“If only teacher unions didn’t protect bad teachers, everything would be fine.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? This is a common opinion these days, whether it’s in that famous manifesto from leaders like Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee or in movies like Waiting for Superman. Is the charge true, or is this an easy answer with a convenient villain?
We went to Toledo, Ohio to investigate a system called PAR, or Peer Assistance and Review, that was developed by the local union and approved by the school board in 1981, nearly 30 years ago. Some now say that every school district should adopt this approach because it weeds out ineffective teachers. Can teachers be honest brokers when it comes to evaluating each other?
This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
When Toledo Teacher’s Union President Dal Lawrence implemented PAR or Peer Assistance and Review in his school district, he was met with skepticism. Teachers evaluating one another? Having the power to recommend the dismissal of a peer? John Merrow brings us the story of the program’s rocky startup and how the union leader persevered to bring about this controversial change. Listen to the story.
The Toledo Plan has been held up as a model for the rest of the country – a successful collaboration between a school district and a teacher’s union. But according to some Toledo parents, the plan only looks good on paper. John Merrow reports. Listen to the story.
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