I am delighted to help launch this important statewide initiative today on behalf of Oregon’s Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Rudy Crew, who views this work as pivotal in the overall vision of closing the achievement gap. His message since arriving in August has been consistent:
In order to transform Oregon’s system into the world class leader in education necessary to reach the 40-40-20 Goal, the state must prioritize the recruitment, advancement and support of a diverse corps of professional educators.”
Likewise Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has eloquently stated,
“Throughout our work we are asking educators at every level of the system to think of themselves no longer in silos, but as individuals who are connected to the entire enterprise of education from early childhood to post-secondary education and as active participants to help those students along the educational path to success.”
So here is some advice for the work and heavy lifting that is to come:
1. Move beyond tinkering...think big. This IS the moment in Oregon history to move in unprecedented ways to create not only an approach to teacher preparation but a way to lift the status and the prominence of the teaching profession. Use this opportunity to unite together around shared issues, goals, measurements and results, and use that shared energy to study, support and strengthen strategies that work.
2. Maximize the opportunities that exist for co-developing and implementing meaningful, rigorous curriculum that integrates the CCSS and essential skills needed by the workforce. As Linda Darling-Hammond has advised us, consider this as “an orchestrated strategy to ensure learning opportunities around CCSS and other new learning standards drawing on Subject Matter Projects approach—orchestrating the resources of professional teachers associations (OCTM, OCTE, etc.), universities, and others to develop subject-specific learning resources and PD opportunities, training specialists and coaches for districts, etc.”
3. Collaborate across projects to define the very best ways to develop culturally competent educators who can affirm the value of every student and who are skilled enough to reach and teach all of our students. Consider in what ways your partnership can enhance existing coursework already focused on social justice and equity by constructing school based experiences that cause candidates to walk the talk.
4. Remember that true collaboration involves moving far beyond simply working side by side with each other. Consider the advice of Rosabeth Moss Kanter who so eloquently defined the Art of Alliances and criteria for true partnerships. Work with integrity, create intentional interdependence and acknowledge the importance of this work. Share information, contribute individual excellence, and view this work as a shared investment. Commit to shared investments and institutionalize the partnership beyond the three years of funding.
5. Truly co-share the responsibility for developing these new teachers. That means schools, find ways to free up time for teachers to really engage in coaching teacher candidates. Universities recast the role of cooperating teachers as needed to invite true parity in evaluating candidate performance. Use the synergy from your shared dialogues about candidate performance to inform the TSPC work group charged with strengthening and elevating Oregon Teacher Work Sample to the level of fidelity that it can be.
6. Use the proposal writing time to identify and share barriers that need to be removed through well-crafted policies and practices. Harness the collective energy in your partnership to inform policymakers on needed changes in licensure, hiring, and faculty FTE. This is an experiment that the whole state will be watching. Maximize the opportunity to communicate what has to change permanently in our systems. Set up sources of evidence to track progress and comparative results.
- Teacher Preparation