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Letter to House Committee for Teacher Quality Hearing

July 25, 2011

Dear Representative:


The National Education Association, representing 3.2 million educators across the nation, would like to share with you the enclosed materials in advance of this week’s hearing in the Committee on Education and the Workforce on Education Reforms: Exploring Teacher Quality Initiatives.

Attached for your information and use are:

The recently adopted Policy Statement – approved by a majority vote of more than 8,000 delegates to the Association’s Annual Meeting earlier this month -- puts the focus on what is best for students and the profession of teaching.  It puts NEA on the record, for the first time, as calling for a comprehensive overhaul of both teacher evaluation and accountability systems to advance student learning.  The Policy Statement lays out rigorous standards and delineates the multiple indicators of teacher practice that must be taken into account.  Clearly articulating the link between teacher accountability and student success, the Statement defines an appropriate evaluation system and gives the context for how such assessments should incorporate student assessment indicators into teacher evaluation.

NEA believes that our students and teachers deserve high quality evaluation systems that provide the tools teachers need to continuously tailor instruction, enhance practice, and advance student learning.  Teacher evaluation and accountability systems should reflect the input of the experts — classroom teachers — and be based on multiple measures in three broad areas: practice, professional development, and growth in student learning. 

However, we strongly believe that the responsibility for crafting teacher evaluation and accountability systems should lie at the state and local level.  Other professions make those decisions for themselves and so should the teaching profession.  In a country as large and diverse as the United States, one size does NOT fit all.  Teacher tenure and accountability decisions should be made at the state or local level through collective bargaining, legislation, or policy decisions.  The federal government should have no role in determining the specific performance measures of a local employee.  Rather, the federal role should be limited to ensuring states can attest that every school district has a rigorous, comprehensive system developed jointly between school districts and educators.

We hope the enclosed materials will be useful to you as Congress moves forward on these critical issues.  Thank you for your attention to this important information.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson         
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy