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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 2 INTRODUCTION however, seems to persist today in early childhood education. I suspect the re- sistance comes from evaluation being done poorly and from teachers receiving punitive or meaningless evaluation without support to improve. Resistance to and fears about teacher evaluation are compounded by the growing pressure for quality improvement in education. As never before, policy makers and leaders at local, state, federal, and international levels are focusing on the value of early education in future academic success and even future life success. In the private sector, businesspeople, economists, and journalists are also interested. They know from research that quality of teaching is the biggest factor in the quality of children’s learning (Tucker and Stronge 2005). So education in general is under pressure, and teachers are the target. Much attention is being focused on ensuring that early childhood educators improve their teaching. Education leaders and teachers alike hear assertions such as, “If teachers just did a better job, the children would all learn more and better.” And while this statement is true, who is thinking of the teachers? If teachers are doing an unsatisfactory job, why is that the case? What do teachers need to be at the top of their form and skills, and are they getting those things? Are they getting coached on their performance, as athletes do, so they can get better? It is unfair to provide minimal support, such as one-time workshops and a yearly box of new materials, and hope that quality will improve. I call it the “hope theory” of educational improvement. We hope it works. This is not good enough for chil- dren, and it is not good enough for teachers, either. It leaves quality to chance. It makes the field of early childhood education vulnerable to well-meaning but misguided philanthropists, researchers, policy makers, and businesspeople who want to “fix” our practice with their solutions and tools. We jump through the hoops of the latest grant, and we forget to focus on what we need to do for our teachers. Improving teaching quality, and thus the quality of children’s education, is not simply a matter of supplying more materials, more curricula, more training, more rules, more incentives, or more sanctions. Teachers are inundated with new initiatives, but they do not get helpful guidance and support. I believe that education leaders must find a way and a system to support teachers and a way and a system to evaluate them. We need to come up with approaches that make sense for early childhood education. And we have to let go of the idea that teacher evaluation is harmful; when teachers are adequately supported by their leaders, evaluation isn’t a threat, it’s an opportunity for collaboration, growth, and improvement. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL