Teaching Profession

Report Outlines States’ Teacher-Policy Shifts

By Stephen Sawchuk — August 22, 2012 1 min read
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A new report gives what’s probably the most comprehensive look to date at the teacher-quality legislative and regulatory action that has kept statehouses busy since 2009, when the federal Race to the Top competition put an emphasis on reworking teacher-evaluation policies.

Written by Bellweather Education Partners analyst (and Education Week opinion blogger) Sara Mead, it’s a great resource for keeping tabs on all the complicated moving parts in these evaluation systems. (I’ll be putting a reference copy on my bookshelf posthaste.)

One of the report’s takeaways: While all 21 states require student learning to count in teacher evaluations, some states don’t require such evaluations annually or don’t specify how much weight student achievement should be given. In general, the report shows, states have done less to prescribe how the evaluations will affect things like tenure, seniority, and teacher preparation.

This is a phenomenon that also touches on the No Child Left Behind waivers that more than half the states have received. To receive a waiver, states had to pledge to update their evaluation systems to include measures of student growth, among other things. As I reported last year, however, states’ bids weren’t very clear on what consequences those evaluations would carry.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.