Executive Summary

Dru Davison

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am currently a teacher on a assignment, serving as an Arts Administrator for Memphis City Schools. I have taught instrumental music and early childhood music in Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee. In addition to Pre-K–12, I taught at Arkansas State University (adjunct-jazz and saxophone) and the University of North Texas (teaching fellow-music education). I currently serve as the chair of the Tennessee Fine Arts Growth Measures Development Committee where I have worked with many outstanding professionals to develop a pilot for measuring student growth in the Fine Arts.

How would you improve the process of teacher engagement in the reform efforts?

It would have been beneficial to develop a communications strategy with teachers not directly involved in the state’s development teams. It would have been great to have more a sophisticated feedback loop and the ability to collect data from other teachers. For example, the Department of Education could have conducted a survey to gather teacher opinions and get results to determine if there was true alignment between development teams and other classroom teachers. They then could have done PR and outreach saying, “go to the state website and answer this questionnaire.” Not everyone can sit in a group but everyone can still have a voice.

You can find ways to measure student learning without using standardized tests and people should be open to measuring true student learning in a more significant way. Rather than having states work in seclusion and isolation, we should foster collaboration. Good ideas have emerged and we should highlight them. We should praise innovative solutions not hamper creativity.
 

What other advice would you give other districts/states as they consider teacher evaluation reform efforts?

I would recommend rethinking student achievement in non-tested grades and subjects. You can find ways to measure student learning without using standardized tests and people should be open to measuring true student learning in a more significant way. Rather than having states work in seclusion and isolation, we should foster collaboration. Good ideas have emerged and we should highlight them. We should praise innovative solutions not hamper creativity.

What can administrators and policymakers do to help teachers feel more optimistic about the new evaluation system?

It would be great if there was better morale but there is too much at stake to wait for general good feeling right now. It will take time but I think the results will ease their apprehension.

The Federal Government and Teacher Evaluation

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