Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson is backing a new plan by the California Department of Education that calls for new ways to measure teacher effectiveness and for other school improvements.
Hanson and five other California educators joined State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson in Sacramento on Tuesday as he unveiled the new 31-page plan.
"Creating a comprehensive system of teacher recruitment, training, support and evaluation will take some hard, thoughtful and ongoing work, and a statewide commission to lead this discussion will be a sound first step," Torlakson said.
The plan also calls for more technology use in the schools and a larger emphasis on student health.
Greg Gadams, president of the Fresno Teacher's Association, said the union is willing to support the development of a teacher evaluation system as long as the measurements are fair. He said teachers who are assigned classes full of struggling students could be penalized unfairly if standardized test scores are the only measurement.
"The concern we have is that one test score is not a good indicator," he said. "There are too many factors that go into that one test score that are out of the teachers' control."
Gadams said the union supports a system of benchmarking -- or mini-tests -- throughout the year to measure teacher effectiveness.
Torlakson said he was grateful for Hanson's work in helping to draft the plan.
Hanson is part of Torlakson's transition team, a 59-member group of teachers, parents, labor, and business leaders.
The plan will help California reach its goals of preparing students for the 21st century work force, when it's estimated that 80% of all jobs will require at least a two-year college degree.
"The first step in reaching a goal is setting one," Torlakson said. "We've taken an honest look at where we are and where we want to be, and created a vision about how to get there."
The transition team did not estimate the cost of carrying out the plan's recommendations. Torlakson said the programs would be phased in over time.
The reporter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 441-6378.