Funny you should bring up baseball as an analogy for the Common Core (CC) and district leadership. As I mentioned in my post on #scrapthemap, Virginia has not adopted the Common Core. It’s general position is that VA already has strong standards why adopt more general ones. This doesn’t mean we aren’t conducting our own experiments down here. We are playing pickup games with numerous pay for performance schemes across the state as mandated by Governor McDonnell. Most of these aim to place high quality teachers in hard to staff schools. I have no problem with that but, I wonder if top down, this is going to work. Much like your issues with the CC implementation, there are so many details that can be missed in crafting a system to meet a vision from on high. One is not acknowledging that many staff members contribute to student success, but not all staff members have tests associated with their job titles.
As CTQ has supported for years, student accountability systems need to focus on building collaboration and teacher development into their very fabric. The systems need to be made of the stuff, not just blanketed with the ideas.
I am thinking that the new CTQ Collaboratory is going to be the place these types of reforms, by creative and forward thinking teachers, will seed, grow, and mature into the educational system students deserve.
Your baseball reference also made a connection for me between that Brad Pit movie, Moneyball, and teaching. The recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher you referenced in your last post found that teachers want to take on new leadership roles. Maybe even ones they craft to meet the needs of their schools or community. The idea of hybrid teachers reminds me of the approach Coach Billy Beane took with the Oakland A’s. Pay the teachers to do what they are good at. Get on base, catch the ball, hit consistently. Heck he hired a catcher to play first base because he was also good at getting on base.
This is what I took from that movie as it relates to teaching. Don’t put all your effort and money behind one big player (pay for performance). Spread it out. And, get rid of the players on the team that distract from the true goal, like weeding out “bad” teachers. Student achievement depends on everybody not just “great” teachers. And those ideas like getting rid of bad teachers, are well funded and popular with the owners and fans. That idea doesn’t create a great educational system, it only creates a less bad one.
Most of all, like in the clip above, don’t focus on the failure. Focus on the success you want to see. Jeremy Brown never expected to be successful, so when he hit a home run, he missed it.
It is like the star teacher phenomena in schools. One NBCT in a hard to staff school is not going to change a school. Two won’t either. But, if like the Mitchell 20, you create a wave of support that changes the climate of a school, centered on the idea of a professional learning community, you change the very nature of a school. It takes leadership, yes, but it also takes teachers who are willing to work together and leaders who will support them in taking those risks.