November 16 | EdWeek

By Terry Grier

There are some questions every school leader should be able to answer: Are my teachers helping their students learn? Who are the outstanding teachers I need to fight hard to keep? Which teachers aren't meeting my expectations? How can I help my good teachers become great?

As the superintendent of one of the nation's largest school districts, I believe helping our campus leaders answer these questions is the most important part of my job. After all, decades of research show that nothing we can do to accelerate student learning matters more than ensuring a great teacher leads every classroom.

Unfortunately, the teacher-evaluation systems that should help principals answer such questions are often useless. Most evaluation systems rate nearly all teachers "satisfactory," based on infrequent and cursory classroom observations, and they rarely consider how much students are actually learning.
 

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