AFT president calls for new approach to teacher evaluations and labor relations
In a major speech today, Randi Weingarten, the president of American Federation of Teachers, called for a reform of the way teachers are evaluated and supported during their teaching careers.
The speech comes just as states are about to apply for federal stimulus funds called Race to the Top funds. The competitive $4 billion in federal funding will go to a dozen or so states that demonstrate they have serious collaboration between teachers unions and management and have no rules that prevent test scores from being used as part of a teacher evaluation process. The feds, in other words, have made it clear that a new day is coming when school systems will use a variety of factors to evaluate teachers.
So Weingarten, whose union usually represents urban school teachers, has taken the first step toward making teachers a partner in the national debate over this sensitive issue.
She lays out four steps that school systems should take. Every state should adopt standards spelling out what teachers should know and be able to do, she said. And states should write standards for evaluating teachers that include student test scores on assessments that show growth during the year, classroom observations, portfolios and student work. The entire speech as well as a lot of additional information is available on the AFT Web site or at www.futurestogether.org.