Educator Quality

Massachusetts H451/S284: Questions and Answers

The Massachusetts Working Group for Educator Excellence


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, the personnel processes for developing the educator workforce are severely dysfunctional. As a result, our educator workforce produces random pockets of excellence and an unacceptable number of under-skilled practitioners. For example, the Pianta study in Science (2007) indicated :
  • Fifth graders in 2,500 classrooms in 400 school districts across the United States spent 91% of their time listening to the teacher or working alone
  • The average fifth grader received five times as much instruction in basic skills as instruction focused on problem-solving

How does H451/S284 address this urgent problem?

It improves the personnel processes for educators by aligning all ten processes for the teacher and administrator workforce and grounding them in professional knowledge.

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


What are the ten personnel 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

How will aligning the personnel processes impact student achievement?

We know that students with effective teachers and leaders outperform students without effective teachers and leaders. If we improve the ten personnel processes influencing teacher and administrator quality, we can expect to see dramatic improvements in student achievement relating to MCAS as well as to other performance measures of student learning.

With all the time, energy, and resources that have already been invested in Massachusetts public schools, why aren’t the ten personnel processes operating well?

There is no accountability for school districts, colleges and universities, and state regulatory agencies to work together and align their practices with a common core of professional knowledge.

How will H451/S284 fix the personnel processes?

By combining research-based approaches with standards, support mechanisms and accountability to build a seamless, coherent SYSTEM for developing and sustaining high quality educators. More specifically, the bill will:
  • Build internal capacity through a comprehensive design that efficiently integrates and aligns the human and financial resources which influence educator quality
  • Provide a systemic solution, rather than piecemeal, fragmented approaches
  • Create effective accountability for all constituencies: districts, individual schools, administrators, teachers, preparation