The Race to the Top competition pushed states to change education policies in 2010, concludes the National Council on Teacher Quality in its State Teacher Policy Yearbook. Twenty-one states now require annual evaluations of all teachers, up from 15 in 2009. Fourteen states now hold teacher preparation programs accountable for their graduates’ students performance, up from only one the year before.
However, “most states’ evaluation, tenure and dismissal policies remain disconnected from classroom effectiveness,” NCTQ concludes. In addition, “rather than working to expand the teacher pipeline, many states create obstacles in their alternate routes to certification.”
“Simply put, the nation’s thousands of teacher preparation programs are good at churning out teachers but far less successful at ensuring that those teachers meet the needs of public schools and students,” say the authors.
The brief proposes creating a federal framework for evaluating teacher preparation programs, using “outcomes-based indicators of quality,” and establishing competitive grants to encourage states and institutions to change “how, and how rigorously, they monitor, evaluate, and improve their teacher preparation programs.” Streamlining financial aid should include “eliminating TEACH Grants, an ineffective pre-service grant program, and using those resources to expand debt forgiveness benefits for high-quality classroom teachers.”
Education Week has several commentaries on the future of teaching.