All students deserve great teachers, but too often they don’t get them. Sometimes their teachers are inexperienced. Sometimes they are simply ineffective. This happens for various reasons. Many schools shortchange new teachers, failing to give them the support they need as they start their career. Administrators often neglect to make careful judgments about who deserves tenure. Some schools do not create a culture where teachers continually enhance and update their practice. Or, everyone assumes that it’s impossible to dismiss poor teachers.
Many educators and policy makers—including President Obama and Secretary of Education Duncan—see great promise in Peer Assistance and Review (PAR), a program that began as a labor-management initiative in Toledo over 25 years ago. PAR relies on expert teachers to help both new and struggling teachers. It also ensures that teachers who should leave do leave.
This website draws on the experiences of seven school districts, each with an established PAR program. It offers a wealth of practical information and advice about how to create and sustain PAR. It describes how PAR begins and how it works. It lays out the choices to be made in creating a PAR program and it provides examples, insights and documents that will assist reformers in the process.
A new teacher in Rochester meets with her Consulting Teacher
Barack Obama on PAR:
“Now, if we do all this and find that there are teachers who are still struggling and underperforming, we should provide them with individual help and support. And if they're still underperforming after that, we should find a quick and fair way to put another teacher in that classroom. Teacher associations and school boards in a number of cities have led the way by developing Peer Assistance and Review plans that do exactly this - setting professional standards that put children first. We owe our teachers that, and we owe our children that.”
— November 20, 2007