has announced his intentions to overhaul the education system in the state. His proposal includes altering the teacher evaluation system. The struggle to unwind the strangle-hold that teachers’ unions have on the public system is certainly daunting. Ridding the school system of bad teachers, while rewarding good teachers, can have a beneficial effect. He may have a model for assessing teacher effectiveness from an unlikely source—the Washington, DC public schools.
A recent Bloomberg.com podcast featured Kaya Henderson, the chancellor of Washington, DC public schools. Chancellor Henderson is a life-long educator who has been instrumental in overseeing teacher improvement projects in New York City, Yonkers, and Long Island. She continues her efforts in the nation’s capital.
Formerly, teachers in this district received evaluations once a year, in the form of a checklist, with no student achievement component. The principals now engage in jointgoal-setting with their teachers, and their evaluation counts for 70 percent of the assessment score.
In contrast, with the new evaluation tool, IMPACT, they receive total of five observations a year from their principals and an expert teacher in a content area. In addition, student achievement has become part of the evaluation process. Teachers receive feedback in the form of post-observation conferences. The new system alters the role of the principals, who are more directly engaged in academic performance reviews and the evaluation process. In addition, IMPACT allows the school system to reward high performing teachers, who are no longer bound by the lock-step pay scale that formerly determined their salaries.
Teachers who receive good evaluations are entitled to bonuses that range from $3,000 to $25,000 per year. In addition, those who receive excellent
evaluations two years in a row, can advance five steps on the salary schedule in
one year. Thus, a teacher rated “consistently excellent” can attain an annual salary of $120,000. Unlike New York City, which recently released individual teacher ratings, Washington does not publicize the results of the teacher evaluations. Principals are also subject to evaluations based on a leadership framework, observable behaviors, and student achievement.
Perhaps “incentivizing” the evaluation process in Connecticut can also lead to improvement in teaching and learning. What do you think?