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Knowledge From the Field

Empowering Effective Teachers: Readiness for Reform

Published: February 2010

Publisher(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

View Report (24 pages; 503KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Teacher Quality and Leadership


This brief focuses on finding ways to measure and improve teacher effectiveness. It looks at nine school districts and one coalition of charter management organizations, assessing readiness for change focusing on four key aspects: shared leadership; data-driven decision making; stakeholder engagement; and policies that support improvement efforts. 

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

= Building shared leadership and vision among teachers and staff is an essential component of bringing a school system closer to reform readiness.

= Willingness to use data to inform decisions on compensation, career progression, and tenure is a critical step toward reform readiness.

= Sites that were best able to accelerate reform had established a precedent of working with their unions and school boards to solve meaningful problems.

=Local and state policies can have a major effect on readiness, depending on whether they assist or impede hiring, evaluation, tenure, compensation, and placement.

Geographic Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Teacher effectiveness; school reform; readiness to reform; teacher quality; classroom improvement

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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