Posts Tagged ‘New Teacher Project’

Teachers Are Not Interchangeable Parts: The Widget Effect

February 23, 2010

The Widget Effect, a new report on systemic barriers to identifying and supporting effective teachers from the New Teacher Project (2009), asks:

“If teachers are so important, why do we treat them like widgets? Effective teachers are the key to student success. Yet our school systems treat all teachers as interchangeable parts, not professionals. Excellence goes unrecognized and poor performance goes unaddressed. This indifference to performance disrespects teachers and gambles with students’ lives.” (p.1, Executive Summary.)  Download (pdf) Executive Summary.

This report is generating buzz and capturing the attention of the policy set like National Staff Development Council (NSDC) Executive Director Stephanie Hirsh and NSDC Federal Policy Advisor Rene Islas as they work with policymakers to change the definition of professional development in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, as reported in EdWeek WebWatch.

In addition, the report adds momentum to the drive to develop a richer context to school reform conversations focused narrowly on dismissing ineffective teachers. As one National Journal Online education blog discusses:

“Those who see the firing of the least effective teachers and the rewarding of the most effective as the primary goal of value-added driven evaluation are missing the bigger picture. They ignore the vast majority of good-to-very good teachers who can achieve even greater success if given access to high-quality induction and professional development, supported by data and evidence of student learning.” (National Journal Online, October 19, 2009)

Download (pdf) the full report and recommendations from the New Teacher Project.


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