Could tackling California’s teacher shortage also increase the state’s teacher diversity? It’s no secret there are vast race differences between California’s students and teachers. More than half of K-12 students in the state are Latino or Hispanic, but less than one in five teachers share their racial/ethnic background. This is troublesome because teacher diversity matters: Diverse teachers may provide more culturally relevant instruction and could have a greater impact on improving academic outcomes for students of color.
Source: DataQuest, California Department of Education, http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/. Continue reading
This week, Paul Bruno wrote a thought-provoking piece for the Brookings Institution arguing that the waning teacher supply in certain parts of the country could be driving overwhelmingly positive teacher evaluation ratings in most states and districts. “The extent to which a principal is willing to dismiss (or give a poor evaluation to) a teacher will likely depend in part upon her beliefs about the probability of finding a superior replacement in a reasonable period of time,” Bruno writes. While there is some truth to Bruno’s argument, his framing of teacher evaluation—as a system that is built to “dismiss teachers”— furthers a flawed narrative about the purpose and use of teacher evaluation systems.
The purpose of reformed teacher evaluation systems, first and foremost, is to identify teachers’ strengths and weaknesses in order to refine educators’ instruction for improved student learning. Continue reading