“At that school, even teachers who would be merely ordinary anyplace else become superstars.” What's going on at 'that school'? Lots of supports for teachers, connected to a new teacher evaluation system that includes student learning and focuses on giving teachers meaningful and actionable feedback.
While we await the Vergara verdict with the hope that it will kick start changes to state teacher effectiveness policies in California, Education Trust – West has taken a closer look at seven districts and charter school networks in the Golden State that have new and improved evaluation systems. Nearly all teachers and administrators in these schools agreed that, despite the effort and setbacks, if they had to do it all over again, they would.
Surveyed teachers praised the supports and feedback they were receiving. Teachers were experiencing these evaluation systems as a vehicle for improvement, and not as a ‘gotcha’. While there was still clearly some fine tuning to be done, teachers saw the evaluation systems as a way to help them help their students.
The paper doesn't gloss over the anxiety teachers feel at the change or the challenges of implementing such a complex new system. But the overall takeaway is very positive. With so many teachers and administrators on board, it seems that only the policymakers are holding back the process across the state. What will it take to convince the policymakers that better support and evaluation systems serve both teachers' and their students' best interests?