November 12, 2011

EWA Teacher Evaluation Seminar

Evaluating Teachers: Beyond the Rhetoric

Few education issues are as fraught with controversy as teacher evaluation. Fierce debates are playing out at the local, state, and national levels, as efforts accelerate to revamp systems widely seen as ineffective at meaningfully distinguishing among teachers or helping them improve.

But behind the headline-grabbing battles in Congress, state capitals, and local school boards, people are rolling up their sleeves and getting down to work. Rather than pondering the pros and cons of tying student test scores to individual teachers, they are wrestling with how to put such data to responsible use. Instead of asking whether teachers’ job assessments should be linked to student performance, they are tackling hard, practical questions about how that should be done.

Our goal for our Nov. 12 seminar, “Evaluating Teachers: Beyond the Rhetoric,” was to get beyond the sound bites and offer genuine insights into the rapid changes taking place in how the nation’s teachers are held accountable for performance and what those changes mean for the nation’s education system as a whole.

The seminar reverberated with a few persistent themes from our speakers. First, teacher evaluations should not be punitive but should help educators improve their practice. Secondly, teachers want better evaluation systems that help them do just that.

Here are some links to coverage drawn from the seminar:

This seminar was hosted by The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute and made possible in part by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation.