Teacher and Leader Effectiveness
What's the Problem?
Effective teachers and principals are the most important school-based influences on student learning. Unfortunately, many of the state and district systems to enable excellent teaching and leadership were designed for a different era, and do not consistently reinforce excellent teaching. The best college graduates are not deliberately recruited into the profession, and too many teacher preparation programs are disconnected from actual classroom practice. New teachers have too little high-quality support after they are hired, and resources targeted for teacher development too often fund activities that aren’t aligned to what teachers actually need to become more effective. Evaluation systems to differentiate teacher needs and tailor necessary supports need an overhaul. Most teachers are paid virtually the same, using an old-fashioned “steps and lanes” system that only takes into account years of experience and education level of the teacher, rather than skills, assignment or effectiveness. And school leaders rarely have the conditions, training, flexibility or authority they need to ensure consistently-high performance.
Working to fix these systems will require changes across the educator career “continuum,” from who is recruited into the profession to how teachers and principals are prepared to how they are evaluated and supported, assigned, promoted and compensated once they step foot in the school.
What's the Solution?
Attracting and retaining great teachers and leaders in every school will require treating them as professionals and ensuring that all steps along an educator’s career are aligned in order to support and strengthen the teacher's capacity to help all students meet academic standards.
We’re helping state and local education leaders, funders, union leaders and reform advocates:
- Clearly define effective teaching and leading as the ability to improve student achievement
- Establish comprehensive educator evaluation systems that differentiate effectiveness, include student learning growth and other indicators of excellent teaching, and focus on results and consequences
- Work in partnership with union leaders to ensure educators receive on-time supports and professional development targeted to specific areas of strength and weakness, as identified in their evaluations
- Reward educators based on effectiveness, skills and assignment with enhanced compensation, increased responsibilities and tenure
- Innovate with ways to maximize the impact and influence of those who are most highly effective
- Align district policies and practices in all areas of a teacher’s career—from preparation to induction to professional development to evaluations and rewards—with district goals
- Encourage teacher leaders and reformers to innovate and contribute to local, state and national policy discussions about ways to improve the profession