The best and worst states for teacher policy (continued)

However, the report emphasizes that, in its opinion, most states still have a “long way to go” to ensure that new teachers are classroom-ready.

Areas that need improvement, says the report, are:

  • Nearly all states set a low academic bar for teachers: “Whether measured by a test or GPA, academic requirements established by states for admission to teacher preparation are weak or non-existent,” notes the report.
  • There is a significant early childhood licensing loophole: Only six states require prospective teachers to pass elementary content tests with separate scores for each subject.
  • Special education continues to be a broken area of teacher policy: 28 states still offer only a K-12 certification in special education, requiring no specialization by subject.
  • Teacher preparation programs lack accountability.

Another criticism of teacher policy across states is in their lack of action on policies aimed at recruiting and retaining the best teachers in the profession.

For instance, few states “compensate effective teacher for their accomplishments with students, many burden teachers with unnecessary coursework…that have little or no impact on teacher effectiveness, and not enough tailor [PD] and support to teacher performance results,” says the report.

For more information on NCTQ’s report, visit the Yearbook website, which provides national and state-specific reports, searchable access to the data, topical pages, a customized search tool, and options for generating graphic results that can be exported and shared.

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3 Responses to “The best and worst states for teacher policy”

Once again, using a business model of evaluating teacher performance through objective student assessment and alternate pathways into teacher licensure does not evaluate a teacher’s expertise. Multi-source growth models are the only effective means for evaluating student growth. Once a year, high stakes, standardized assessments are only one small piece for students and even less for teacher effectiveness. Multiple variables that play into student performance. As far was alternate means to teacher licensure, content knowledge does not always translate into the ability to meet students where they are, where they need to be, what their differentiated needs are, and how to provide individual instruction in a group setting. One size does not fit all. Students are not “widgets”! They’re human beings that come to education with different backgrounds, needs, and abilities.

    You are exactly right. Learning is a process and does not conform to the business model of specific metrics. The statistical value-added model that is presently being used is inexact, inappropriate, and unreasonable in the implications that are being asserted with respect to teacher effectiveness. It’s a red herring. It’s smoke and mirrors. Those who drive the politicalization of education can’t even begin to understand the true nature of learning. They are arguably self consumed by ego, possibly greed, or maybe just ignorant. My fervent wish is that those who perpetuate this harm will be enlightened.

One of the biggest flaws in education as a business model is the failure to recognize the essential differences between students and employees. When employees do not produce, management fires them and hires employees who will produce. When students do not produce, it is the fault of the teacher (manager) who is then at risk of firing or loss in pay.
And the emphasis on test scores has other negative impacts. I see so many excellent teachers who no longer offer the incredible learning experiences they used to because they are so pressured to have students score well on standardized tests. It does take longer to teach Shakespeare when you have the students role play and recreate the scenes from the play. However, those students will understand the play much better and develop a better appreciation of the literature. Those educational experiences fall by the wayside due to the increased content required by the test and the decreased time provided in the classroom.
Another issue is what those tests actually test. Do they test the student’s appreciation and understanding of a literature form? Or does the test ask the students to match synonyms? Is it testing the upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy or the lower levels? The upper levels creativity, evaluation, and analysis are hard to measure with a standardized test.