The California Federation of Teachers was a proud participant in developing the recommendations of the Educator Excellence Task Force, and we applaud the results of this lengthy process. Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Task Force co-chairs Linda Darling-Hammond and Christopher J. Steinhauser have overseen the creation of an extraordinarily useful document for improving public education in California.
The recommendations hold the promise of providing a roadmap for school reforms based on best practices and classroom research. Especially in the areas of teacher training, induction and evaluation, there is a framework now in place for a coherent system of rigorous evaluation and robust support for teachers that will result in continuous improvement in practice for educators, and improved learning opportunities for students.
The CFT is impressed with an evaluation approach that insists on standards-based, multiple measurements of teacher performance, and incorporates valid and reliable performance assessments into licensure and accreditation for both teachers and administrators. The document insists on an integrated approach to teacher support, including pre-service and ongoing professional development. The “Greatness by Design” document makes clear that the objective of evaluation is to improve instructional practices and student learning, not simply identify teachers who need to be counseled out of the classroom.
It is also important to note that the report acknowledges that after years of cuts to school funding, adequate resources and funding must be found to implement the recommendations.
The inclusion of major stakeholders means everyone involved in serious improvement of public education should be able to rally around the roadmap provided by the recommendations.
See California Department of Education statement on "Greatness by Design"