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Joe with a group of local Atlanta Students.
Joe with teachers

Joe will focus on actions to enhance the teaching profession.

For Teachers

Joe Martin stands up for Georgia's educators.

As State School Superintendent, Joe will be a strong and unwavering advocate for the people who have dedicated their lives to the education of our students.

Research has demonstrated over and over that the quality of teaching is the indispensable and decisive element in student learning. That is why we must raise standards and recognize exceptional performance in a way that is fair to teachers. It is essential for a person entering the teaching profession to see the potential for a rewarding and meaningful career.

There is a concerted push nationally to adopt some form of pay for performance. No one can argue with the premise, but basing compensation on a testing system that is flawed in major ways does not make sense. Instead, Joe favors a rigorous but fair and positive approach for the retention, promotion, and compensation of teachers.

Student achievement must of course be a part of any evaluation system, but evaluations should not be based solely on standardized test scores. Moreover, the foundation of any reasonable evaluation is not the absolute level of such scores but the degree of improvement.

Joe will work with teachers and school leaders to establish a performance-based career path for teachers. As in other professions, a career path for teachers would include distinct levels based on demonstrated competence with increasing responsibilities and compensation at each level. As one example, a new teacher would receive mentoring and other support, move when ready to a professional status on the basis of demonstrated performance, later assume the duties of a mentor to new teachers, and ultimately become a master teacher at the top of the profession if he or she chooses the next step in the progression.

It is crucial to invigorate our schools by allowing more latitude to our teachers and school leaders in achieving educational goals and allocating resources to meet student needs. Our schools and educators should be held accountable for the steady improvement of student performance, based on multiple indicators. There should be remedial steps and ultimately sanctions for the lack of progress over a reasonable period of time and meaningful rewards for "growth" in student achievement.

Meanwhile, there should be fewer rules to hamstring teachers and local systems. Rigid, arbitrary rules sap local initiative and inevitably lead to regimentation. There is also a need to adjust compensation and vary staffing patterns for the purpose of attracting teachers for hard-to-fill positions and meeting specific student needs.

Joe realizes that the leadership provided by the principal is the key to a good school. He will support evaluation models that are based on the demonstrated behaviors of effective principals and work with others in developing ways for present and future school leaders to improve their skills and knowledge. He also realizes that reinforcing the leadership provided by the principal is the best way to address the needs of struggling schools.

Enhance the teaching profession: Joe will work with teachers and others in establishing a performance-based career path for teachers and will oppose merit pay tied to standardized test scores.

Strengthen and support school leadership: Joe understands the critical importance of school leadership, especially for struggling schools.

Allow local discretion: Joe opposes the rigid rules that impede creativity in meeting the needs of our students and increase costs unnecessarily.