Teachers union President Dave Cicarella (pictured) and school reform czar Garth Harries are set to travel to Washington, D.C. this morning for a meeting with top officials of the U.S. Department of Education.
Cicarella said they were invited to D.C. to present their new system to train and evaluate teachers, which was unveiled in April. The new teacher evaluations, to be used next school year, will tie teacher success to student progress—but not just to test scores. Click here to read more.
Cicarella said after the meeting was already scheduled, he got a call back reporting that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan himself will be there for the presentation.
“They want to see our plan,” Cicarella said. “They’ve heard a lot about it. They want more details.” He and Harries will be joined by Joan Devlin of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), who helped New Haven craft its landmark teachers agreement in October.
Since launching an ambitious school reform drive last year, Cicarella and members of Mayor John DeStefano’s administration have visited D.C. several times to meet with AFT President Randi Weingarten and top government education officials. Weingarten and two top education officials paid New Haven a visit in October to celebrate the teachers contract.
A New York Times editorial in May applauded New Haven’s new teacher evaluations as a model for the nation, especially in the way the city and the teachers union worked together on the project. The whole process took about a year. U.S. Department of Education officials invited New Haven officials to D.C. to hear how it was done.
“They’re really interested because of the level of collaboration,” Cicarella said. “We were able to deal with some very tough issues, and come to a consensus.”
“It’s a strong compliment” to be invited by Duncan to share reform ideas, said the union president. “You feel good about that.”