George Parker is a veteran math teacher and former head of the teachers union in Washington, DC. As union president, he spearheaded with then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee reforms removing seniority and creating more detailed teacher evaluations so good educators could be rewarded generously—and quickly—for doing a good job in the classroom. Struggling teachers, in turn, got detailed feedback that gave them the tools to improve. Though initially controversial, the design of the new system won over teachers.
As Pennsylvania establishes a new teacher evaluation system for public schools this year, Free to Teach sat down with George for a podcast to learn about his district’s experiences, his “A-ha” moment that changed his views on evaluations and seniority, how his union was able to work with teachers to design a popular system.