University of Washington College of Education Dean Mia Tuan describes why supporting great teaching is one of the smartest investments Washington can make in an op-ed published November 13 in The Seattle Times.
"[T]here’s one thing research tells us clearly: Great teaching matters," Tuan writes. "We need teachers who can prepare our students to succeed in Washington’s knowledge-based economy and participate in a thriving civic democracy."
While Tuan noted there are many things that will support advances in student learning embedded in the Washington Supreme Court's McCleary decision and reforming how the state pays for public schools, she describes two critical steps. First, Washington needs to invest in high-quality teacher education for the next generation of outstanding teachers. Second, the state needs to ensure every practicing teacher is provided meaningful professional development and growth.
"Our schools and districts must have adequate resources to take on the work of mentoring and supporting pre-service teachers," Tuan writes. "We must introduce loan-forgiveness programs, tuition reduction and paid internships that would help make the teaching profession more attractive and financially feasible to those who want to teach."
In the UW's professional-development partnerships with local school districts, Tuan noted the tremendous impact on student achievement that has resulted from an emphasis on continual growth and embedding professional development in teachers’ daily work.
"Ongoing professional development that gives teachers the time and space they need to elevate their practice is rare in our state’s schools today," Tuan writes. "We must give schools the resources they need to make teacher learning a priority, including instructional coaches, strong school leaders who support teacher learning, and time for teachers to work on their craft together. These are the ingredients that enable teachers to continually grow and make learning rigorous, authentic and fun."
Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications