The teacher-powered schools movement: Transforming teachers from industrial workers to professionals

Despite the number of highly educated people who become teachers, the traditional system treats teachers like industrial workers rather than professionals. Superintendents and principals send out directives that teachers must follow. In contrast, educators at teacher-powered schools take on truly professional roles, controlling the decisions that directly affect school operations and student learning.

A recent report from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education shows that teacher-powered schools produce greater student achievement. This happens as teachers have input into the larger decisions that affect a school’s climate and ethos. Often, teacher-powered schools feature teachers working in autonomous teams and make collective decisions together.

However, implementing the teacher-powered model in schools also come with its own set of challenges. Local politics, the district’s openness to innovation, and the flexibility of local union leaders all influence whether teacher teams can successfully create and sustain a teacher-powered school.

This is an interesting and progressive concept. It accords a sense of empowerment and achievement which inspires the dedicated teacher to do better. In fact, teachers are the best people to propose school policies since they are the ones on the ground.

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