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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