Over the past year CFT was a proud participant in developing the recommendations of Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s Educational Excellence Task Force and we applaud the results of this lengthy process.

Co-chairs Linda Darling-Hammond and Christopher J. Steinhauser oversaw the creation of an extraordinarily useful document for improving public education in California, a set of recommendations collaboratively developed with stakeholder input, and reflecting the best research on what constitutes quality evaluation methodology.

Greatness By Design promises a roadmap for school reform based on best practices and classroom research, and insists on an integrated approach to teacher support, including teacher training, induction, evaluation and ongoing professional development.

The report makes clear that the objective of evaluation is to improve instructional practices and student learning, not to weed out so-called “bad teachers.” This welcome approach to evaluation insists on standards-based, multiple measurements of teacher performance, and incorporates valid and reliable performance assessments into licensure and accreditation for both teachers and administrators.

The report also acknowledges that after years of cuts to school funding, adequate resources must be found to implement the recommendations.

— By Gary Ravani