Advancing opportunity

Education will be a priority for the newly launched Hamilton Project, a Brookings offshoot dedicated to “advancing opportunity, prosperity and growth” (and generating policy ideas for moderate Democrats).

Hamilton economists call for improving teacher quality by figuring out how to measure effectiveness on the job instead of restricting entry through credentialing.

We propose federal support to help states measure the effectiveness of individual teachers—based on their impact on student achievement, subjective evaluations by principals and peers, and parental evaluations. States would be given considerable discretion to develop their own measures, as long as student achievement impacts (using so-called “value-added” measures) are a key component. The federal government would pay for bonuses to highly rated teachers willing to teach in high-poverty schools.

In exchange for federal dollars schools would have to deny tenure to low-rated teachers, except in special circumstances, and make it easier for people in other careers to enter teaching and prove their effectiveness on the job.

The new measures of teacher performance would also provide key data for teachers and schools to use in their efforts to improve their performance.

It certainly would be very useful to have an accepted way to evaluate teacher effectiveness, but it’s a long way from here to there.

Eduwonk has more and observes the AFTie bloggers aren’t impressed.

About Joanne


  1. RE: We propose federal support to help states measure the effectiveness of individual teachers

    I’m not impressed. The theory of federalism is that each of our 50 states serves as a “laboratory of democracy” providing models for other states to emulate or reject. Here in the NJ laboratory, we have 566 school district “mini laboratories”.

    Rather than a federal program to look for a way to assess teacher effectiveness, how about federal recognition for school districts that implement (for at least three years) an assessment system that works for them?