Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Distinguished Teachers

There is an outstanding paper about pay for performance written by Joan Baratz-Snowden, formerly of AFT and who now sits on our board of directors. She clearly states the issues with current pay programs for teachers in saying; “it has not produced competitive salaries in the current job market, it does not respond to market forces, and the evidence linking teacher education and experience to improved student performance is weak.”

She has nailed it. But she also nails current pay for performance plans, with the exception of Denver, as weak and struggling. Reading this paper you should be able to see why we asked her help us.

We are currently creating the Distinguished Teacher program for veteran teachers that can be a part of a pay for performance program. Like many things at ABCTE, this has undergone extensive changes by listening to people, like Joan, who were very critical of the first iterations. The program now includes a live observation by trained veteran teachers using UVA’s CLASS observation system, recommendation letters from the school, scoring at the distinguished level on our subject matter exams and demonstration of student achievement through value added analysis.

As Joan points out, development of a solid program takes time. Having constructive criticism instead of political posturing has helped us create a much better program. People criticized Joan for joining our board but working together from the inside gets things done a lot faster than working against someone from the outside.

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