The National Council on Teacher Quality released a report Tuesday on teacher policies in the Springfield Public Schools.
The report compares Springfield’s policies with surrounding districts and with districts around the nation. It also suggests local and state reforms that would make it easier to recruit and retain highly effective teachers. Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, says Springfield must turn its full attention to improving teacher evaluations.
"All teachers in this district need to get a very good evaluation every year for anything to happen at any level. Teachers need feedback. And then two, we absolutely have to fix compensation so that the best teachers do in fact earn more money."
And stay put. Walsh says the rate of teacher-turnover in Springfield is similar to Baltimore and Kansas City. The good news, Walsh says, is the strong, positive relationship between the teacher's union and management at the school.
The report was commissioned by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. Springfield schools Superintendent Alan Ingram says there isn't anything particularly surprising about the report, and he agrees with its findings.
"There was a comment in the report about our principals feeling as though they don't have enough autonomy to make hiring decisions and so that tells me that we've got to go back and do some retraining, retooling in that area.
Along with increasing teacher salaries, the report stresses a reduction in the number of days teachers can be absent which is currently 19 days a year.
Here is a link to the full report.