How teachers could better evaluate principals

Since Utah’s new education law gives new prominence to evaluating principals, I thought readers might be interested in a report published last month by a new organization, Educators 4 Excellence. Founded by a couple of New York City teachers, the organization is attempting to promote education reform AND ensure that teachers have a stronger voice in how those reforms are chosen and implemented. Makes sense to me.

The full report is well worth reading, but here’s an excerpt that especially intrigued me:

In a study of 5,000 New York City teachers who left
the profession, more than 40 percent of teachers
listed dissatisfaction with administration as the most
important factor in leaving the school. The majority
of survey respondents who had found a job in another
profession responded that their current manager
gave them more support and recognition than they
received while teaching.

Principals have a responsibility
to recruit promising, strong teachers, to support
and help them improve after they have been hired,
and ultimately, keep great teachers in the classroom.
According to an E4E survey of NYC teachers, 84 percent
of respondents believe that data about whether
effective teachers stay or leave a school is “important”
or “essential” in a principal’s evaluation.

To include effective teacher retention data, however,
two systems must be in place: 1) a meaningful
teacher evaluation system and 2) a system to collect
and track retention data. The Department of Education
already has the tools to collect retention data
from each school. Meaningful teacher evaluations
are hopefully on their way in New York – at the time
of publication, Governor Cuomo had recently helped
the unions’ and Departments of Education at the
district and state level resolve sticking points in negotiations on issues such as an appeals process for
teachers rated “ineffective” and the role of student
achievement data in evaluations. Once a comprehensive,
multi-measure teacher evaluation system is in
place that allows identification of effective teachers,
we need to ensure that principals are doing their part
to keep those teachers teaching.

The report talks about how to design reliable, neutral surveys that capture teacher assessment of principals. But what I especially like is the willingness to link teacher and principal evaluation. It seems to me, to quote the old song, is we “can’t have one without the other.”

Here’s the link:

http://educators4excellence.s3.amazonaws.com/8/13/1/349/E4E_Principals_Matter.pdf

2 comments

  1. Yak_Herder

    Most people in industry take a job because of the reputation of the company and leave because of the boss. Why would a job in education be any different?

  2. bu52

    I’ve met a few very dedicated principals in my many years in education, but most of the ones I know got into administration because they either didn’t like teaching or because there was more money at the end of that rainbow. What other occupation rewards the disgruntled? Ask any number of teachers in the profession why they join the union and most will answer that it is to find some protection from a vendictive principal. I highly anticipate the implementation of this new law, perhaps it will shed some light on the management styles employed by this crowd of middle managers.

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