Reality Bites: Struggle to Convert Teacher Effectiveness Promises to Policies

Colorado and Louisiana are shaping up to be the next battleground over teacher effectiveness bills in preparation for Race to the Top phase 2. In Colorado, a Democrat governor has the support of three former governors for SB191 proposed by former Mapleton principal Mike Johnson. The Denver Post outlines the “Educator Effectiveness” bill, which proposes to the common sense reform of adding student achievement data to teacher evaluation.
A similar bill may be reviewed in committee in Louisiana this week. With a little support from Gov. Jindal, this bill will move Louisiana into an elite leadership category.
Rick Hess sees the union in the driver seat during this phase and wishes Duncan would put a stake in the ground to support leaders around teacher effectiveness they way he did for Gist in Rhode Island around a school closure.
With Indiana dropping out of Race to the Top and others struggling to improve plans and build support during this ‘reality bites’ phase, leadership from governors and the White House matters. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to use the Race to launch a new performance-based employment bargain in education, but the window is closing. A half a dozen strong state laws that incorporate available data into teacher evaluations would set the stage for an ESEA re-authorization that made good on the good teacher and good school promise that we owe American kids.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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