Testifying before Gov. Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission, NYC Public School Principal Anna Hall today delivered a crystal-clear message that any true reform of the state’s education system needs to start at the head of the class.
At the Commission’s New York City public hearing, Hall, who will be joining StudentsFirstNY next month as the Director of Education, urged the task force to tackle the issue of teacher quality to ensure schools can recruit, retain and reward excellent educators.
“Nothing that goes on within a school makes as much difference for kids as the quality of the teachers in their classroom,” Hall testified. “We should remove the barriers to entry for aspiring teachers and pay new teachers more. We also need to retain those who turn out to be stars.”
Specific recommendations include:
Accelerating the rate of recruitment by establishing alternative pathways to teacher certification;
State matching funds for district money spent on retaining and rewarding top teaching talent;
Supporting school leaders in evaluating teachers rigorously and moving those who are ineffective out of the classroom, including eliminating or scaling back automatic and universal tenure.
Hall’s expertise comes from nearly a decade of experience in New York City’s public schools. She currently serves as principal of the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, where she was part of the founding class of teachers in 2003. As principal, Hall achieved and maintained the high school graduation rate to 80% and the college application/acceptance rate to 95%. She also developed a new teacher evaluation and coaching system.
In the coming months and years, StudentFirstNY will aggressively advocate for an array of initiatives to recruit and retain excellent teachers, with the goal of boosting educational outcomes for all New York Students.