Iowa’s TLC: The nation has taken notice
It’s said the best form of flattery is imitation. Well, Iowa, feel flattered. That’s because the state’s Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) system is catching the attention of states across the nation.
Lora Rasey knows this well. Rasey, a TLC consultant at the Iowa Department of Education, has fielded calls, sent materials, hosted Zoom meetings and given presentations to more than a half dozen states. So far.
“We’re the only state that has done it statewide, and we’re the only one to fund it like we fund it,” Rasey said. “They are looking for things that they can replicate.”
In essence, Iowa is the go-to state on all things TLC.
The system is designed to reward teachers with leadership opportunities and higher pay which, in turn, attracts promising new teachers with competitive starting salaries and support. In addition, TLC fosters greater collaboration for teachers to learn from one another.
The end goal, of course, is to ensure all students are receiving a top-notch education.
All districts in the state are participating and, since TLC was implemented gradually over a four-year period, are in varying degrees of implementation with their systems. Approximately 10,000 teachers in the state have since assumed leadership roles.
Data shows TLC to be making a big difference.
“Schools are saying they are highly satisfied with their induction programs for new teachers,” Rasey said, referring to intensive and concentrated coaching that first- and second-year teachers receive. “TLC resources have helped improve the quality of mentoring and induction.”
Collaboration among teachers, in which teachers share ideas and solutions, has skyrocketed. And ongoing professional development isn’t random for educators but focused on real issues.
As for student achievement?
Data shows that two years ago, 50 percent of educators said they met their student achievement goals. Last year that increased by 6 percentage points to 56 percent.
“The increase shows that instruction is getting better for kids,” Rasey said. “The best way to improve achievement is to improve instruction.”