INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Indiana teachers and parents from around the state are meeting today with Governor Mitch Daniels and state legislators in support of the Great Teachers, Great Schools legislative concepts. These members of the Indiana affiliate of Stand for Children, a grassroots education advocacy organization that connects parents, teachers and community members to be a voice for kids in the political process, to share their personal reasons for revised education policies.
“In the 2008-2009 school year, my students were recognized as having the most significant growth in reading in the entire school district. That same year the district had to make layoffs and because I was the most recent teacher hired, that meant I was the first teacher fired,” said teacher Pamela Heuer. “Fortunately, I was hired back before the start of the next school year. However, I don’t think a system that allows a teacher who is leading their students to make the most significant growth in a district to be let go is a system that’s working in the best interest of students.”
The Great Teachers, Great Schools legislative concepts will:
- Stop “Last In, First Out” harmful teacher layoff policies. This proposal would allow layoff decisions to take into account factors other than seniority, most importantly teacher performance as measured by the new evaluation system. The current policies normally mean more teachers have to be fired to meet budget requirements because the least senior teachers make the least money, but also that the flip of a coin decides which teacher gets to keep their job when there is a tie in seniority.
- Establish meaningful evaluations for educators. Teachers will be evaluated at least annually, with student achievement and growth encompassing a significant component. Evaluations will also provide meaningful feedback to teachers and remediation plans for teachers who are ineffective or in need of improvement.
- Reward effective teachers. Great Teachers, Great Schools creates a system where experience counts, but so does performance, leadership ability and willingness and ability to teach in high-priority areas. By allowing the most effective teachers to earn great compensation, Indiana will attract and retain talented teachers.
- End forced teacher placement. Hiring needs to be based on mutual consent. Principals need to be able to choose who teaches in their schools. Currently, far too many teachers are forced placed into positions not of their or their principal’s choosing.
- Base hiring and firing decisions on meaningful measures. The difference between having a top-performing teacher versus a low-performing teacher for three years is equivalent to a 50 percentile point difference in student achievement. Using ratings based on the new evaluation system, school districts will be able to make better decisions about who to grant permanent status to and who to transition out of the classroom.
“Research clearly shows that the number one in-school factor impacting student achievement is the quality of the teacher. Yet educators are all too often treated like interchangeable parts rather than the professionals and valuable resource they are,” said Linda Erlinger, executive director of Stand for Children -- Indiana. “Good educators are our greatest resource in public education. As a former teacher myself, I can say a coin flip or another seniority tie-breaking tactic shouldn’t determine whether a great teacher gets to keep his or her job.”
For more information and to lend your support to the Great Teachers, Great Schools legislative concepts, visit www.greatteachersgreatschools.org.
About Stand for Children
Co-founded by Jonah Edelman, the son of civil-rights leader Marian Wright Edelman, Stand for Children is a grassroots advocacy group committed to public education and closing the achievement gap. For more information, visit www.greatteachersgreatschools.org.