Apr 26, 2011

Hoosier Success-Future Is Bright For Indiana's Education System

Congratulations to Indiana for passing aggressive new legislation reform to empower excellent teachers and advance student achievement. Read what one Indiana teacher believes will be most important for kids.
Andrew is a fifth grade teacher at Imagine Life Sciences Academy West in Indianapolis, Indiana.
As an educator and an advocate for education reform, I am excited about what is happening in my home state of Indiana. Just recently Indiana has seen a plethora of fresh-minded leaders gain key educational and political seats to affect educational policy.
The work of the past several months has been vital for the path to creating a better educational landscape for all Hoosier children.
Recently the Assembly passed Senate Bill 575, which among other things will protect teachers' rights to collectively bargain the issues that should be in contracts: salaries, pay scales and wage-related benefits -- while making sure other areas (school calendar decisions, class size and teacher evaluations) aren’t bogged down by provisions that distract from schools' core mission: teaching children.
And just yesterday legislators followed up with a powerful and necessary second step by passing Senate Bill 1, eliminating last-in, first-out rules, adding a rigorous new evaluation system and implementing a performance-based compensation model.
Together these two pieces of legislation will work together to benefit Indiana's children and support good teachers.
Senate Bill 575 -- Teachers’ Rights to Collective Bargaining -- Passed!
Senate Bill 575 on collective bargaining will have a significant impact on Hoosier schools, bringing more autonomy for school leaders as they try their best to orchestrate a teaching staff that has the students' best interests in mind.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said it best when he said, "Indiana is one step closer to an education system that gives school leaders the flexibility they need to build and lead their instructional staff and drive student performance."
By focusing collective bargaining on salaries and benefits, the legislation frees school leaders from restrictive contract provisions that do not focus on student learning.  This is so important because this freedom can possibly help place and keep great teachers in Indiana classrooms while teachers found to show little student growth can be removed more easily.
Senate Bill 1 -- Evaluating and Paying Teachers like the Professionals We Are -- Passed!
Passed yesterday, Senate Bill 1 will promote excellent teaching and school leadership by ensuring that Indiana teachers are evaluated yearly in multiple different facets but specifically regarding student growth and performance.
The evaluations proposed may then be used in considering pay increases for deserving teachers. This change will help pave the way to change teacher tenure so it is not based on longevity in the system but on results.
I, and other champions for reform, believe a key to education reform and increased student achievement is the hiring and retention of transformational human capital.  The legislation will ensure those champion teachers get rewarded financially for the student achievement gains we see.
The legislation also gives school leaders leeway to dismiss educators not showing student growth.  This ensures hard work, accountability, and possibly even a healthy level of competition, all of which benefit the students of Indiana.
Together both bills amount to a tremendous achievement for the state of Indiana and are an encouraging break from the past.
Currently, my state treats teachers as identical pawns by failing to consider our work or effectiveness, and this law will ensure that teachers are finally treated like the talented professionals we are. Creating more autonomy for our educational leaders and creating a more effective means for evaluating teachers will go a long way in helping Indiana create a better educational atmosphere for the children in Indiana.
The future of Indiana's education system appears to be bright.  Political and educational leaders are asking the right questions and, more importantly, asking the right questions to the right people.  The effective teachers and the struggling students in Indiana need a new way, and Indiana legislators are now at the forefront of real change in Indiana.
Hopefully, the passing of this legislation will trigger even more changes for the betterment of Indiana teachers and students in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment