Public Policy Priorities
We believe that teachers should be well prepared to teach their students and to work collaboratively with others in accordance with the KDP vision to “strive to a high degree of professional fellowship, leadership, and growth in the field of education.” Among other qualities, skilled teachers should have:
- Appropriate certification in the areas they teach and understanding of how their own disciplines relate to other disciplines.
- Practical knowledge, understanding, and experience in planning and using education standards that are research-based.
- In-the-field preparation throughout their coursework to allow for appropriate depth and breadth of perspective as they prepare to enter the field.
- An extensive understanding of the foundations of education and current research-based applications of teaching and learning.
- A willingness to teach in a learning community based on trust and inclusiveness and work with others to create an environment that engages students and encourages positive social interaction.
- An understanding of how all students learn and develop, the ability to create instructional opportunities adapted to their particular needs, and the capacity to help them reach their full potential.
- The qualities that embody life-long learners and continually seek to improve their craft.
KDP’s mission is to “sustain an honored community of diverse educators by promoting excellence and advancing scholarship, leadership, and service,” which requires teachers to be well trained and committed to serving their students. Once they enter the profession, teachers must continue learning in a collaborative manner. Among other key characteristics, teacher quality should encompass:
- Knowledge and understanding of learning standards
- Professional preparation, motivation, and commitment.
- Lifelong learning, reflection, and growth as professionals.
- Critical thinking about their own practice, professional dispositions, as well as seeking and incorporating feedback on their performance.
- High ethical standards that exemplify the virtues teachers seek to inspire in students.
- Collaborative work with colleagues, parents, and community members to promote an inclusive and holistic learning environment.
- Research-based best practices that maximize teaching and learning.
- A teacher evaluation based on fair and reasonable criteria developed with input from teachers.
Resources and Support:
KDP believes that teachers must receive adequate resources and support to maximize their abilities. The purpose is to maintain a supportive community of learners that views teachers as valued colleagues. Necessary resources and support include the following:
- Consideration that recognizes professional growth and development of teacher expertise, which should incorporate an individual’s goals in conjunction with needs of the school.
- Comprehensive, sustained professional development programs based on the best research-based methods of teaching and learning.
- Appropriate class sizes, adequate working conditions, and access to appropriate materials and challenging curriculum.
- Evaluations that involve specific feedback on the areas to develop and opportunities to improve performance within a specified time.
KDP believes that student achievement, which includes personal growth as well as academic success, is the ultimate outcome of effective education. As part of KDP’s mission to “recognize excellence in education,” KDP believes that:
- Teachers should make every effort to ensure that all students continue to grow and develop as learners.
- Student achievement should be viewed in terms of social/interpersonal, critical thinking, and communication skills.
- Assessment results should be interpreted and applied to the purposes for which they were designed.
- Assessments should include ongoing formative assessments that teachers coordinate, plan, and develop as well as the end-of-course summative assessments that are typically developed at the state level.
- Student performance data should be used to inform and improve instruction to ensure continued growth.
- Teachers should empower students to become self-directing and self-assessing learners.
- Every effort should be made to reduce achievement gaps amongst students in terms of race, culture, gender, disability, socioeconomic status, and other demographic variables.
- Students should have access to appropriate resources and effective instruction.
- Student achievement should always encompass quantitative and qualitative data that is developed, administered, and analyzed with input from teachers.
- Student achievement is dependent upon community and family support to ensure a child’s well-being and readiness for learning.
- Educators must acknowledge the importance of students' physical, physiological, and emotional states on their readiness for learning.
- Educators incorporate global learning communities to leverage student achievement in our 21st century learning environment.
- Teachers promote reflective and critical thinking among learners, fostering creativity, self-assessment, and intrinsic motivation.