Keeping Continuous Growth at Teacher Evaluation's Core
Even in this age of political discord, most people would agree that the main purpose of newly adopted teacher-evaluation instruments is to help teachers improve their effectiveness. However, a policy disconnect stands in the way of using these new evaluation models to actually improve educator practices. To understand why, let’s take a look at the genesis of the recent teacher-evaluation movement.
When President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law, the federal government’s goals were to stimulate the economy, support job creation, and invest in critical sectors, including education. The law provided $4 billion for the Race to the Top competition, which rewarded states for certain education reforms. The first round of grants focused on making sure that states were serious about teacher accountability; to receive funding, state officials had to enact sweeping changes in how teachers were to be evaluated.
Race to the Top implied that we can no longer afford to retain ineffective teachers and clearly shifted the emphasis behind developing new teacher-evaluation models to the policy arena of accountability from its traditional foundations in continuous...
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