From the Director's Desk
As I listen to the national education conversation, recently heightened and hyped by the movie Waiting for Superman, I am troubled that the current conversation has set up a false dichotomy that obscures the deeper challenges associated with improving the quality of teaching for every student. The current conversation suggests that if we can just find a way to get rid of those bad teachers in our ranks, and reward those good teachers, then all will be well with the world. This false dichotomy obscures the more fundamental reality which is that there are very few completely ineffective teachers and conversely very few completely effective teachers. With this month’s newsletter theme of teacher evaluation, I want to focus my message on the larger national education conversation that has spawned, among other things, the effort to overhaul teacher evaluation and accountability systems.
Tying Teacher Evaluation to Student Achievement - Caution, Yellow Light Ahead
By Dr. Susan H. Fuhrman, President of Teachers College, Columbia University
The Obama administration, through its Race to the Top initiative, is encouraging states to develop approaches for evaluating teachers that incorporate student-achievement results. This aspect of the program has been controversial, prompting some teachers’ unions to refuse to endorse state applications for competitive federal grants. However, a number of efforts to develop such indices of teacher effectiveness are under way, and the American Federation of Teachers’ president, Randi Weingarten, has publicly endorsed including student-achievement results along with other measures to evaluate teacher success.
Side by Side Comparison of Teacher Evaluation in Practice
As a result of the requirements for Race to the Top and the ESEA Reauthorization: A Blueprint for Reform, most states and districts are currently revising or have recently implemented new teacher evaluation systems. The chart below provides a short overview of several district-level teacher evaluation systems that are frequently referenced in the education media.
The terminology used in the chart to describe the main components of each district’s teacher evaluation system was devised by CEL staff. We recognize that these terms are context-specific and encourage our readers to “click” on the hyperlink found in each district’s name at the top of the chart in order to access more in-depth information about each of the teacher evaluation systems.
CEL Taking Research to Practice
CEL Launches PSESD Superintendents' Network
Earlier this fall CEL launched another superintendents’ network in partnership with the Puget Sound Educational Service District. Superintendents and their immediate deputy/assistant from the following Washington State school districts are participating: Eatonville, Enumclaw, Orting, Peninsula, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie Valley, and Tahoma.
CEL Participating in Washington State's New Teacher Evaluation Pilot
Washington State's recent legislation calling for development and implementation of a new Teacher/Principal Evaluation (Pilot) program has set off an intensive discussion among educators and communities statewide about what good teaching looks like and how to evaluate it. The new law (E2SSB 6696 - Regarding Education Reform (2010)) enacted in support of the state's efforts to participate in Race to the Top, requires Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to partner with the Washington Education Association, Washington Association of School Administrators, the Association of Washington School Principals, and the Washington State Parent Teacher Association to design a process for improving the state's principal and teacher evaluation systems.