The Professional Knowledge Base

What Will School Leaders Be Responsible for Knowing?

Studies have shown leaders in today’s schools must be familiar with best practices in a variety of areas. The WGEE advocates that through the training and professional development process, administrators and other school leaders understand:

• Instructional leadership, including state curriculum frameworks, student performance standards, and strategies for assuring inclusive schooling for children with disabilities

• Strategic leadership, including comprehensive school reform, managing change, student performance data analysis, and long and short term planning

• Teacher or principal evaluation skills and methods, including observation, performance analysis and documentation

• Professional community building, including teacher instructional leadership

• Communication skills

• Promotion of equity and diversity

• Parent and community relationships

What Should Teachers Be Responsible for Knowing? 

Studies have shown that in addition to knowing their subject matter, teachers in today’s classrooms must have expertise in a variety of areas. The Working Group advocates that teachers’ work with students will be informed by their knowledge of:

• Students and their diverse learning needs

• Child development and cognitive science

• Student motivation

• Content-specific pedagogy and state/national curriculum frameworks

• Planning, instructional design, and assessment

• Data analysis

• Managing the learning environment

• Ongoing professional growth

• Collaborating with colleagues, families, and the community

 

What Difference Will Comprehensive Reform Make? 

The current personnel process for teachers and school leaders is an uncoordinated patchwork. Creating a comprehensive human resources process that brings coherence to the system will create a high-quality workforce of educators and ensure accountability around performance. The result will be better retention of educators, which will create dramatic savings in teacher turnover costs, higher levels of teacher and administrator expertise, and more continuity of instruction for students. Better teaching will help us improve student performance, work toward closing the achievement gap, and save money over the long-term by leveraging every other investment we make in education.

Why Will This Approach Work?

This approach draws on national, research-based best practices. It is also backed by a broad cross-section of advocates who don’t always see eye-to-eye but are united in agreement about the critical importance of this bill. The WGEE is made up of more than 60 individual members and 25 organizations, including two members of the Massachusetts legislature, four major state business groups, the two Massachusetts teachers’ unions, the state superintendents’ association, both state principals’ organizations, representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, colleges and universities, educators’ professional associations, parent and student advocacy organizations, and teachers and administrators.

We believe the WGEE platform will address the following, critical issues:

• Improve the quality of teaching and learning all children experience

• Coordinate the human resource process for educators to best ensure professional learning

• Ensure that all teachers and leaders have the expertise they need for the success of their students

• Create accountability measures which ensure that everyone—districts, individual schools, administrators, teachers, preparation programs, school committees, and educator preparation programs—is working together to enhance student learning

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