In Shaw’s educational universe, “It’s the teachers who are important.” His goal — doubling the number of kids in the “advanced:” category in five years — focuses on teachers. “Most of the variable is teachers so you focus on teaching. You try to use techniques that are effective with different kinds of kids.” And he also would use a pay-for-performance plan to reward the best teachers.
Although he’s been a professor at UW-Madison for five years, he had a key criticism: “At the University of Wisconsin, the best teachers get the best kids. That system is not working. We need to share the best teachers with the kids who are struggling.” And he wants to improve teaching at Unified first by speeding up the hiring process, cutting through the delays that let the best new grads commit early to other districts, and by developing our existing teachers through active coaching. “Teachers working with other teachers, not just lectures. Professional development must be embedded in the schedule,” he said.