Wednesday, January 16, 2013

School Professional Climate Trumps Individual Teacher Characteristics

A report from the new director of the Consortium for Chicago Schools Research says that the collaborative climate in a school is more important than the individual characteristics of teachers. What makes this report so interesting is that DCPS reforms since 2007 are premised on the opposite assumption -- rewarding individual teachers and principals when their students score better than the norm, and firing them when scores fall short. If the researchers behind this report are correct, the whole theory of reform in DCPs may be backwards, and the effect on staff morale and collaboration could be making the quality of education worse.


Unknown said...

To Mark Simon:

I read a guest column of yours in the Washington Post in which you talked about a first-rate teacher who had been "excessed" by the D.C. public schools. What precisely do you mean by "excessed"? I would appreciate it if you could dejargonize this term for me.

Jack Z. Smith
Fort Worth, Texas

Real Ed Reform DC said...

In response to Jack Smith, "excessed" is also sometimes called "surplussed." (more jargon) It means that the teacher is involuntarily transferred from his or her school at the end of the year, usually due to declining enrollment at that school, and they then have to find a job in another school. Policies vary from one district to the next as to what happens if the teacher is unable to find a school that wants them. In DC the teacher can be fired after a year of being in an excess assignment, and excessing is used to get rid of perfectly good teachers who might be out of favor with a principal. In Montgomery County the system has an obligation to place the teacher unless a system-wide "reduction in force" is declared. So the obligation to the individual teacher who has presumably received good evaluations varies from district to district.

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