Once kids walk in the school door, the most important factor for how well they learn is the quality of their teachers.
But how do we know whos a good teacher? How do we find the best and attract them to schools where they are needed the most? How can schools help teachers do the best job? How should they reward them when they do?
We need to improve how we recruit, support, evaluate, and reward teachers to get the best teaching for kids who need it most
Districts are working on initiatives to try and answer these questions and research exists as to the best possible solutions for schools This presentation summarizes the results of that research
Go for the talent! Unfortunately, the top students dont go into education. Among undergraduates and graduate students in the field of education, those who want to be teachers score below average in math and reading tests. Source: Education Testing Service. Guide to the Use of Scores 2008-09 ; College Board SAT 2008 College Bound Seniors Total Group Profile Report
What makes a good teacher? Majoring in Education in college? Advanced degree in education? More years of experience (after the first few)? None of these are proven to consistently boost student performance Go for the talent!
Go for the Talent! States need to: collect data on teacher characteristics (college attended, ACT/SAT scores, major, etc.) see what characteristics of teachers lead to improved student performance
Go for the Talent! Hire the best teachers for each school Central offices delay hiring for principals who understand their schools needs Schools announce vacancies in the summer, when suburban and private schools have already taken top prospects The schools and districts with the greatest need should be helped to attract the best talent!
Make Results Count! The vast majority of teachers receive positive evaluations, no matter how well or poorly their students perform. Evaluations typically contain little detail to show who are outstanding teachers and who are poor performers. They dont relate teacher performance to school goals, or identify strengths and weaknesses that could be used to start turning things around.
Make Results Count! Because so few teachers are rated unsatisfactory, few teachers are ever fired. Teacher Evaluations in a Chicago Middle School, 2007 Chicago Middle School Enrollment:PK – 8500 students Students:90% Low Income100% African-American Performance: 18% of students proficient in Reading 27% of students proficient in Math No teachers were rated Unsatisfactory All 51 ratings were Superior (78%) or Excellent (22%) Source: The New Teacher Project. Hiring, Assignment, and Transfer in Chicago Public Schools 2007
Make Results Count! Accurately measuring effectiveness is key to improving teacher quality. Evaluations should: take student progress into account identify problems offer help have incentives and consequences
Help Teachers Improve! Teacher Induction is essentially a Sink or Swim process New teachers are thrown into the most challenging situations with little support Teachers need high quality mentorship opportunities and opportunities to collaborate with colleagues
Help Teachers Improve! Professional Development? School districts spend an estimated $14 billion a year on courses and workshops to improve teacher skills But those courses often have little to do with whats actually happening in the school and no follow-up
Help Teachers Improve! Effective professional development should be tied to school goals and to the curriculum the students are studying. Teachers need: Data on where students could use additional help Information on how they could continue to improve Experienced teachers should be able to customize their own enrichment
Reward Excellence! Unlike most jobs, teachers are not rewarded for good performance or tough assignments Teachers are only paid based on the number of years they have on the job This means teachers are not paid and incentivized to teach in high demand areas like science and math
Reward Excellence! A sensible salary structure can: Attract talented people Encourage teachers to take tough assignments Reward good performance And retain young teachers (who peak later in their teaching careers)
Reward Excellence! Tenure is a form of job security to protect teachers from political or personal attacks After only a few years, most teachers receive tenure, regardless of their quality of work Even with bad evaluations, it is incredibly difficult to remove bad teachers
Reward Excellence… Pension benefits are a huge part of teachers compensation (and a huge part of state budgets) But, like salaries, they are not tied to quality Some pension arrangements give experienced teachers incentives to leave early Others trap people in teaching jobs theyre not good at in order to qualify for benefits
How you can help! Remember: No other school factor has more impact on how much students learn than the quality of their teachers Start by searching out other parents, parent organizations or community partners that work for quality schools
How you can help! Ask your principals, school district officials, and state legislators some key questions and press them to make important changes How are teachers evaluated? What are districts doing to provide quality teacher professional development? Tell state officials to withhold tenure until teachers have shown results!
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: http://www.joycefdn.org/teacherquality
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