Statement of Principles on Teacher Quality and Effectiveness in the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Speaking of DFER, here's its letter to the key legislators working on renewing ESEA (NCLB):
Statement of Principles on Teacher Quality and Effectiveness in the
Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
October 7th, 2011
Dear Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Enzi, Chairman Kline, and Ranking Member Miller:
As your work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) continues, we urge you to make every effort possible to spur states and school districts to advance new policies that help ensure every child has a skilled, knowledgeable, and effective teacher and every school has an effective leader.
Research shows overwhelmingly that the only way to close achievement gaps – both gaps between U.S. students and those in higher-achieving countries and gaps within the U.S. between poor and minority students and those more advantaged – and transform public education is to recruit, develop, and retain great teachers and principals. As such, a top-notch public education system in turn requires a structure for identifying, nurturing, and rewarding greatness in classroom teaching and school leadership. Unfortunately, most existing state and local systems are not equipped to measure excellence. All too often, these systems accept mediocrity as the fullest extent of a teacher's potential.
We believe strongly that when ESEA is reauthorized it must compel states to create and implement more specific and finely tuned measures directed at improving the quality and effectiveness of teachers and principals and ensuring the equitable distribution of effective teachers across all schools, including those with high proportions of low-income and minority students.
There are other issues that all of our organizations care deeply about, including school turnarounds, the creation of new educational options for children and their parents through charter schools or other innovative models, and equity. The fact that they are not addressed in this document does not mean they are of lower priority.
For our purposes here, we want to focus solely on teacher quality, effectiveness, and equity. As such, we iterate the following principles that we believe are essential to any ESEA reauthorization: