AAE Weighs in on Teacher Accountability in NCLB Overhaul
Alexandria, VA – Following pressure from the national teacher unions, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) axed a major teacher evaluation provision from his No Child Left Behind overhaul this week, much to the dismay of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other education reform advocates.
On the heels of the latest news from Capitol Hill, AAE Executive Director Gary Beckner issued the following statement:
"AAE applauds the Senate's efforts to come up with a bipartisan solution to the issues under NCLB; however, this latest amendment falls short in addressing teacher accountability. Reform organizations and other likeminded groups recognize that the most critical element in student success is an effective teacher. Without steps to steer states toward accountability, any NCLB overhaul would be incomplete.
The fact is everyone from the Secretary of Education to the presidents of the teacher unions agrees that our teacher evaluation systems are broken. Presently, 20 states have passed bills on educator evaluation within the past two years, many with bipartisan support. While states like Indiana, Florida and New York are leading the way, abandoning accountability at the federal level is not the answer in creating a system that works. Our teachers and students cannot wait decades for the remaining states to follow suit.
Our membership surveys indicate that teachers want to be held accountable and rewarded for their achievements. While opposition against teacher evaluation based solely on student test scores is strong, the union-led perception that educators do not want to be evaluated by test scores is a sweeping generalization. A solid majority of AAE member teachers support a comprehensive value-added model of evaluation that includes student tests scores among other quantifiers.
Clearly we must find a common ground that addresses accountability. The initial draft of the NCLB overhaul struck an appropriate balance between demanding change and respecting the discretion of states and school districts to tailor policies to their unique needs. We encourage reconsidering teacher evaluations and accountability in the debates leading to passage."
In an effort to make AAE's position known to Congress, Mr. Beckner signed on to a letter to Senate leadership stating the case for accountability. Click here to read the letter sent in partnership with groups such as Education Trust.
The Association of American Educators is the largest national, non-union, professional educators' association, offering an alternative to the partisan politics and non-educational agendas of the teacher labor unions. AAE does not endorse, support or contribute to any political cause or candidacy. AAE has members in all 50 states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $15 per month which includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional development resources as well as a host of other benefits. Visit aaeteachers.org for further information.