Grading Teachers?

Posted on January 01, 2012
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Photo by Flickr User Thomas Hawk

Schools have a lot to learn from business about how to improve performance, say Bill and Melinda Gates

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. In most workplaces, there is an implicit bargain: Employees get the support they need to excel at their jobs, and employers build a system to evaluate their performance. The evaluations yield information that employees use to improve—and that employers use to hold employees accountable for results.

We know this because they told us so in a recent survey that our foundation undertook with Scholastic. It turns out that teachers don’t like their no-support/low-expectations working conditions any better than we do.

The teachers who took the survey were given a list of 15 things that might help to retain the best teachers. Higher salaries ranked 11th on the list, behind benefits like more time for preparation and opportunities for professional development.

The research shows, in short, that teachers want to be treated as professionals. They want to be put in a position to succeed, and they’re open to having their performance measured, as long as the measurement system is fair.

 Authors: Bill and Melinda Gates, Gates Foundation

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