Teachers want to be held accountablePublished 9:09pm Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Former President George W. Bush’s federally sponsored No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top plan place great accountability with school teachers and principals.
One of President Obama’s school intervention models replaces the principal and rehires no more than 50 percent of the staff at a low-performing school.
Society expects teachers to meet high standards. In response to these demands, many teachers have voiced their concerns.
They want to be held accountable, and become valuable participants in the education decision-making process. One new and rising trend in public education today is innovative teacher-led schools.
The schools operate without principals and assistant principals. Teachers make decisions about school discipline, the curriculum, and the budget.
They perform evaluations of each other. They key is shared decision-making, since studies of effective schools highlight collaboration.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the idea isn’t new. In the 1970s schools in New York City started such reforms and currently in Minnesota, Denver and Boston teachers jointly govern schools. In Minneapolis recently, teachers got permission to start a French-immersion school.
More districts are willing to experiment with a teacher-led school because, “We’re entering a period where people are trying to introduce variation into the system,” says Charles Kerchner, an education professor at Claremont Graduate University in California.
The teacher-led school minimizes teachers’ complaints about policies, because they have to find solutions. The school has its challenges as with the traditional principal-led school. Most classroom teachers have not received any administrative training. The model has to win parents’ confidence.
It is still too early to determine if the teacher-led school increases student achievement. Data supporting success continues to be mixed. According to The Free Library Report, success in the Milwaukee and Minnesota schools has been varied.
Some of the schools are showing better literacy and math achievement rates, while others continue to lag behind the state averages. The schools are still too new to assess graduation rates, so data regarding the effectiveness of these type schools is still in the works.
Parents should conduct a comprehensive review before they enroll their children in a teacher-led school.