To the Editor:
Jennifer Goldstein is right about the need for peer review to improve instructional quality (“Union Bashing Won’t Reform Our Schools,” Commentary, March 11, 2009). But she omits two factors that are essential for the process to work fairly.
First, the designated coaches must be certified in the field of the teachers they are rating, or their judgment can be rightly called into question. A teacher who is not licensed in Spanish, for example, is not qualified to rate instruction in that subject.
Second, the final judgment of the oversight panel must give overwhelming weight to the input of peers, as opposed to that of the principal. Unless the stipulation is agreed to beforehand, some principals will readily concede, while others will stubbornly resist yielding power.
Los Angeles, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the April 01, 2009 edition of Education Week as For Effective Peer Review, Teachers’ Input Must Count