Date of Award

5-13-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

James Kahrs

Second Advisor

Yinying Wang

Third Advisor

Sid Camp

Abstract

Background: Improving instruction and rewarding educators for student learning creates a paradigm shift in evaluating a teacher’s contribution to individual learners. Systemic performance and teacher performance are now receiving more attention than ever before in history, as they are considered foundational for student performance. Policy makers are concerned about teacher quality and want a non-subjective measure that compares teachers based on student achievement results. Superintendents and school boards are joining forces to produce frameworks that are designed to guide school districts through strategic planning. The Vision for Public Education, Equity and Excellence in Georgia is one example. Purpose: The primary focus of this dissertation is to examine A Vision for Public Education, Equity and Excellence, a state-wide project to improve public education in Georgia. The aim of the project is to influence school board policy in seven areas, early learning and student success, teaching and learning, teaching and learning resources, human and organizational capital, governance, leadership, and accountability. Research Methods: A case study provides how individual school boards are implementing the Georgia Vision Project’s recommendations, particularly teacher evaluation. The districts chosen for this study met the criteria of implementing the Vision Project with fidelity and were deemed to be addressing teacher evaluation with commitment. An instrumental case study design allowed for an in-depth look at the Vision Project’s effect on two districts. Findings: Findings reveal how two school districts in Georgia actively used the recommendations from the Vision for Public Education to strengthen strategic planning in multiple areas. Results show how exemplary teachers, building leaders, and district leaders are aligning efforts to improve the educational experience for students. This dissertation describes common themes in student data uses, teacher evaluation, and clarity of communication to benefit student achievement. Conclusion: The results suggest the Vision Project recommendations overlapped showing the complexity of school organizations. Each district used the recommendations differently however, clarity, communication and a focus on students emerged as commonalities. Hopes and fears concerning teacher evaluation arose as teachers discussed current policy requiring student test data be incorporated into teacher evaluations.

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