America’s schoolteachers are some of the most brilliant, driven
and highly skilled people working today—exactly the kind of people we want
shaping young minds. But they are stuck in a system that doesn’t treat them
like professionals … It may surprise you—it was certainly surprising to
us—but the field of education doesn’t know very much at all about effective
teaching. Bill and Melinda Gates.
No surprisingly the Gates wrong, or should I say wrong again. We know a great deal about defining effective teaching.
The Charlotte Danielson Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching (2nd Edition -2007) is a research-based project that divides teaching into four domains: (Planning and Preparation, the Classroom Environment, Instruction and Professional Responsibilities); each domain is divided into components (example, Engaging Students in Learning) and each component into elements (example, Structure and Pacing). Each element into four areas, The Structure and Pacing element are divided into,
Unsatisfactory: The lesson has no clearly defined structure, or the pace
of the lesson is too slow or rushed or both.
Basic: The lesson has a recognizable structure, although it is not
uniformly maintained throughout the lesson. Pacing of the lesson is inconsistent.
Proficient: The lesson has a clearly defined structure around which
the activities are organized. Pacing of the lesson is generally appropriate.
Distinguished: The lesson’s structure is highly coherent, allowing the
reflection and closure. Pacing of the lesson is appropriate for all students.
The State Education Department has approved the Danielson Frameworks for use in locally negotiated teacher evaluation plans.
The NYC Department of Education, although they have not yet negotiated a teacher evaluation plan with the union has adopted the Danielson Frameworks. Every supervisor and network staff is spending two full days with a Danielson Group trainer and hundreds of schools have purchased the Danielson package from Teachscape.
Down Broadway the teacher union president, Michael Mulgrew lauds Charlotte and her work. She addressed union staff and at the last two union chapter leader and delegate meetings Mulgrew praised her to the sky.
If Mulgrew and Chief Academic Officer Shael Suransky can’t come to an agreement on a teacher evaluation system how they both love Charlotte?
In a September 20th letter jointly signed by the union president and the
chancellor all principals were directed not to use the Danielson Frameworks as
an evaluation tool – the current “S” or “U” system is still in place.
Perhaps, too no avail.
The union has accused principals of using the Danielson Frameworks for teacher
evaluation purposes in violation pf the September 20th agreement while the
department denies the accusation. (See Gotham School
If the union and the department both agree that the Danielson Framework is the
appropriate tool to use to support/evaluate teachers why are the negotiations
Whose side is Charlotte on? If the department is failing to adequately train supervisors in the use of the frameworks will she “call them out”?
Is Charlotte playing “both sides” and raking in the dollars from the sale of the
Teachscape training modules?
The domains, components and 76 elements describe the full range of the complex and encompassing tasks of teaching. Training supervisors, coaches and teachers to identify the many faceted elements of the Frameworks would go a long way to having the entire educational community on the same wavelength.
A worthy task.
How do we move 70,000 teachers and 3,000 supervisors to act in a collaborative
manner, and, how do we put a system in place to support and perhaps ease out
the unsatisfactory teacher and support all teachers in upgrading their skills
in a collaborative environment?
Up to now we have not had a rational teacher evaluation system: principals based on their own judgment evaluated teachers. What was satisfactory in one school was unsatisfactory in another school. In a difficult to staff school, when I
asked a principal what standard he used in assessing teachers he responded,
“If they come every day and blood doesn’t run out from under the
We are moving closer to an agreement on a system which will be acceptable to all
… from the commissioner to the chancellor to principals and teachers: closer
but there still are mountains to climb and rivers to cross.
And it’s hard to tell if Charlotte is promiscuous or just pecuniary?