Executive Summary

Develop Talking Points

Manage the Message

The talking points should be shared with key state education officials, the governor’s office and members of statewide advisory committees, and school district officials to ensure that the messages remain consistent.
 

A big part of “managing the message” is making sure that all of the key players are working off of the same script. States should develop clear, brief talking points that concisely explain why the state is reforming its evaluation system, the process in place, how teachers are involved, how the changes are expected to lead to improved student performance and that reflect the current phase of development or implementation.

The talking points should be shared with key state education officials, the governor’s office and members of statewide advisory committees, and school district officials to ensure that the messages remain consistent.

Sample Talking Points from Tennessee

  • The old system was broken.
     
  • Change is difficult but necessary if we are going to improve public education.
     
  • The state’s new teacher evaluation system, while perhaps imperfect, is a vast improvement over the prior system.
  • It is common that new evaluation systems face challenges and setbacks in the beginning. We will address these issues and improve the system each year through teacher input.
  • Educators were evaluated infrequently before on rubrics that weren't linked to student achievement or growth.
  • Teachers were not shown the teaching standards ahead of time, and results were not routinely discussed in order to help them understand or act on the results.
     
  • Under that scenario, the system did not produce accurate or useful information. That was a disservice to teachers and especially to students.
  • The old system did not support teachers through constructive feedback like the new system will.
  • Again, the new system, which might have some issues to work through in the beginning, is an investment in public education that will result in better student outcomes and better schools over time. 

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