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NEA touts need for comprehensive evaluation systems

Educators emphasize concerns about ineffective evaluation systems

WASHINGTON - June 01, 2009 -

A report released today by The New Teacher Project identifies how poor teacher performance is rarely identified or addressed, and argues that the reasons school districts retain low-performing teachers have less to do with tenure and due process and more to do with flawed evaluation systems.  The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness highlights a position that NEA has long advocated: the need for comprehensive evaluation systems designed to help teachers enhance their own professional practice. Using case studies in four districts, the report shows how schools fail to identify or act on differences in teacher performance.

The report offers many positive recommendations, and NEA recommends that reforming evaluation systems be done in partnership with teachers and within the collective bargaining process.

 The following can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:
“Students enrolled in our public schools deserve competent, caring, and effective teachers. Every day, millions of dedicated education professionals enter classrooms intent on doing their best to make sure students succeed.  Yet, as this report highlights, glaring systemic defects prevent too many teachers from improving their practice. 

“We have had more than enough policy debates on the issue of teacher evaluation. The ‘reward and punish’ philosophy of many administrators and policymakers is wrong. It excludes teachers from the process and does little to improve classroom learning or further the profession. The central principle of any teacher assessment system must be to improve knowledge, skills and classroom practice of professional educators with the ultimate goal of enhancing student learning. 

“It is time that we made the social, political and financial commitments to develop comprehensive assessment, evaluation and professional development systems. These systems should be designed to improve the knowledge, skills and effectiveness of the teacher workforce and work to ensure that every student gets the necessary resources, which include well-trained, high-quality teachers in every classroom.”

To learn more about NEA’s position on teacher assessment and evaluation, please visit:

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing
3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Michelle Hudgins
(202) 822-7823,