Since the 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a large number of states have backed away from recently enacted policies that were designed to breathe new life into moribund teacher and principal evaluation systems, according to new research from the National Council on Teacher Quality.
No fewer than 30 states have recently withdrawn at least one of the evaluation reforms that they adopted during a flurry of national activity between 2009 and 2015.
Those reforms were in response to compelling evidence that evaluation systems served no real purpose, giving almost all educators the same rating and relying almost entirely on subjective measures, rather than objective evidence of a teacher’s contribution to student learning.
“The federal law passed in 2015, in fulfilling its pledge to return more authority to states, removed the political cover states needed to make these changes,” said NCTQ President Kate Walsh. “Given the intense pressure on states to backtrack, the outcome may not be surprising, but it is disheartening.”