WASHINGTON— Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten following news that nearly 97 percent of teachers were rated distinguished or advanced.
"On one side of the country, a judge in California wrongly ruled that the only way to ensure that kids—particularly kids who attend high-poverty schools—have good teachers is to take away teachers' due process rights. On the other side of the country, the most recent teacher evaluation results in Pittsburgh proved this is absolutely not true. Due process not only goes hand in hand with this new evaluation system, having those rights helped to strengthen it.
"Nearly 97 percent of Pittsburgh's teachers were rated distinguished or advanced under this new evaluation system. We're not surprised at all by the dedication and talent of Pittsburgh's teaching staff who go into the classroom each and every day to help our children grow and achieve their dreams—but there's a bigger story here that rejects the assertion made in California that due process rights hurt educational quality.
"These results show what is possible when teachers, unions and the district—in a state with due process—work together on an evaluation system focused on helping teachers improve. While we may have some qualms about the construction of the evaluation system, the fact remains that far from impeding achievement due process and tenure, combined with an improvement-focused evaluation system, empower teachers and keep good teachers in the classroom, offer support to those who are struggling, and streamline the process for removing teachers who can't improve."