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The troubled state of teacher evaluation is a glaring and largely neglected problem in public education, an enterprise that spends $400 billion annually on salaries and benefits. Because teacher evaluation is at the heart of the educational enterprise —the quality of teaching in the nation’s classrooms—it has the potential to be a powerful lever of teacher and school improvement. But that potential is being squandered throughout public education today.
A host of factors—a lack of accountability for school performance, staffing practices that strip school systems of incentives to take teacher evaluation seriously, union ambivalence, and public education’s practice of using teacher credentials as a proxy for teacher quality—have resulted in teacher evaluation systems throughout public education that are superficial, capricious, and often don’t even directly address the quality of instruction, much less measure students’ learning.
In this Education Sector report, Co-founder and Co-director Thomas Toch and Robert Rothman of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform examine the causes and consequences of the crisis in teacher evaluation, as well as its implications for the current national debate about performance pay for teachers. And the report examines a number of national, state, and local evaluation systems that point to a way out of the evaluation morass.
This research was funded in part by KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation. We thank the foundations for their support but acknowledge that the findings and conclusions presented in this report are those of the authors alone and do not represent the opinions of the foundations.
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