Recently published research by Harvard University’s Susan Moore Johnson and Brown University’s John Papay in the Journal of Educational Policy and Practice again cited Toledo Public Schools’ peer mentoring and evaluation model — called the Toledo Plan — and similar models in other districts as examples of teachers taking accountability seriously (“Teaching counts,” editorial, Jan. 31).
A critical piece of accountability is missing in all of these models. That key piece is administrator accountability.
When our peer review idea was conceived in 1981, it was assumed that the TPS superintendent and administration would follow suit. Although a mentoring program was adopted, the evaluation piece was not included. Principals and other management staff who perform poorly are routinely ignored or shifted to less noticeable jobs.
The problems they create or ignore often end up becoming teachers’ problems in the eyes of the public. Nothing irritates teachers more than taking their standards of performance seriously when management does not. Teachers understand that no one benefits from incompetence, whether it is at the classroom level or the administrative level.
Worse still, those who are free of accountability often ignore the classroom conditions necessary for students’ achievement and teacher success. The TPS superintendent, cabinet members, and administrators’ union could make a significant contribution to the success of our schools by following the example Toledo teachers have set.
In doing so, management would take a giant step toward elevating professionalism throughout Toledo Public Schools.
President Toledo Federation of Teachers
South Byrne Road