The best and worst states for teacher policy

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, @eSN_Meris
February 10th, 2014

Teacher policy report discusses what makes for good teacher policy and which states still have work to do

teacher-policy-NCTQTeacher quality has been a hot, if polarizing, topic in education recently, with many states making what some perceive to be progressive steps in teacher policy. One new report gives grades to states in how well they’re implementing these teacher policies, from teacher preparation to dismissal.

The report, “State Teacher Policy Yearbook,” by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) provides an analysis of every state law, rule and regulation that “shapes the effectiveness of the teaching profession,” it says, from teacher preparation and evaluation, to compensation, professional development (PD) and dismissal policy.

According to the report, states in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, averaged an “improved” C- for their teacher policies in 2013, up from a grade of D+ in 2011 and D in 2009.

“The improvement in the state grades in this year’s [report] proves it is both possible and practical for states to drive teacher effectiveness through smart policies,” said Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ. “Many states once argued that implementing policies such as evaluations of teacher effectiveness, tying tenure and dismissal policies to student achievement, and raising the bar for teacher prep couldn’t be done. Now, these policies are on the books in increasing numbers of states across the nation, helping ensure that all children have effective teachers.

(Next page: The best and worst states; measures)