Behind the Headline: Teacher Tenure: A Fairfax Schools Firing Case

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Teacher Tenure: A Fairfax Schools Firing Case
Washington Post | 6/4/12

Behind the Headline
An Effective Teacher in Every Classroom
Education Next | Summer 2010

In a long article for the Washington Post, Emma Brown describes the efforts of Fairfax County, Va. to fire one teacher, Violet Nichols, who has taught for more than three decades. The movement to evaluate teachers based on student performance has not yet reached Fairfax County, Brown reports, so the focus of the Nichols’ evaluation is on how she teaches, not whether her students are learning. Is Nichols incompetent, intransigent, and undeserving of her teaching position, or unfairly attacked by a principal determined to see her go? In a forum that appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Ed Next, Eric Hanushek and Kati Haycock shared their thoughts on the best strategies for raising teacher quality in schools serving disadvantaged children. Both agreed that finding better ways to evaluate teachers is a key to any strategy.

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