Teacher Equity Fact Sheet
Working to Solve Teacher and Staff Recruitment, Retention, and Equity Issues
Description of New Activity, Spring 2012
The Teacher Equity initiative of the Tennessee SPDG was originally embedded in use of the What’s A Good School (WAGS) appraisal (2008, 2009, Tennessee Department of Education), a school improvement diagnostic instrument developed by TNDOE in 2009. After First to the Top was awarded, many activities shifted gears, especially when the new TEAM teacher evaluation system went into place. WAGS is not currently being used on a widespread basis, and new activity has been proposed and approved. Activities associated with the teacher equity initiative that have been completed include a statewide survey of special education supervisors regarding the issues of recruitment, retention, and equity issues in special education (results summarized December 2010). Results of that survey were distributed statewide and then used in presentations at two conferences along with the IRIS Center module, Addressing the Revolving Door: How to Retain Your Special Education Teachers.
To continue the teacher equity work of the SPDG, the activity has been shifted to increasing the skills of special educators in the context of Common Core State Standards and writing Standards-Based IEPs, and then studying that impact on job satisfaction and stability. We already know that a significant factor in the reason why special educators leave is the feeling of isolation, lack of collegiality, and lack of parental support. We feel strongly that if we increased the special educator’s competence in use of the Common Core and improved their ability to draw up and implement IEPs based in Common Core, we would not only elevate the special education teacher’s status as a viable member of a professional learning community, the outcomes for improved student performance would become evident quickly. Our premise would be that if we equip the special education teacher to function on this higher level, their value to the faculty and school will increase significantly and have a positive effect on teacher stability.
Goal: To increase the knowledge and skills of special educators in the use of Common Core standards for students with disabilities and to measure any effect of elevating their status as a member of a professional learning community and overall job satisfaction.
- To provide an immediate boost to practical skills of special educators by improving their knowledge and skill in the use of Common Core standards and writing sound, defensible IEPs.
- To provide for ongoing local assistance to special educators regarding the use of Common Core standards in writing quality, standards-based IEPs.
- To increase the competence of newly-trained special education teachers by facilitating the process of infusing the use of Common Core State Standards and the writing of quality standards-based IEPs into teacher training programs.
- To gather data on any increases in job satisfaction and stability for special educators and measure any changes in the status of special educators as members of a professional learning community.
To accomplish this we propose:
- To facilitate the provision of webinars and regional training sessions designed to train special educators in the use of Common Core standards to write quality standards-based IEPs focused on improving student academic and functional performance.
- Training for select TNDOE staff will be provided to facilitate their role as local and district level technical assistance and support providers for special educators on an ongoing basis.
- To proactively engage existing special educator teacher training grant IHEs in dialogue around infusing training in the use of Common Core State Standards for students with disabilities and the writing of quality standards-based IEPs into required programs of study, and to provide resources and assistance as indicated.
- After training has occurred and on an ongoing basis, surveys, focus groups, and data will be gathered to measure increases in job satisfaction, teacher retention, and equity issues. Elevating the status of special educators as members of a professional learning community will be studied in particular. Once information on job satisfaction has been gathered, it will be distributed Statewide with an emphasis on sharing information with school leadership. It is assumed that the impact will be positive.
- The impact on achievement for students with disabilities will be gathered by studying improved achievement in districts where high quality standards-based IEPs are implemented. This will be accomplished by selecting systems who fully train and implement standards-based IEPs and then selecting a sample to study and compare achievement scores.