October 2, 2012

DISTINGUISHED EDUCATORS PROVIDE A VISION FOR THE TEACHING PROFESSION IN OREGON

New report includes recommendations to ensure a more rigorous student teaching experience, high quality mentors, non-administrative career paths, and the tools to meet the needs of diverse students

Portland – October 1, 2012 – The Distinguished Educators Council (DEC), made up of 13 Oregon teachers recognized for their knowledge and accomplishments, has released its recommendations to ensure Oregon is a great place to teach.

“As we work to create a seamless, high-quality system from birth through post-secondary education we know that teachers at all levels will be the real drivers of change in schools across the state. We should all be doing what we can to ensure that teachers’voices are helping to drive these policy conversations,” reflected Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. “I am glad to see this group of distinguished teachers offering their best thinking and using their expertise to benefit students inside and outside their own classrooms.”

The report outlines five top-line recommendations, each with specific actions policymakers and school leaders should take to improve teaching and learning. The five recommendations are:

  1. Emphasize classroom experience and effective mentors in teacher preparation.
  2. Provide meaningful, ongoing evaluations of teachers that contribute to improved teaching practices and increased student achievement.
  3. Ensure personalized professional learning opportunities tailored to teachers’ needs and the students they teach.
  4. Establish new leadership opportunities and career pathways for the most effective teachers.
  5. Ensure that Oregon’s teachers can address the needs of diverse students.

“As teaching professionals our work in the classroom is demanding and complex. Yet there is a lot of agreement among colleagues about what could be done better to support great teaching across the state. Many of the solutions, such as a longer clinical experience for teacher candidates and strong mentoring for new teachers, are well-tested and common sense. The question now is: Can we get the attention of educational and political leaders to listen to our recommendations and act with urgency?” said Colleen Works, 2011 Oregon Teacher of the Year.

For each of the five recommendations, the DEC report outlines specific policy ideas, provides background research and outlines how the adoption of the recommendations will impact teaching and learning.

DEC members will meet with school leaders, policymakers and other statewide officials to advocate for specific policy changes this legislative session. Members plan to present to the Oregon Education Investment Board at an upcoming meeting.

“Teachers are the agents of change in education. Unfortunately their voices have been missing from too many policy conversations. All those currently working to strengthen Oregon’s schools will benefit from a close reading of this report and ongoing conversation with Oregon’s distinguished educators—those on this Council and in schools across the state,” said Sue Hildick, Chalkboard Project President.

Read the full report, “Making Oregon a Great Place to Teach: Recommendations from the Distinguished Educators Council.”