Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Exciting Day

An exciting effort was launched today. The Alliance, in conjunction with 13 other community organizations and several community leaders, issued a joint statement advocating for specific changes to the Seattle Public Schools teacher contract, scheduled to be renegotiated beginning next week. This group, “Our Schools Coalition,” commissioned a citywide poll of Seattle taxpayers, public school parents and teachers. The survey demonstrated overwhelming support for the proposed changes.

Teacher quality is the single biggest point of leverage in the system. A great teacher is the single largest predictor of student success. A strong, vibrant teacher corps, where great teachers are acknowledged, rewarded and supported, will have a demonstrable, positive impact on student achievement.

Guided by a set of core principles that put student success and teacher support at the fore, Our Schools Coalition is advocating for increased teacher preparation and peer collaboration time as well as expanded mentoring and coaching programs. The group also proposes moving to a 4-tier teacher evaluation system, factoring student academic growth into teacher evaluations, and factoring performance into staffing decisions, including placement, transfers and layoffs. Finally, the coalition advocates opening up new career paths and compensation opportunities for teachers that go beyond seniority and credentialing, as well as opening up the teaching field to organizations such as Teach for America.

To view the statement, see the polling data, and sign on, go to www.ourschoolscoalition.org.

Sara Morris, President &CEO, AFE

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