Betheny Gross and Michael DeArmond
Over the last decade, researchers and policymakers have highlighted a host of policies and practices that undermine district efforts to build a great teaching corps, practices like making job offers late in the summer, assigning teachers to schools based on seniority, spreading responsibility for important talent management activities across unconnected central office units, and using superficial hiring and evaluation methods. The field rarely considers what schools and districts do right when it comes to managing teacher talent. In this paper, DeArmond and Gross describe how two successful district schools and two successful charter management organizations (CMOs) develop and manage teacher talent and what it implies for policy and practice. All of the profiled organizations approach human resources (HR) with a systemic vision and purpose, using their HR systems to send clear signals about what they expect of teachers and to provide teachers with supports and incentives to meet those expectations. These schools and CMOs have purposeful human resources systems, but, importantly, they serve different purposes. The authors' example suggests that one approach to identifying, evaluating, and placing talent is unlikely to work for all schools and questions some of the underlying assumptions behind today's top-down HR reforms that focus on system-wide alignment around models of teaching and evaluation.
Dennis Beck and Robert Maranto
Cyber charter schooling has the potential to reinvent public education personnel systems. Beck and Maranto employ interviews of Pennsylvania cyber charter CEOs, a national survey of cyber charter CEOs, and a survey of Pennsylvania cyber charter teachers to explore whether and how cyber charters have reimagined teacher personnel-management practices. Several themes emerged. First, even when not asked directly, cyber leaders express enthusiasm about leading in a nonunion environment. Second, these school leaders emphasized a strong mission and customer service focus. Third, while hiring practices are not innovative, mentoring is far more innovative and resource intensive, reflecting the unique requirements of cyber teaching. Fourth, these leaders expended significant resources in both monitoring teachers and in holding them accountable. Perhaps because of this frequent interaction, teachers report good relationships with their leaders, and Beck and Maranto discuss the implications.
Bryan Hassel, Emily Ayscue Hassel, Sharon Kebschull Barrett
Current efforts to recruit, retain, and dismiss teachers aim to provide more students with highly effective teaching in classrooms. But as long as schools look the same as they did a century ago – one teacher, one classroom – and stay behind the technological trends that continue to develop outside school walls, we can only go so far toward reaching every student with an excellent teacher. This paper explores ideas for taking this goal to the next level by leveraging technology and time and by redesigning the roles of adults in schools. Hassel explores new next generation models of school design around the country that have the potential to overcome these barriers and change teaching by opening opportunities for teachers that might help America overcome its scarcity of excellent teachers. The chapter will also explore tensions American schools have encountered when complying with state and federal human capital-related regulation. Hassel's paper will close by discussing the relevant policy changes needed to enable all schools to pursue these and other innovative designs.
International comparisons are prevalent in the education reform debate, but this work often concentrates on celebrating culture-building in countries such as Finland and Singapore and encourages the replication in America of overseas models. This paper takes a distinctly different approach to investigating talent management practices internationally by examining practices in a wider range of countries such as China, The Netherlands, and Norway, among others, with a focus on how they are seeding, implementing, and evaluating their interventions. These case studies will seek to broaden our thinking about how innovation within America's recruiting, training, hiring, evaluating, and teacher compensation systems can be encouraged.
Teacher education is the focus of a wave of disruptive innovation. New and reimagined schools of education and independent teacher preparation programs have entered the field, advancing their visions of what it takes to become an effective teacher. Among the new generation of teacher educators are school leaders who have been frustrated by the inadequate skills of teacher candidates graduating from incumbent institutions. Together, these providers have helped spark a revival of attention to the fundamental elements of effective teaching and have invigorated a discussion about how to elevate the rigor and quality of teacher preparation. Gastic's paper describes the distinctive characteristics of this emerging community of teacher educators and discusses the implications for institutions that are unable – or unwilling – to adapt to this changing landscape.
Jal Mehta and Steven Teles
Educational professionalization has long been a powerful, if highly contested, idea. Proponents argue that professionalization — developing a knowledge base, a training system, and a licensing process akin to law or medicine — would improve practice and increase the status, respect, and autonomy of the field. Skeptics argue that monopoly control in education limits diversity, restricts innovation, and forces a unity of values in a field that is deeply pluralistic. In this paper, Mehta and Teles seek to marry the virtues of professionalization with the ideas of its critics — what we call "plural professionalization" or professionalization without monopoly control. The paper points to examples of other plural professions like architecture, the arts, the academic disciplines, and psychology; sketches why education is a good candidate for plural professionalization; explains how it would work in practice; and considers implications for policy. In particular, Mehta and Teles suggest that organizing the field around multiple vertically organized networks — responsible for training teachers, developing knowledge, and running schools — would be more likely to develop the kind of quality practice reformers seek than would America's current system.
The roles teachers play and are expected to play in K–12 public education are evolving because of factors such as innovations in technology, enhancements in our collective knowledge, and pursuant shifts in policy. Reforms as varied as online instruction, flipped classrooms, multiple-measure teacher evaluations, and changed tenure processes are being discussed at every level of government. In many cases, policies have been instituted that encourage or require the implementation of these new reforms. However, little attention has been paid to teachers' collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), which in more than 30 states dictate the work lives of teachers and contain within them the policies that can either enable or hinder the implementation of reforms. This paper explores how CBAs in California contain provisions that either restrict or allow for the implementation of two of the most pressing and influential reforms currently under discussion: new school structures enabled by technology and teacher-level accountability policies. Using a sample of over 500 CBAs collected from California school districts, Strunk shows that many contract provisions that shape class sizes, school schedules, transfers and assignments, evaluations, and compensation impede educators' abilities to implement next-generation school structures and new multiple-measure teacher evaluation systems. She then highlights where current contracts include flexibilities that can help provide administrators and teachers with the leeway to experiment with new reforms. Finally, Strunk concludeswith a discussion of how CBAs need to change to enable innovation and experimentation in public K–12 education in the hopes of improving student achievement.
Matthew Di Carlo
Over the past few years, the use of test-based productivity measures, commonly called value-added, in teacher evaluations has become the norm in US public schools. This paper will examine some of the design and implementation challenges that districts and schools face in transitioning value-added from a complex research method to a component in high-stakes teacher accountability systems. These issues include calibrating the role of value-added in the design process, getting the "under the hood" details correct, extending these measures to additional grades and subjects, and adapting value-added measures for alternative learning contexts such as online and hybrid schools. The success of these efforts will require policymakers to balance the need to measure performance using necessarily imperfect measures with the equally important goals of incentivizing desirable behavior and maintaining the credibility of the systems as a whole.
Today's traditional model in which a teacher stands in front of a 30-student class to deliver a lecture may look quite different in the future in response to new school models and new technologies. If so, research on teacher quality will have to change. This paper imagines what a teacher-quality research agenda might look like over the next decade. Specifically, Goldhaber details some of the research necessary to better understand the implications of the current wave of teacher evaluation and workforce reforms as well as what we will need to know about teacher quality under the hypothesis of a radically redesigned workforce structure in which teachers reach students in different ways (for example, online) and through more complex team structures. In short, this paper lays out a vision for the big questions that need to be asked over the next decade and how to start to tackling them.
Past papers in the Teacher Quality 2.0 Series
Arnold F. Shober, Lawrence University
In the first of four "Teacher Quality 2.0" papers, Arnold Schober of Lawrence University puts the series in context, explaining how the definition of teacher quality has changed over time. In the past, teachers were deemed qualified if they had the proper certification before entering the classroom. Today, a teacher's quality is assessed by their performance in the classroom.
Sara Mead, Andrew Rotherham and Rachael Brown, Bellwether Education Partners
In this second installment of the series, Sara Mead, Andrew Rotherham and Rachael Brown of Bellwether Education Partners draw out the key tensions and trade-offs associated with our sprint to legislate and build educator evaluation systems. While we can take pride in the progress we have made, the authors call for some humility in thinking about the practical limits of such statutes and processes, and remind us that such rigid structures might unintentionally stifle future innovation.
If we are serious about significantly improving academic outcomes for children in America, teaching must be reconceptualized to focus on student learning, and schools must offer teachers opportunities to teach, lead, and innovate throughout their careers. Pragmatic steps at each stage of the pipeline, leveraging existing resources, can help us get there.
This paper considers how teacher evaluations may likely evolve in the near future, which will have implications for state and district policy adoption.