teacherCurrently, teach­ers are com­pen­sat­ed not accord­ing to how well they edu­cate their stu­dents, but where they fall on a pre­de­ter­mined pay scale which rewards senior­i­ty.   Thanks to the edu­ca­tion reform agen­da of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, pay­ing teach­ers for per­for­mance is a con­cept that is gain­ing ground.  For states wish­ing to earn mil­lions of fed­er­al dol­lars to turn around fail­ing schools, they must begin to dis­tin­guish between effec­tive and inef­fec­tive teachers—and con­sid­er that infor­ma­tion when decid­ing whether to grant tenure, give rais­es, or fire a teacher or prin­ci­pal.  Other states fight­ing for the same fed­er­al fund­ing have adopt­ed pay for per­for­mance mea­sures for their teach­ers.  Even the nation­al AFT Union Chief, Randi Weingarten, acknowl­edges that the exist­ing sys­tem for eval­u­at­ing teach­ers has nev­er been ade­quate.  In a recent announce­ment she called for sweep­ing changes in how school dis­tricts eval­u­ate teach­ers and work with teach­ers’ unions.  Joe Robertson with the Kansas City Star notes that Missouri has pledged to devel­op a teacher eval­u­a­tion process as part of its bid for the Race To The Top Funds.  What impact might this have on the KCMSD?  If suc­cess­ful in its pilot pro­gram of devel­op­ing uni­ver­sal teach­ing stan­dards, the District could begin to imple­ment pro­grams to reward its high­ly effec­tive teach­ers and work to retain them.  We must con­tin­ue to ask Andrea Flinders of the local AFT how she is col­lab­o­rat­ing with the District to ensure that we rec­og­nize and reward our best teach­ers while mak­ing it eas­i­er and faster to remove poor­ly per­form­ing teach­ers.

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