Teacher to Teacher: Teacher Effectiveness and ESEA

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Throughout the spring, the Department of Education’s Teaching Ambassador Fellows have been having conversations with teachers about a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Our job is to listen and contribute our collective teacher voices to policy at the Department.

In our first blog, we asked about assessments. We heard from many teachers that you appreciate the focus on measuring growth over time. We also heard the desire to have authentic assessments that get at multiple points of view on student’s work, knowledge and even emotional development and provide more useful information for instruction. The Department hopes that work coming out of the Race to the Top Assessment Competition will help get us more useful assessments like this.

This blog entry is inspired by joining in the celebrations honoring this year’s State Teachers of the Year from all fifty states and territories and the National Teacher of the Year in Washington, DC this week. We enjoyed hosting these representatives of great teachers across the country for a discussion of the blueprint for ESEA reauthorization.

One teacher raised concerns about the definition of an “effective teacher.” The blueprint would require that states create definitions of effectiveness developed in collaboration with teachers, principals, and other stakeholders. In Race to the Top, the Department says that student growth must be a significant factor, but that measurements of effectiveness must include other measures, such as multiple observation-based assessments on teacher performance or evidence of leadership roles that increase the effectiveness of other teachers.

What are your thoughts on defining teacher effectiveness? Should it be based in significant part on student growth? What other measures should be taken into account?

Teacher Ambassador Fellows