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AFT Outlines New Due-Process Approach for 'Ineffective' Teachers

By guest blogger Erik Robelen:

AFT President Randi Weingarten yesterday announced a new framework to guide due process for teachers deemed by administrators to be ineffective.

Weingarten emphasized that the "three-step process" developed by the national union should be part of a comprehensive system of teacher development and evaluation. She made the announcement at an AFT Teacher Development and Evaluation Institute in Washington.

"No one wants an ineffective teacher in the classroom," she said in prepared remarks. "But no one should want an effective teacher tossed out of the profession because teacher evaluations are nonexistent, broken, or mishandled."

The procedures would include notice in writing of specific concerns, followed by the collaborative development of an improvement plan for the teacher that should include "clearly articulated measures of success, timelines, support needed, and periodic reviews."

The local union would have the right to object if the supports in the plan were not deemed sufficient, Weingarten said. No improvement plan could continue for more than one school year, she added.

A hearing process would determine whether the plan was successful and the teacher was performing up to the standard set. A "neutral third party" would review the recommendations put forward by an administrator and peer experts, when there is a peer-review process in place.

"The bottom line is that the hearing is really a review of the entire evaluative process to ensure fairness and objectivity," Weingarten said. "It's not a relitigation of what constitutes good teaching."

Weingarten noted that the announcement comes as the AFT executive council this month backed a new framework for handling teacher misconduct. For more on that, check out Stephen's story from January.

[Update: (11:23 am)] One important thing I neglected to mention is that Dan Domenech, the executive director of the American Association of School Administrators has agreed to help review the new due-process framework.

Here's what Weingarten had to say about that: "I'm pleased to announce that Dan has agreed to co-convene a group of leaders—from labor, management and the research field—who will look at the AFT's proposal for aligning due process with the system of development and evaluation, and consider ways to adjust, improve and ultimately implement it."

She added: "We're doing this because none of this works if management and the union don't work together."

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