AFT Touts Indiana Peer Review Program

The American Federation of Teachers is touting a "peer review" program in Anderson, Indiana as one of the best ways to support and screen teachers without revamping tenure or resorting to performance pay plans.

You don't hear much about peer review in Chicago -- I'm not sure the city ever had such a program. But it's seemed to have worked in other places like Toledo, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and Montgomery County Maryland.

I don't think I'd like the idea of using peer review instead of other reforms to tenure and teacher evaluation, but I'm pretty sure that it would make for a good element in a teacher quality reform package.

Anderson Federation of Teachers

422 West Ninth Street, Anderson, Indiana 46016

(765) 643-5432 • (765) 643-5743 (Fax)

For Immediate Release Contact:

March 11, 2009 Rick Muir 765/643-5432

Anderson Teachers Union and School Board Vote

For Indiana’s First Peer Assistance and Review Program

Anderson, Ind.—Union

and school board members voted to pass Indiana’s first peer assistance

and review (PAR) program, a teacher evaluation program that will

provide new teachers, and those who are struggling, with intensive

mentoring, evaluation and support.

“The

peer assistance and review program will do more to benefit the teaching

profession in Anderson than any other education reform that our union

has brought to our schools,” said Rick Muir, president of the Anderson

Federation of Teachers.

The

Anderson Federation of Teachers, in collaboration with the school

district, developed the Anderson Peer Assistance and Review Program.

Expert or consulting teachers will be selected and assigned to mentor

and evaluate teachers based on specific criteria and the Anderson

school district performance standards. Teachers’ strengths and

weaknesses will be identified. After receiving help in such areas as

teaching strategies, communication and working with peers, teachers

will be evaluated and recommendations will be made about retaining or

dismissing them.

“PAR

is a high-quality program that will fairly and fully evaluate teachers,

and help us to provide a world-class education for the Anderson public

school students,” said Philip “P.T.” Morgan, an Anderson school

district board member.

The

PAR concept was developed nearly 30 years ago by the Toledo Federation

of Teachers with its school district. It has since been replicated in

other Ohio school districts as well as in California, Maryland,

Minnesota, New York and elsewhere. Dal Lawrence, past Toledo Federation

of Teachers president and architect of the Toledo Plan, helped craft

the Anderson PAR program.

“PAR

is an example of an innovative, successful union-led education reform,”

said Dal Lawrence. “It shows just how inaccurate the stereotype is that

teacher unions are anti-reform or anti-accountability.”

The

PAR program that the union and school board approved is part of a

package of contract items. The PAR program will be implemented in the

fall of 2009.

Carole

Greenwalt, a 5th-grade teacher from Forest Hills Elementary School,

said that she is looking forward to PAR because it will help her become

an even better teacher.

Mark

Finger, principal of Highland High School, said he visited Toledo to

see PAR in action. “What I saw there convinced me that PAR not only is

an effective evaluation system but is a safety net for new teachers who

need the extra support as they get started in their careers.”

Filed under: The World Outside CPS

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