Teachers matter — now what?

Teachers Matter. Now What?, writes Dana Goldstein in The Nation, citing the Chetty study on the long-term effects of high value-added teachers.

Given the widespread, non-ideological worries about the reliability of standardized test scores when they are used in high-stakes ways, it makes good sense for reform-minded teachers’ unions to embrace value-added as one measure of teacher effectiveness, while simultaneously pushing for teachers’ rights to a fair-minded appeals process.

What’s more, just because we know that teachers with high value-added ratings are better for children, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we should pay such teachers more for good evaluation scores alone. Why not use value-added to help identify the most effective teachers, but then require these professionals to mentor their peers in order to earn higher pay?

That’s the sort of teacher “career ladder” that has been so successful in high-performing nations like South Korea and Finland, and that would guarantee that excellent teachers aren’t just reaching twenty-five students per year but are truly sharing their expertise in a way that transforms entire schools and districts.

Reformers have been advocating teacher career ladders for a long time. Why aren’t they used more widely?

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  1. tim-10-ber says:

    I wonder how many of the teachers with the high value added scores set aside the standards and teach to a higher level, then review before the state tests? By teaching to a higher level than the minimum standards, the teachers have raised the bar for all students which helps bring up those that are trailing and allow to advance those that can…to me this is a great teacher…

    If the teachers with consistently, year end and year out value added scores…what would we learn?

  2. Thomas Miller-Smith says:

    My experience with being one of the top teachers producing the
    largest percentages of his students passing the state biology test is that I get a kudo certificate at a faculty meeting…and nothing else.

    The fact that my scores are part of my principal’s evaluation that propels her to promotions (more $$$) and I am asked to lead team meetings of the other bio teachers and write reports to the principal (forget the report and I get a reprimand) really is a great payoff for great performance.

    Now maybe give me more money for more work? Keep your money and keep the extra work for nothing too. If the better performance by itself is not worth a dime then I’ll shoot for mediocre.

    Pay me more for doing the same job better. Don’t insult me with more work

  3. Lightly Seasoned says:

    Higher pay for mentoring amounts to a $100 stipend for the year in my district.

  4. Peer mentoring sounds like a good idea. Even if a teacher is an expert, every teacher probably has some flaws that can be addressed.

    I’m not sure how the pay rate should be addressed, but a $100 stipend as “Lightly Seasoned” suggested doesn’t seem all that appealing. If a stipend is given, it should be either based on hours spent peer mentoring or at the very least, on the number of days spent.