Elevating the Teaching Profession
To get the best from our talented and dedicated teachers, we must be committed to cultivating, nurturing, professionally developing, and rewarding our teachers. You would never hear anyone suggest that a doctor or a lawyer was someone who couldn’t cut it in a “real” job. Yet educators in our society are routinely disrespected, under-appreciated, under-empowered, and underpaid. We need to elevate the profession of teaching.
We must commit to having all effective teachers in the classroom. This means meaningful evaluations and a clear recourse for those whose students habitually and perpetually lack progress.
We must compensate all teachers more. They deserve to be paid like the professionals that they are. When they perform above and beyond their peers, they should be rewarded for that as well.
We need to assist in the professional development and networking of teachers. Learning the newest, most effective techniques, compulsory continuing education, and a healthy, constant dialogue among peers is a staple of every other profession; so it should be with our teachers.
Teachers cannot be viewed as interchangeable parts. We need to identify great teachers, no matter what their background and training, and empower them to succeed. Once we’ve done that, we should be aiming to get the best teachers in front of the neediest kids. In high-poverty, high-minority schools whose teachers have above-average qualifications, students were almost nine times as likely to have college-ready academic skills as their counterparts in other high-poverty, high-minority schools with lower teacher quality, yet our policies don’t emphasize the best and most effective teachers teaching to the neediest children.