So, I would like to point out a model being used in schools across Montgomery County, MD that is having some success. A recent NY Times article explains how they use both teachers and principals in a process they call Peer Assistance Review (PAR). From the brief description it seems like true collaboration between educators and administrators to seek and assist struggling teachers before removing them from the teaching profession. Since half of all teachers leave before their 5th year, this seems like a great idea to maintain and support the next generation of adults at the front of the classroom.
Essentially, inexperienced educators are mentored by their veteran peers over the course of many months. If their teaching does not improve then they are placed in front of a peer review panel which has the power to demand changes, including the teacher losing his or her job. The amazing part about this panel is that half are teachers and half are principals and yet their comments are quite consistent.
I am truly confused why models like this don't exist on a massive scale across the country already. Professional journals have a peer review process before allowing any research to appear in them; why shouldn't professionals who work with kids get the same treatment with evaluations of their work?
Over the past few weeks I have been toying with creating a terminology for what could describe my ideal setting in education. At the moment I am focused on a few buzz-words: collaborative, community-driven, and transparent. I believe in a system that fosters these ideals and think it would create such an amazing environment that people of all differing interests would flock to education instead of fleeing from it right after their student loans are paid off at 5 years.