WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 28, 2012 -
As we begin the markup of the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, I’d like to take a moment to briefly describe the changes made in the substitute.
The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act provides states with the tools to support private entities engaged in activities that promote innovation and reform outside the traditional public school system and typical school day, such as tutoring, engineering clubs, or after school programs.
Although the legislation never included any specific provisions to support scholarships, it did allow states to determine whether to make this option available to parents as a way to improve student performance. At the behest of my colleagues, the substitute clearly specifies the funds in this program will only be used to support public school students.
As our primary goal is to support more effective teachers in the classroom, the substitute also makes a number of important changes to enhance the underlying legislation.
First, in an effort to protect an educator’s privacy, the substitute clarifies that state- and school district-developed evaluation systems should not publicize individual teacher evaluation results. I’d like to thank Representative Biggert for her work on this issue.
Second, the substitute also specifies that when recruiting mid-level professionals to become teachers, states and school districts should also make an effort to seek experts in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. I appreciate Dr. Bucshon’s work on this issue to encourage more STEM professionals in our classrooms.
Finally, to ensure educators have the training necessary to be as effective as possible, the substitute creates an optional state set-aside that can be used to establish or expand teacher or school leader preparation academies outside the traditional setting. This set-aside will support a more competitive market for teacher and school leader training, and I thank Representative Petri for his leadership on this provision.
Together, the substitute and the underlying legislation will support more effective teachers in classrooms nationwide, ensuring more children have the chance to be inspired, motivated, and challenged by an exceptional educator in a superior learning environment.
# # #