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NEA Announces Picks for Teacher-Effectiveness Panel

The National Education Association last week announced the names of 21 educators and academics who will sit on its Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching, a group that will make recommendations to the union for "maximizing teacher and teaching effectiveness."

The commission was announced at this past summer's Representative Assembly, but these are the first details NEA has unveiled about what it will be doing.

According to the union, the panelists will:

• Analyze existing standards, definitions, policies and practices related to teacher effectiveness and effective teaching, and develop a teacher's definition of an effective teacher and effective teaching;
• Craft a new vision of the teaching profession;
• Write a comprehensive set of recommendations for the NEA about the union's role in advancing and promoting teacher effectiveness and the teaching profession; and
• Develop a comprehensive set of recommendations for education leaders and policymakers about the future of the teaching profession and the role of teachers in governing it.

Teachers on the panel include Madaline Fennel, 2007 Nebraska teacher of the year, and Renee Moore, 2001 Mississippi teacher of the year. Other panelists include Andy Tompkins, president and CEO of the Kansas board of regents; Kathleen Wiebke, executive director of Arizona K12, a professional-development group; and Mary Hatwood Futrell, NEA's president from 1983 to 1989. You can read the full list on NEA's website.

The panel will meet four times over the course of the next year, conduct public hearings, and survey NEA members for their input before releasing its recommendations.

It will be enlightening to see what the panel comes up with, especially whether any of its recommendations fundamentally challenge NEA's current positions on things like value-added, performance pay, premiums for teaching in hard-to-staff subjects, and so on.

UPDATE, 12/13: Or maybe not. Antonucci reports that many of the panelists aren't just NEA members, but are actually in relatively high leadership positions in the union. Interesting that the NEA chose not to identify them as such.

As I've pointed out before, nothing this panel puts out will be binding on the NEA unless it formally adopts the recommendations into its internal policy resolutions.

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