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Twenty-One Years Later, The Toledo Plan Is Still Viable

Ineffective teachers are the real bad apples.  They can't or won't teach kids the way they need to be taught.  But how to get rid of them fairly? One way is called the Toledo Plan.

Beverages2 In 1981, Dal Lawrence, president of the AFT local, showed the superintendent of the Toledo School System that they had not successfully terminated a teacher in the last five years. Under the old system, Dal explained, "one side wins, the other loses, both are upset, and nobody will ever know the truth of classroom performance." 

So Toledo created a system of peer review for new teachers and for veterans who are struggling. In addition to improving teacher effectiveness, the Toledo Plan is responsible for removing 450 ineffective teachers from the classroom (and helping hundreds more).

Under the Plan, the district foots the bill for teaching consultants who intensively mentor and evaluate teachers. Instead of the old system where rookies were alone in facing a "sink or swim" situation, often with the toughest classes with the least administrative backing, teachers received practical guidance, and ongoing observation and evaluation. If the teacher does not measure up, the consultants either counsel them out of the profession or recommend that they not be retained.

In Oklahoma City, the AFT has been pushing both our membership and the administrators to take the first frightening steps towards upgrading the profession, and we turned to Dal for advice.  When our rank-in-file bemoan the untrustworthiness of their administrators, Dal reminds us that "If you wait for trust, you'll wait forever."   -- John Thompson.


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Thanks for recognizing the Toledo Plan. It is the best way to balance the need for good teachers and the protection of teacher's rights.

No one likes to work next to an ineffective colleague. Therefore since the Toledo Plan's inception the OKCAFT has worked to implement such a plan in OKC. The administration has always been favorable but the start up cost and cost to sustain the system requires money that isn't there. (Oklahoma is about last in the nation in per pupil funding)

With our state legislature so infected with tax cut fever, the prospects do not look good for it's implementation in OKC.

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