Much of the current policy discussion in education revolves around the relationship between teacher quality and student achievement: questions such as how to identify effective teachers, how to retain and develop these teachers, and how to ensure that effective teachers teach in the schools where they are most needed. The voices of teachers themselves, however, are often notably absent from the discussion.
We believe that the expertise and experiences of effective teachers are critical if we hope to understand both what motivates such teachers to stay in the classroom and what causes them to leave.
We present this policy proposal as classroom teachers. Some of us teach in charter schools, some of us in traditional public schools, but all currently teach in urban classrooms. All of us are committed to closing the achievement gap and to addressing the equity issues present in education in general, and in urban education in particular.
In addition to our own personal experience as classroom teachers, we have spent the last year and a half participating in a rigorous policy fellowship designed to train successful teachers in high-need, urban schools to participate meaningfully in the field of education policy.
This is a proposal designed to give policymakers a window into our aspirations for our profession and to communicate unequivocally that it is possible to retain us and ensure that we are working with high-need students.
Following a brief overview of the proposal, the present:
- An analysis of the research on teacher quality and school turnaround;
- Case examples from our own teaching experiences;
- Our theory of change;
- The key features of our proposed staffing model.
This document delineates the principles that we believe should be involved in staffing low-performing schools. We are eager to work with policymakers, to fill in the further details that would be required for implementation of our model in schools and districts.