WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 24, 2013
Studies have consistently shown teacher quality to be among the most influential factors in student academic achievement. Unfortunately, federal teacher policies, most notably the “Highly Qualified Teacher” mandates, value a teacher’s credentials over his or her ability to boost student learning.
Under current law, an educator is considered “highly qualified” if he or she has earned a bachelor’s degree, holds a state certification or license, and can demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter in question. Many states have coupled these federal requirements with additional prerequisites, including advanced certifications, graduate degrees, and experience. As a result, schools focus more on a teacher’s résumé than his or her ability to keep students engaged, challenged, and progressing in the classroom.
It’s time to turn the conversation from highly qualified to highly effective. Instead of relying on teacher credentials or tenure requirements, which provide little information about teachers’ ability to help students excel in the classroom, the Student Success Act will eliminate the onerous “Highly Qualified Teacher” requirement and instead call on states or school districts to develop their own teacher evaluation systems. These evaluation systems must be based in part on student achievement, ensuring educators will be judged fairly based on their effectiveness in the classroom.
THE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT
- Repeals federal "Highly Qualified Teacher" requirements.
- Supports the development and implementation of teacher evaluation systems to ensure parents have the information they need to make decisions about their child’s education.
- Sets broad parameters – including linkages to student achievement data – that must be included in any teacher evaluation system, but allows states and school districts to design their own systems.
- Requires states and school districts to seek input from parents, teachers, school leaders, and other staff as they develop the evaluation system.
- Directs states and school districts to make personnel decisions based on the evaluations, as determined by the school district.
- Consolidates teacher quality programs into a new Teacher and School Leader Flexible Grant, which supports creative approaches to recruit and retain effective educators.
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