Husker Do

Maddie Fennell, a Nebraska teacher and chair of the NEA’s Commission on Effective Teaching, is guest-blogging at EdWeek.  Great series — zippy, thoughtful.  Lots of love in the comments section (in contrast to my contributions here; fear not, Andy returns Monday).

Fennell describes a transformative teacher career ladder that culminates with “Accomplished or Master Teacher.”  In addition to higher pay, these folks may “be adjunct faculty at a university, mentor novice teachers, share management responsibility at the building-level, or lead district-level  committees. They are assigned the students most in need of their advanced skills.”

Something quite similar to her proposed ladder is being piloted in charter networks like Achievement First.  Additionally, the teacher prep program in Boston where I work hires precisely Accomplished or Master Teachers as adjunct faculty.

I mention that to illustrate that charter schools sometimes develop ideas that could work in more traditional systems, both K-12 and Schools of Education, even if other aspects are unappealing to traditionalists, or not easily replicable.

(Of course, I hope my mentioning that isn’t a Scarlet Letter to Fennell’s NEA colleagues.  We’re in an age where a Heritage Foundation health care idea that Romney piloted was later judged to be “guilty by association” and “socialist” because You-Know-Who championed it.)

-Guestblogger Mike Goldstein

2 Replies to “Husker Do”

  1. All this sounds good, but I wish all commentators on this topic would write far more explicitly about how the teacher’s contribution to enhanced student learning will be measured objectively.

    I get that it will not be “by test scores alone.” And I know well the formulas in laws being passed about the general criteria. But more specificity is in order to assure that the new and improved system of evaluation isn’t masking the same old subjectivity, process, and input factors.

    Reading the status and prerogatives asssociated with the “new” career ladder makes this old-timer suspicious that this may just be a better-sounding version of its many predecessors.

    The task ought mainly to be: how do we evaluate on the basis of effectiveness in teaching to improved student learning and how do we have appropriate responses to that evaluation.

    What’s needed desperately are the fine details on how to do that intelligently, thoroughly, fairly, and systematically. Let’s see the details!

  2. Sandy, you should check out the details of Achievement First’s work here. It’s exactly what you what — highly specific, focused on output. It’s not mine to share with you, but I’m sure they’d be open to your inquiry.

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