Educator Quality

Overview of Massachusetts H451/S284:

An Act to Ensure Educator Excellence

The Massachusetts Working Group for Educator Excellence

What is H451/S284?

H451/S284 is a bill that will transform the educator workforce in Massachusetts by providing all educators with a systematic means of acquiring and strengthening their skills and expertise throughout their careers. The bill clearly defines what educators need to know and be able to do and provides educators with support and accountability so that every teacher and leader in the state is highly skilled at helping students achieve.

Why should H451/S284 be the top legislative priority?

Research shows that teacher and administrator expertise are the most significant variables in student achievement. Without H451/S284, we limit the effectiveness of all other school improvement programs. Right now, our educator workforce produces random pockets of excellence and an unacceptable number of under-skilled practitioners.

This crisis is grounded in a gross misconception of good teaching as something that can be done by anyone who is literate, decent, and knowledgeable of their content. The truth is, there is a field-tested knowledge base of professional practice – and we must now integrate it into all the personnel processes to strengthen the educator workforce across the state.

Right now, every educator has access to different components of the knowledge base depending on the curriculum design of their particular preparation program, the availability of an induction program in the district they enter, and their district’s individual approach to professional development.

How does H451/S284 address this urgent problem?

It improves the personnel processes for educators by aligning all ten processes that have an impact on the teacher and administrator workforce and grounding them in a common core of professional knowledge.

The Ten Processes:

1. Preparation
2. Licensure
3. Recruitment, Hiring, and Placement
4. Induction
5. Professional Development
6. Supervision and Evaluation
7. Relicensure
8. Teacher Leadership
9. Organizational Structure
10. Organizational Culture

What are the results we should expect to see from H451/S284?

The primary result will be workforce excellence in teaching and leadership for all our schools. More specifically, we can expect:

  • Better retention of beginning educators, which will create dramatic savings in teacher turnover costs, higher levels of teacher and administrator expertise, and better continuity of instruction for students
  • Improved outcomes of supervision and evaluation through (1) better quality feedback and learning for all teachers; (2) intensive assistance for struggling teachers; and (3) expedited dismissal for unsatisfactory teaching
  • Higher standards, more accountability, and consistency in educator preparation programs
  • Incentives for hard-to-staff positions
  • Career path options for instructional leadership by teachers