Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Amazing, Effective Teacher for EVERY student!

Today, the children of LAUSD will be front and center of one of the most important reform discussions that our Board of Education has had in terms of teaching: how to ensure an amazing and effective teacher for every student.

On Tuesday, April 27, 2010, the Board of Education will be presented with recommendations from the Teacher Effectiveness Taskforce, a taskforce I called for last year to look at issues of evaluation, seniority, tenure, and pay — not only for teachers, but for principals and administrators, too.

At my inauguration almost three years ago, when I was sworn in as a school board member, I spoke of my commitment to explore these issues and foster a meaningful discussion on them. Clearly, they are controversial issues, but our children deserve no less than to at least have the conversation. At that moment, I had no idea that we would be faced with historic budget cuts and decisions to lay off thousands of teachers. I had no idea that the issue of seniority would be so prominent during my time. But it happened, and it made the discussion on the issues of evaluation and seniority more relevant and urgent than ever. Indeed, we were making decisions to lay off teachers without any regard to how amazing they are in their profession.

Every day, our children go to school and their parents expect that they will learn and progress. But we have little in place to guarantee this. And, data and research highlight that the difference between an effective teacher and an ineffective teacher can be as much as one year of learning growth for a typical student (Goldhaber et al, 2009). As the Teacher Effectiveness report asserts, multiply that differential impact over even a few years and it becomes clear why effective teaching matters.

I know that my amazing LAUSD teachers – Ms. Penny King, Ms. Bonnie Williams, Ms. Susie Hakansson, Ms. Linda Loya, Ms. Bernice Smith – all made a huge difference for me. Well, I want a Ms. King, Ms. Williams, Ms. Hakansson, Ms. Loya, and Ms. Smith for every single student. Nothing less should be acceptable.

Today’s report takes us one step further to reaching the goal of every student having an effective and amazing teacher. The recommendations are thoughtful and meaningful. Now it is be up to the Board and the Superintendent to move this agenda forward with urgency and resolve.

For a copy of the report, go to http://etf.lausd.net/