School groups craft seven-part plan for improving teaching

The event’s host organizations are set to sign a “Shared Vision” statement that identifies seven elements necessary to improve the teaching profession:

  1. A culture of shared responsibility and leadership. The idea is to have more shared decision-making among teachers and administrators.
  2. Top talent, prepared for success. Schools should recruit new teachers from among a high-performing and diverse talent pool.
  3. Continuous growth and professional development. Teachers should be given ample opportunities and support for career-long learning.
  4. Effective teachers and principals. With teacher and principal input, school districts should develop robust, well-rounded evaluation plans that measure teachers and principals based on student academic growth, as well as other contributions.
  5. A professional career continuum with competitive compensation. In other words, teacher career paths should include competitive pay and opportunities for advancement.
  6. Conditions for successful teaching and learning. School leaders should create the right environment for teachers to succeed and for helping high-need students.
  7. Engaged communities. School leaders should foster more engagement between schools and their communities.

Under the goals outlined, teachers would receive rigorous training both before they enter the workforce and throughout their careers, and they would collaborate with administrators on major issues such as career advancement, dismissal, and selection. Evaluation systems would be updated to include feedback from both colleagues and supervisors and to measure teacher effectiveness based on a combination of classroom results and school contributions.

In breakout sessions on the second day of the conference, featured state and district presenters will share how their schools already have put some of these principles for improving the teaching profession into action. The workshops are split to offer school leaders a variety of perspectives: In one session, districts and state teams will discuss what they need from each other, while in another session, foundations and other non-governmental national groups explain what they can do to support districts’ efforts.

At the opening plenary session during the first day of the conference, speakers emphasized the need not only to have dialogues, but also to translate words into action.

The worst possible outcome is for everyone to walk away and say we had a nice conversation, said Duncan.

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