'New Teacher Project' Report Offers Ideas for Improving Teaching
A study looking at how Cincinnati Public Schools hires, evaluates and places its teachers recommends five goals aimed at strengthening teacher effectiveness and support, and raising student achievement.
The study was conducted over seven months in 2008-09 by The New Teacher Project (TNTP), a national nonprofit group aimed at putting more excellent teachers into classrooms nationwide. Researchers with TNTP surveyed more than 2,100 CPS teachers and administrators, and studied CPS' union contract, hiring practices and the Teacher Evaluation System to reach their conclusions.
"The New Teacher Project survey and recommendations are an outgrowth of the opinions of the teachers and school administrators who are on the front lines of teaching and learning in CPS every day. "
Mary Ronan, Superintendent
The TNTP study, which sought to identify CPS practices that teachers and school administrators regard as barriers to improving student and school performance, was funded by several groups including the Cincinnati Business Committee, Strive, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. CPS' administration requested that the study be conducted.
Superintendent Mary Ronan noted that research confirms that effective teachers are the single greatest factor to impact a rise in student achievement, and CPS and the CFT share "a common goal of dramatically improving academic achievement."
CFT President Julie Sellers said the TNTP report offered ideas that CPS and CFT could use as guidelines during contract negotiations.
"We have a very strong teacher workforce," Sellers said.
A summary of the five goals recommended by TNTP (full report at bottom of page):
- Strengthen teacher effectiveness by revamping CPS' Teacher Evaluation System.
- Work to retain the most-effective teachers by implementing a performance-based compensation program and creating opportunities for them to share knowledge and skills.
- Swiftly turn around chronically low-performing schools by adopting strategies to bring more highly effective teachers to these schools.
- Help persistently less-effective teachers to improve, or, if they don't improve, use a streamlined dismissal process to remove them.
- Optimize the supply of new teachers by hiring early and from programs with proven records of producing effective teachers.
Dan Weisberg, vice president of policy for TNTP, said his researches find that similar changes are needed at all of the large urban school districts they have studied.
"We are providing a road map of where to go from here," Weisberg said. "Effective teachers are the solution. Teachers matter more than anything else at the school level."