From: Peter C. Gorman
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2011 7:31 AM
Subject: Update on teacher effectiveness
Dear CMS employees,
We first began talking about teacher effectiveness three years ago. But the last three months, most of the questions we’ve gotten have been about teacher pay, which is only one part of the reforms we want to make.
The questions, and much of the public conversation about this issue, have made clear that many of our teachers are anxious, even fearful, that we’re going to cut their salaries. It’s understandable. We’ve had reductions in force, frozen salaries, budget cuts and school closures in the past two years. All of this is unsettling and it has made our jobs harder to do.
We do not intend to cut teacher pay. Teacher salaries will not go down as a result of our work to improve the way we evaluate teachers. Instead, we will focus on measuring effective teaching using multiple measures and reward our top teachers with additional money.
How we will do that, and what form it will take in our budget, has not been decided. That, along with much of the evaluation work, remains to be done. The anxiety and the fear around salary reduction has begun to get in the way of our work. But we cannot be distracted. Our work must be about improving student achievement – and the only way we’ll get there is to teach our way there.
Every child deserves a great teacher. We must do a better job in the classroom and we can do a better job. That is what we want to accomplish. It’s not about punishing teachers. It’s about helping kids – and we have to always focus on that first.