Schedule a conversation – Eric Isselhardt


Teacher Leadership and De-Professionalizing Teaching: Two Reports


There are two reports that I would like to call your attention to this week, as they are so closely aligned with our work as teacher leaders and with NNSTOY’s work regarding professionalizing teaching.  The first is the Aspen Institute report on teacher leadership, listed below in the reports section for you.

The report shares findings with the Policy section of the Teacher Leader Model Standards, (TLMS) www.teacherleaderstandards.org, developed with five of our STOYs (Terry Dozier, SC and NTOY 1985, Peggy Stewart, NJ 2005; Dana Boyd, TX 2007; Marguerite Izzo, NY 2007; Katherine Bassett, NJ 2000) and a consortium of 35 members, in terms of the issues that face truly implementing teacher leadership models successfully.  These include school culture, identification processes, compensation, distributed leadership models, structuring the schedule of the school day, the physical space in schools, and sustaining such models financially, to name but a few.

The TLMS were released in 2011; one thing that struck me as I read this very welcome report, was how little has changed since then.  The issues that we had identified are still the sticking points today in implementing teacher leadership models.  This report gives examples of several places that have implemented, or are in the process of implementing such models, and reading of their efforts to overcome these challenges and others was both encouraging and depressing.

The Aspen Institute has reached out to NNSTOY to ask for our collaboration in moving the conversation forward around the report and its findings.  We will be working with the report author, Rachel Curtis and the Institute in bringing together conversations with teacher leaders around this work.  I hope that you will read this report and give some thought to questions that you would ask about its findings, and ideas that you suggest to truly promote an effective teacher leadership model in your school.

The second is the NEPC report on Policy Reforms and the De-Professionalizing of Teaching, identifying three current policy trends that either support or take away from the professionalization of teaching; this report is also listed in the reports list below for you.  The three reforms are:  (1) policies that evaluate teachers based on students’ annual standardized test score gains, and specifically, those based on value-added assessment;(2) fast-track teacher preparation and licensure; and (3) scripted, narrowed curricula.  The conclusion drawn by the authors is that, overall, these three reform efforts detract from the teaching as a true profession.

I would encourage you to read this report and would be interested in your views; do you agree with the authors’ findings?  Are the ways in which they have defined the de-professionalization of teaching as a result of each similar to your own views?

Finally, I would like to offer you my sincere thanks on your support during this difficult time for me and my family. Your many messages of kindness, letting me know that you are thinking of us, that Jessica is in your thoughts and prayers, have meant the world to me during the past week.  I wish that I had good news to share, but I do not.  After two hospital stays, we still do not know what is causing Jessica’s body to reject nutrition; she has lost a total of 20 pounds now and tomorrow, we are going back into Jefferson to have a nasojejeunal tube implanted to tube feed Jess, hoping that bypassing her digestive system will allow her to regain some weight while the doctors figure this out.  Your continued thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

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