Teaching Profession

Will States Hold Firm to NCLB-Era Teacher Evaluations?

By Stephen Sawchuk — January 07, 2016 1 min read
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One of the very first things state officials are likely as they implement the newly signed-into-law Every Student Succeeds Act: Do they keep their revamped teacher-evaluation systems in place?

It’s one of the themes I explore in a story in this week’s Education Week, part of a great package on the new federal law put together by the entire newsroom.

Quick refresher: Via the Race to the Top and the Education Department’s NCLB-waiver program, most states moved to overhaul their teacher-evaluation systems, coupling observations of teachers with some measure of student achievement based on standardized test scores. I probably don’t have to remind you just how controversial that has been.

ESSA, by contrast, contains no requirements for states to do anything on teacher evaluation (though they can use their share of teacher-quality funds for that purpose if they want).

For now, the landscape looks mixed. Some states, like North Carolina and New Mexico, plan to stay the course on their new systems. But leaders in at least three other states—New York, Oklahoma, and South Carolina—have either changed course, or seem open to it. Read my story for details.

Teachers’ unions and others who have criticized the new systems see an opening here to lobby for more changes, and the pressure is on in other ways; in a survey released recently by the Georgia education department, teachers cited evaluations as one reason the state has had a hard time hanging on to teachers, the Associated Press reported.

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