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teacher quality

Why Teacher Evaluation is the Wrong Priority

Three years from now, in 2017, the current focus on teacher evaluation will have died away. Not that it wasn’t needed; it’s true that teacher evaluation has been flawed for many decades. However, the fundamental education challenge we face is not evaluating teaching, it is improving teaching. The problem is that teacher evaluation is only one of many levers of influence required to improve teaching, and it’s not the most powerful one at that. This isn’t to say that pressing for improving teacher evaluation has not been without some real benefit. It caused the development of complex rubrics that spell out the range and complexity of successful teaching. This is the beginning of forming a common image for what good teaching looks and sounds like. This is the good news. Continue reading

What Do We Mean by “Teacher Quality”?

teacher1“Teacher Quality” to some people means teacher qualifications like degrees, postgraduate study, and experience. Unfortunately, number of degrees, institutions from which they come, or years of experience do not predict which teachers will get good results for students. To others teacher quality means young people with passion, high degrees of literacy, and commitments to disadvantaged children. In other words, young, motivated Americans who are literate, like children, and want to make a difference. There is nothing wrong with getting motivated, literate, young people who like children interested in teaching, but that by itself isn’t enough to close the achievement gap and lift results for disadvantaged students.  Continue reading