National reports on teacher tenure aim at evaluations
Lots of things to consider in two new reports out this morning from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that’s raising tough questions about teacher quality. Teacher tenure laws need a “serious overhaul,” but don’t need to be killed, the center says in the first report.
This is a more nuanced position than we’ve heard in Florida, but the debate here isn’t over.
Like the New Teacher Project report from a few weeks ago, the center concludes the bigger problem is a worthless teacher evaluation system. “What is clear from this review is that fixing tenure first and foremost involves defining what effective practice is,” the report says. “We cannot ‘fix’ the tenure process without clear, shared standards of excellent practice and tools and procedures to measure that practice. Our current teacher evaluation practices are weak and designed at best to weed out the most egregious teachers, rather than to cultivate rigorous performance of all teachers.”
The center’s second report, “So Long, Lake Wobegon?”, says the teacher evaluation issue is being pushed onto the front burner by school choice and accountability. “Traditional public schools now face pressure from without by charter schools, voucher programs, and the growing home-school movement and from within by accountability measures. They can no longer do business as usual, or merely assert that their teachers are ‘highly qualified.’ "
(Cartoon from Raleigh News & Observer.)