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Study supports giving teacher leaders more authority

Craig Clough | October 29, 2014

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Photo via Aspen Institute

Teachers should be given more leadership roles with real authority, including the power to evaluate other teachers and set agendas for meetings, a new study concludes.

And while leadership opportunities for teachers is on the rise, the study says, without proper structure and implementation, the leadership roles often fail to have a positive impact on staff while only benefitting the teacher leader.

Released today by the Aspen Institute and Leading Educators“Leading from the Front of the Classroom: A Roadmap to Teacher Leadership that Works” also examines the need for funding for teacher leadership programs and uses several schools and districts around the country as good examples of impacful teacher leadership programs, including Chicago, Denver and Tennessee.

“Done right, teacher leadership elevates the profession while advancing other reforms. For example, it’s overwhelming for principals alone to give every teacher the feedback and guidance they need and deserve – and it’s not how any other profession is structured,” said Aspen Institute Vice President Ross Wiener in a press release. “Teacher leadership leverages talent within the teaching corps, makes the job more attractive to ambitious and accomplished teachers – and can make education reform more sustainable at the same time.”

One example of an effective leadership program the report highlights is Tennessee’s use of 700 teacher leaders to coach 30,000 other educators in implementing new Common Core standards.

“Some of the thinking processes behind the Common Core shifts are difficult, and they sometimes can be uncomfortable,” said Kate Bond Middle School Principal Angela Brown in the report. “But when you have someone right here with you that you trust to talk with or see demonstrate, and then have time to come back and debrief and talk with you, the change becomes much easier.”

Read the full report here. 

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