Will tie teacher pay and evaluation to improved student performance
It has taken several years, but with final begrudging approval of the teachers union in Louisville, at least four of the city’s many Persistently Low-Achieving Schools (PLA schools) will use the “Transformation Model” to try to turn chronic low performance for students around.
Under this model, teachers won’t be transferred from the school, but they will receive more intensive professional development and other supports to try and improve educational performance. Teachers who do well in successful turn-around schools under this model also can earn incentives like extra pay and forgiveness of student loans. Actual student performance will be used as part of the evaluation of teacher performance.
Up until this time, the only turn-around option that has been tried in Louisville is called the “Staff Replacement Model.” This model is supposed to result in replacement of the principal and half or more of the teachers in a PLA school, but for various reasons the actual replacements in Jefferson County’s PLA schools has generally run lower than 50 percent. A real problem with this model is that teachers who get replaced don’t leave the school system, but generally get transferred elsewhere. That can result in simply moving a problem around as the transferred teacher isn’t likely to get any special professional development to improve.
Outside of Louisville, so far the Transformation Model has been the method of choice to turn around PLA schools in Kentucky.
I took a look after the first year of results from the PLAN and EXPLORE tests for PLA schools became available back in March of 2011.
The Transformation Model schools (all those outside of Jefferson County) did notably better on high quality tests from the ACT, Incorporated than the schools from Louisville, which were all using another model known as the “Staff Replacement” model.
In notable contrast, performance fell in the majority of the Jefferson County schools, was neutral in one, and only increased in one.
I want to stress that the information in this table provides only preliminary evidence. The picture could change as we get more years of data, but it does provide encouragement that using the Transformation Model for school turnaround in Louisville is a worthwhile trial project.