June 25, 2009
Statement by AFT President Randi Weingarten on
New Teacher Evaluation Report from the Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress today released a new report, "So Long, Lake Wobegon? Using Teacher Evaluation to Raise Teacher Quality." The report calls on districts to rethink and reform teacher evaluation in order to improve instruction and expand student learning.
WASHINGTON – In order to improve the quality of education in America, school districts must do a better job of evaluating and supporting teachers. "So Long, Lake Wobegon?" properly acknowledges the critical role that strong teacher evaluation systems play in improving instruction and raising student achievement.
The AFT concurs with the report's recommendation that we craft evaluation systems that use a wide variety of data, rather than relying solely on test scores or implementing other "silver bullet" approaches without teacher input. Innovative evaluation systems, such as those that include peer assistance and review programs, have been effective because they evaluate teachers regularly, provide resources and support, particularly for struggling teachers, and identify those teachers who should be counseled out of the profession. We applaud author Morgaen Donaldson's assertion that all stakeholders, including teachers, must play a role in developing evaluation systems.
"So Long, Lake Wobegon?" is a welcome addition to the ongoing discussion of how to improve teaching and learning in our nation's classrooms.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.