Advisory Panel Responses

A critical component of this research project was the active involvement of local education stakeholders through four state-based advisory panels. These panels, which The New Teacher Project convened in each of the study states of Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio, were established in order to ensure that The Widget Effect reflected diverse viewpoints and the knowledge and perspective of local and state-level leaders. See a list of the advisory panel members »

The advisory panels—including more than 50 district and state officials and 25 teachers’ union representatives—brought to bear participants’ substantial experience and expertise to inform the study methodology, findings and recommendations. In the end, panel members were invited to submit unedited written responses to the following questions:

  1. Do you believe that the advisory panel structure has been a helpful approach to studying the issue of teacher dismissal for poor instructional performance?
  2. To what extent do you agree with TNTP’s conclusion that all stakeholders must come together to create more credible and meaningful ways of differentiating teacher performance if we are to know which teachers should be retained, developed, and dismissed?
  3. After participating in this process, what next step do you see for you or your organization to ensure that instances of ineffective instruction are addressed? What step would you most like to see other parties take?

Responses from the Advisory Panel

Denver Public Schools Shayne Spalten, Chief Human Resources Officer

The future of our country depends on our ability to prepare the next generation of leaders and citizens for the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. We must be adamant, therefore, about ensuring that every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability or socioeconomic status, is able to reach his or her potential and prepared to succeed in college and life.

The research is clear that the most important factor to providing improved outcomes for students is an effective teacher in each classroom. As the evidence in this report makes clear, however, we are not adequately distinguishing between those teachers who have been successful in driving improved outcomes for children and those who have not.

Through the Advisory Committee, we have benefited from the perspectives of our union, community, state and other district partners as we have deepened our understanding of the issue, explored the challenges and discussed the path forward. From these discussions, it is clear that no one group alone can meet the challenge of ensuring an effective teacher in every classroom. If we are to succeed in creating systems that serve all children, we must put improved student learning at the center of our discussions. And together, we must take responsibility for establishing effective ways of identifying, rewarding and retaining our highest performing educators, offering meaningful opportunities for teachers to improve their practice and, where necessary, fair and efficient systems for removing teachers who, despite this support, fail to help students grow.