January 29, 2010
Statement from Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On New Reports Assessing States’ Education Systems
Two reports assessing states’ performance on education systems and data usage were released today. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its 2009 State Teacher Policy Yearbook. The Data Quality Campaign released “10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use.”
WASHINGTON—A report released today by the Data Quality Campaign points out just how far we have to go to give teachers the tools they need. The report found that not a single state has taken the steps necessary to ensure that “educators know how to access, analyze and use data appropriately.” It shows that we need to put our efforts not just into labeling teachers, but also into supporting them so they can help every child succeed.
At the same time, another report seems to place the blame on teachers. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s 2009 Teacher Policy Yearbook grades state systems without any recommendations to address district problems with recruiting, retaining and evaluating teachers. Worse, the findings can be misinterpreted, especially since effective teachers far outnumber those who are ineffective.
On Jan. 12, I proposed a plan that calls for an ongoing and comprehensive teacher development and evaluation system that sets high standards for teaching, and uses fair and valid measures of teaching practice and student learning—including test scores, among other indicators. The key ingredients for this overhaul to work are more labor-management collaboration and increased teacher voice in all education decisions.
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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.