Children learn best from an excellent teacher. There can be no other in-school factor as important. This is undeniable. What is more difficult to determine and is hotly contested is how to identify, resource, nurture, train, incentivize, license, retain/dismiss or determine the effectiveness of that teacher. All of these factors are under great debate and have enormous implications for our children’s future.
Teaching quality at a school is not dependent only on who is in front of our child’s classroom; principals also have a huge role to play in the teaching quality in a school. A teacher who is unsupported is less effective than one who has others consistently teaching them. Providing a rich school climate, mentoring, establishing clear goals, aligning resources with those goals – these are all essential elements of delivering quality teaching and these are factors all in the hands of school leaders.
A great deal of the current education work in Minnesota revolves around this issue.
From Opportunity to Learn Campaign, Excellent Teachers for Each and Every Child: A Guide for State Policy
Minnesota’s Teacher Evaluation Working Group (TEWG) created the default model for evaluating teachers annually, in compliance with state statute. The model is in the pilot phase and will be used by school districts that don’t create their own. A few key documents:
- Summary of the evaluation model, by Ann Hobbie, parent member of the TEWG
- Model Overview from the MN Dept. of Education (pdf)
- A case for student feedback in the evaluation model, by Jeff Koon
Can Teacher Evaluation Improve Teaching? (Principal Leadership, March 2013)
Creating a Comprehensive System for Evaluating and Supporting Effective Teaching (Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education)
What’s the best way to identify an effective teacher? (Gates Foundation study)