Thompson: The TNTP's Curious Ideas About School Culture
The New Teacher Project's "Greenhouse Schools" uses teacher data to create a category of schools which they call "greenhouse schools" or schools that nurture a great learning environment. It says that these great schools "prioritize great teaching above all else." The TNTP then makes no effort to describe what educators have to say about their priorities as it cites weird statistics that advance its own political priorities. The report says that if a better environment is not provided, schools in the bottom quartile of the survey sample could lose twice as many of their effective teachers (38%) as the greenhouse schools. It then concentrates on the TNTP's preferred solution to teacher attrition - the firing of ineffective teachers, arguing that the unfair dismissal of teachers is less upsetting to teachers than the failure to terminate their ineffective colleagues. It is no surprise that 42% teachers in schools in the bottom quartile have seen a fellow teacher be "wrongly retained," in contrast to 33% of those teachers seeing a colleague being "unfairly dismissed." "Greenhouse Schools" also reported that "2/3rds of teachers who are satisfied with the school's evaluation system trust the dismissal process," as if the debate was whether fair or unfair evaluations are the better route for improving schools. But, what does the TNTP's circular logic say about teacher's opinions regarding the best ways "growing great teaching teams?" I searched the TNTP's web site and the closest thing to an answer was the TNTP's Teacher Talent Toolbook. Five of its six power point presentations recommended the human relations strategies of the Washington, D.C schools. So, if you believe that teachers across the nation are demanding that their district adopt the IMPACT evaluation system, the TNTP has a reform for you.-JT (@drjohnthompson).