Checklists for teachers, policy makers, and other stakeholders
Hope Street Group Questions to Teacher Ambassadors
The U.S. Department of Education's teacher ambassadors share their thoughts on reform efforts.
Effective reform requires contributions from all stakeholders. The Playbook checklists provide step-by-step instructions for involvement for:
- Principals and Administrators
- Union Leaders
- State Policy Makers
- State and Local School Boards
There are many important areas of comprehensive evaluation reform. Hope Street Group mainly examines evaluation reform for classroom teachers. However, a quality, comprehensive evaluation program would not solely focus on teachers but should include school administrators, instructional coaches, speech and language pathologists, school counselors, and all key faculty members who impact student learning. Again, the main purpose of an evaluation system is to provide individualized feedback, support, and professional growth opportunities to help educators grow and continuously improve to raise student achievement. To ensure the best results, engagement should be system-wide and not limited to classroom teachers.
Teachers are the individuals to whom the evaluation systems will matter most. They have experienced sub-standard evaluations in the past and have ideas about what changes will be most valuable to make the new systems as useful to their daily work as possible.
Teachers want to be involved, and their deep engagement will build their support and create a sense of ownership over the new system. Trust is a crucial element in this and any other major reform effort, and teachers need to know that state education officials want their input, are listening and are incorporating the best of their feedback in significant ways. Through this collaboration and effort to build trust between policymakers, state officials and educators, states are more likely to develop a system that will be effective and ultimately lead to improved student outcomes.
Make no mistake, designing and implementing a quality evaluation program is a long and difficult process. It can get messy, and will require patience, persistence and a willingness to compromise on the part of both policymakers and educators. Budget shortfalls and cutbacks in education funding present another set of challenges that can complicate both the design and implementation, and require early planning to ensure that resources are used wisely and effectively. That said, experts agree that this work is important, and it’s better to do it right than fast.
If the end result improves support and feedback to teachers, recognizes teachers for excellence, builds better student-tracking data systems and leads to improved student achievement, it will be well worth the effort.