Think About It: Teacher Quality Assessment - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

January 30, 2012

Think About It: Teacher Quality Assessment

As the state and the teachers association go back to the drawing board to resolve contract issues, the DOE is left in the unenviable position of dancing around the concept of making progress in order to assuage federal reviewers and keep our $75-million in race To The Top money. While one obvious goal is to reduce Hawaii's position as the only grant recipient with a high-risk status related to its funds, the latest rejection of the state's contract offer to HSTA members will not go over well in Washington, D.C., as the clock is ticking.

And while the stalled labor deal was specifically acknowledged as a problem by the federal review committee, there were also stated concerns about staffing issues and time management that must be dealt with. The DOE says it has made progress in the past six months in some areas. Having no labor agreement after almost a year of talks, including a "last, best, and final offer" from the state, makes us look like we just can't work things out at the adult level, let alone address student needs.

And Hawaii just got a D- on improving teacher preparation and quality, the same basic score it got in 2009, from the National Council on Teacher Quality. For every area of local policy strength indicated in the report, there were six policy weaknesses identified. The report dings the system due to Hawaii's inability to expand the pool of teachers, prepare teachers, identify and retain effective teachers, and remove ineffective teachers on the whole. Bottom line, more has to be done quickly, and age-old assumptions, practices, and systems have to be revamped. Much more is at stake here than just $75-million of federal grant money. Think about it…

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