State laws should provide a definition of ineffective classroom performance that references: 1) ineffective instructional practice as observed through formal and informal evaluations, 2) a failure to promote student achievement (through multiple measures), and 3) a lack of improvement after the remediation period. Defining ineffective classroom performance will provide greater guidance to all participants in the dismissal process and reduce the amount of time spent deliberating whether a teacher’s performance meets the law’s definition.
Evaluations are the key factor in assessing teacher effectiveness and state laws should require at least annual evaluations for every teacher. State evaluation laws should also explicitly link to dismissal as a potential result of consecutive negative evaluations.
Policymakers should also articulate a specific process for remediation in state law and regulations and allow evaluations to take place on a shorter schedule for those teachers in the remediation phase. For example, under Delaware’s revised evaluation system, an improvement plan for a teacher must contain:
- Identification of the specific deficiencies and recommended area(s) for growth
- Measurable goals for improving the deficiencies to satisfactory levels
- Specific professional development or activities to accomplish the goals
- Specific resources necessary to implement the plan, including but not limited to, opportunities for the teacher to work with curriculum specialist(s), subject area specialist(s), instructional specialist(s), or others with relevant expertise
- Procedures and evidence that must be collected to determine that the goals of the plan were met
- Timeline for the plan, including intermediate check points to determine progress
- Procedures for determining satisfactory improvement
- Multiple observations and opportunity for feedback provided by a trained evaluator, a mentor, a lead teacher, or an instructional coach Implementing specific requirements for remediation plans will eliminate ambiguity within hearing process regarding the level of assistance offered to poor-performing teachers
Implementing specific requirements for remediation plans will eliminate ambiguity
within hearing process regarding the level of assistance offered to poor-performing
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