We cannot have excellent schools without excellent educators. I was the benefactor of outstanding teachers growing up. I believe in my heart that our educators have only gotten better! They are more data driven, more individual kid focused, and our teacher preparation programs are now better focused on research-based teaching, learning, and assessment techniques. Sadly, our educator pay relative to the growth in pay for similarly educated professionals in our society is falling behind. We cannot continue to recruit and retain our highest achieving students to the teaching profession if we aren't willing to compensate them more appropriately in the market place.
As Superintendent, I will transform OSPI into a data-driven policy organization that better partners with our Professional Educators Standards Board and our teacher preparation colleges to ensure that we recruit excellent teachers -- yes recruit! We need to strive for greater excellence and that means seeking talent. Our best and brightest need to see teaching as a career of first choice even as they are being courted by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Boeing, and others. This means identifying talent, recruiting that talent, challenging them with robust prep programs, market-rate compensation and persistent high quality professional development. We need only look at the research coming out of South Korea, Finland, Poland, and a host of other top performing nations to understand that teacher quality directly impacts student success.
It is an honor and a massive responsibility to teach in our public schools. As citizens, parents, and taxpayers we should have high expectations of our teachers AND a willingness to compensate them as necessary to attract the most diverse, high-quality, committed teaching core our state has ever seen. With our new teacher-principal evaluation project (TPEP), we have an incredible new opportunity to recognize excellent teaching, support those that need growth, and dismiss those teachers that are not performing to our expectations. This TPEP system needs to be fully funded and I will partner with the Legislature to ensure that fully funding our schools means fully funding our teacher professional development and evaluation.