Rachel E. Curtis and Judy Wetzel (eds.)
Harvard Education Press
If the last Harvard Education Press volume to propose a fancy new framework for boosting teacher and principal quality hadn’t come out just six months ago, this book would be a bigger big deal. To be certain, it sets forth plenty of promising great ideas for retaining, evaluating, and promoting teachers and principals. But that first tome, A Grand Bargain for Education (find our review here), did much the same thing back in August. Not only is the timing close, but so are the big concepts: smart use of value-added data for teacher evaluation and feedback; a new salary scale with tougher tenure requirements; the reduction or elimination of the automatic salary bump for earning a master’s degree; and accountability for principals equally based on their schools’ quantitative and qualitative data. Both books even include contributions from the same author--former Denver uber-teacher and negotiator, and current Department of Education advisor, Brad Jupp. Still, there’s plenty of worthwhile (and some fresh) material here. In a chapter on lessons from the private sector, for example, the authors introduce the idea of “total rewards,” which means thinking of benefits in broader-than-usual terms. There’s also some smart thinking about managing and incentivizing “second stage” (i.e., tenured) teachers who may be less motivated to try new things. Worth a look, despite being déjà vu. You can find it here.