor merit pay for teachers. Advanced degrees, student academic achievement, and administrator evaluations are the three most favored criteria for awarding merit pay. Americans estimate that teacher salaries are lower than what they believe teachers should receive. Americans also believe that beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree and teaching certification should earn more than they are currently paid by their community’s schools. 
  • TENURE – Americans are split on teacher tenure, depending on how the question is asked. They disapprove of teachers having a “lifetime contract” but agree that teachers should have a formal legal review before being terminated.
  • ECONOMIC STIMULUS – Economic stimulus money should be used to retain teachers slated to be laid off, followed by support to the lowest performing schools.
  • TEACHER CERTIFICATION – Three out of four Americans believe we should have national standards for the certification of public school teachers.
  • TECHNICAL TEACHERS – Americans overwhelmingly favor increasing the number of scholarships to college students who agree to teach science, math, and other technical subjects, while only three out of 10 Americans approve relaxing certification requirements to allow more teachers to teach these technical subjects.

SMHC supports new ways to pay teachers, including incentives for teachers of STEM subjects and new approaches to teacher tenure. How we compensate teachers can have a significant impact on teacher recruitment and retention in subjects and schools with teacher shortages. SMHC research shows that schools need a strategic reward systems that is aligned with the needs and goals of the education system.  In setting pay levels, states and districts should consider how people are paid in comparable jobs outside of education. Additionally, to make teaching more attractive to young teachers and principals, states and districts should consider rewarding individuals for expertise and providing a fast track towards instructional leadership.

SMHC Issues Comprehensive State Strategy and Policy Agenda

SMHC has written a comprehensive policy Framework addressing teacher and principal effectiveness issues for all states.  The Race to the Top guidelines are now posted (see Having several states adopt similar if not the same policies in these areas could be viewed favorably by people who will review Race to the Top proposals.  It is important to assure that states have transparent but powerful policies to help districts acquire, develop, reward and retain effective teacher and principal talent. We offer suggestions to start the policy discussions. To read the SMHC Comprehensive State Strategy and Policy Agenda, click here.

NYC Selected for Study on Measuring Teacher Performance

The New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers have joined to participate in “Measures of Effective Teaching” – a 2 year, $2.6 million study from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to determine the most reliable methods of teacher evaluation beyond relying on student performance and standardized tests.

“There’s been so much debate about what constitutes effective teaching and learning,” said United Federation of Teachers chief Michael Mulgrew. “We’re looking at this as an opportunity to get to the bottom of this.”

Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Mulgrew jointly issued a letter asking for 1,000 teachers from 100 different schools to volunteer to participate in the study. The study will use student test scores, student and teacher surveys, and video observations of teachers to assess teacher performance. Participating teachers will receive a $1,500 stipend.

Measuring teaching performance is a popular and contentious topic and SMHC is deep in the conversation, having recently unveiled a working paper on measuring teaching performance. Review of Teaching Performance Assessments for Use in Human Capital Management, by Anthony Milanowski, SMHC Senior Researcher, reviews the current state of the art in teaching assessment by examining seven assessment systems. Check out the resources section of the SMHC Web site to read other papers from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education on measuring teaching performance.

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