Right now, Senate and the House of Representatives leaders are working to reform No Child Left Behind legislation, formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
It is key that NCLB reforms include provisions that will ensure every child has a skilled, knowledgeable, and effective teacher and every school has an effective leader.
Research has repeatedly shown that the only way to close the achievement gap and transform our public schools is to recruit and retain great teachers and principals. Our schools must have structures for finding, educating, and rewarding greatness in the classroom.
In particular, StudentsFirst is encouraging Congress to support NCLB reforms that ensure districts implement meaningful evaluation systems for teachers based on multiple measures including both student achievement growth and classroom observation. Using evaluations rather than seniority to inform hiring, tenure, and compensation decisions is essential.
In addition, we need to support our teachers by providing them with professional development tailored to their needs.
Finally, states and districts must ensure an equitable distribution of highly effective teachers and leaders so that minority and low-income kids have equal access to great teachers.
Take action today to urge Congress to take these important steps toward guaranteeing great teachers and a great education to every child.
I'm writing to you today to join the call from StudentsFirst and 25 other organizations dedicated to education reform to make sure that teacher and school leader quality is addressed in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Research shows overwhelmingly that the only way to close achievement gaps – both gaps between U.S. students and those in higher-achieving countries and gaps within the U.S. between poor and minority students and those more advantaged – and transform public education is to recruit, develop, and retain great teachers and principals. As such, a top-notch public education system requires a structure for identifying, nurturing, and rewarding greatness in classroom teaching and school leadership.
We believe strongly that when ESEA is reauthorized it must compel states to create and implement rigorous and consistent evaluation systems for teachers and leaders that use objective measures of student achievement growth in addition to other criteria such as classroom observations. These evaluations should be used to reward effective teachers and leaders and provide professional development tailored to their needs. And when necessary, evaluations should be used to dismiss teachers or principals who are consistently ineffective. To do otherwise would be a disservice to students.
In addition, states and districts must ensure the equitable distribution of effective teachers across all schools, including those with high proportions of low-income and minority students.
Thank you for your consideration of these issues. I look forward to seeing your progress revising and amending ESEA to further our shared goal that every child has access to a high quality education.
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