Millions of teachers work every day in one of the hardest jobs in our society, a profession too often regarded with far less respect than it merits.
By improving structures to develop, recognize, and reward successes and additional leadership responsibilities, we will raise the prestige of the profession and directly impact the education for all students.
We advocate for compensation structures that encourage, recognize, and inspire best practices like collaboration, the use of data in the classroom, and continuous professional growth among teachers. We also recommend creating incentives for serving in hard-to-staff positions and schools, for significantly impacting student growth and for excelling in leadership roles. Just as we should compensate teachers based on more than the number of years of service, we should be able to evaluate teacher performance and impact fairly and transparently. We should evaluate and support teachers through a multi-measure system that includes student progress and encourages ongoing growth and development. The ideal evaluation system recognizes the importance of assessing teacher planning, instruction, and reflection; recognizes how our teaching and classroom management influence student performance; provides a common language for what effective teaching looks like; and creates opportunities for teachers to receive differentiated feedback that can form the foundation for professional goal setting and support.
Although most teachers receive professional development today, too often they are not consulted on the content, methods, or delivery of that professional development, leading to neither teachers’ nor students’ needs being met. Better aligning professional development with our evaluation systems is key to helping us grow as teachers so we can, in turn, better support our students’ learning.
Teaching is a craft that is continuously improved through reflection, coaching, and professional development. Teachers who have proven their effectiveness should be recognized not just through increased compensation, but also through additional responsibilities and tenure. We advocate for strengthening our profession and our practice by reaffirming tenure as a significant professional milestone that recognizes our skills and contributions in addition to seniority.