Friday, November 19, 2010

Update on Teacher Effectiveness and Teacher Evaluation

This past week, there were two major reports published that would be of interest to readers who are following the Kentucky work on development of a teacher effectiveness rubric and teacher evaluation system.

Kentucky began this work as part of the Race to the Top application. We have continued the work; however, the timeline has been altered. We are field-testing the rubric this year, and the Teacher Effectiveness Steering Committee is meeting often to revise and edit based on feedback from teachers, principals, superintendents and other stakeholders.

We hope to pilot a teacher effectiveness rubric and multiple evidences during the 2011-12 school year in as many as 50 districts and conduct a full state pilot in the 2012-13 school year.

From the Brookings Brown Center on Education Policy came a report about use of value-added measures in a teacher evaluation system. The report highlighted four areas of confusion about value-added.

* Public or non-public display of the data is a separate debate from whether or not to use value-added.
* Teacher consequences and student consequences from using a value-added component are not always congruent.
* Reliability of value-added measures are about as reliable as other performance measures for high-stakes decisions.
* Value-added not included in an evaluation system usually lowers the reliability of personnel decisions.

While I am not promoting the report, I do believe it offers some important points for consideration by our steering committee. For a copy of the report, visit

Another interesting report came from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) - Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers. This report starts by saying the education of teachers in the U.S. needs to be turned upside down. The report recommends a shift away from academic preparation and course work loosely linked to school-based experiences. The report also recommends more clinical practice interwoven with academic content and professional courses. To view the report, visit this link:

The Kentucky work is progressing slowly, but I believe the final product will be one that all stakeholders can support. Most of all, the product will be one that will help more teachers help more students achieve success.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sense of Urgency

While I believe Kentucky has made significant progress in education and the economy over the last 20 years, there is much work to do. As I travel across the Commonwealth, I feel that there is not a strong enough sense of urgency about the need to improve our economy and education. See if the following factoids catch your attention.

  • Thirty years ago, ten percent of California’s general fund went to higher education and three percent to prisons. Today, nearly eleven percent goes to prisons and eight percent to higher education.
  • The United States now ranks 22nd among the world’s nations in the density of broadband Internet penetration and 72nd in the density of mobile telephony subscriptions.
    The World Economic Forum ranks the United States 48th in quality of mathematics and science education.
  • Federal funding of research in the physical sciences as a fraction of gross domestic product fell by 54 percent in the 25 years after 1970. The decline in engineering funding was 51 percent.
  • In the 2009 rankings of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the U.S. was in sixth place in global innovation-based competitiveness, but ranked 40th in the rate of change over the past decade.

These factoids come from a recent report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5. This report is published by the National Academies Press and is available for download here. Check out the brief summary below. This is an essential read for policy makers and interested parents.

The original Gathering Storm competitiveness report focuses on the ability of America and Americans to compete for jobs in the evolving global economy. The possession of quality jobs is the foundation of a high quality life for the nation’s citizenry. The report paints a daunting outlook for America if it were to continue on the perilous path it has been following in recent decades with regard to sustained competitiveness.

The purpose of the present report is to assess changes in America’s competitive posture in the five years that have elapsed since the Gathering Storm report was initially published and to assess the status of implementation of the National Academies’ recommendations.

In the face of so many daunting near-term challenges, U.S. government and industry are letting the crucial strategic issues of U.S. competitiveness slip below the surface. Five years ago, the National Academies prepared Rising Above the Gathering Storm, a book that cautioned: "Without a renewed effort to bolster the foundations of our competitiveness, we can expect to lose our privileged position." Since that time, we find ourselves in a country where much has changed--and a great deal has not changed.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited is a wake-up call. To reverse the foreboding outlook will require a sustained commitment by both individual citizens and government officials--at all levels. This book, together with the original Gathering Storm volume, provides the roadmap to meet that goal. While this book is essential for policy makers, anyone concerned with the future of innovation, competitiveness, and the standard of living in the United States will find this book an ideal tool for engaging their government representatives, peers, and community about this momentous issue.