The Teaching Commission

The Teaching Commission, headed by IBM's Lou Gerstner and populated by leaders in education, business and politics, released this report in 2004. It's another manifesto, really, urging action on three worthwhile reforms: implementing pay-for-performance, improving teacher preparation, and reducing licensure and certification barriers to entry. In each case, the commissioners offer specific recommendations in the hopes of bridging ideological divides and moving these ideas into practice. On teacher pay, they suggest that the best teachers might get 30 percent raises, softened by offering all teachers 10 percent raises (at a $30 billion annual cost). Importantly, they urge that teachers be evaluated using value-added methods. They argue that improving school leadership and giving principals autonomy would improve teacher retention. There's more, on training, mentoring, retention, and other topics. None get in-depth treatment - it's a brief document - but most are accompanied by worthwhile arguments. They also offer a host of mini case studies - examples, really - to buttress their recommendations. There is information about the Teacher Advancement Program, New Leaders for New Schools, Carnegie's Teachers for a New Era, and the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), as well as various efforts underway in Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, and other locations. The proposals wouldn't seem controversial to lay leaders, but those who know education reform know better. We'll watch with interest to see if they can succeed in their plan to work with "eight to 10 governors and their chief state school officers to implement The Commission's Agenda," and if they must bow to union pressures in order to be bipartisan. You can find it online here,

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