Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education held another of its monthly Education Stakeholders Forums, with this one focused on effective teachers and leaders. Topics included how we ensure that all students have access to the best teachers, which measures are used to evaluate teacher effectiveness, and the importance of support and resources such as mentoring and professional development.
At the forum we also heard from a panel of outside speakers who each addressed which parts of NCLB worked and which parts were not helpful. Arlene Ackerman, Superintendant of Philadelphia Public Schools, felt that teacher certification requirements and the highly qualified teachers (HQT) standards were the most effective components of NCLB. On the other hand, she stated that not defining teacher competencies is a shortcoming of NCLB because being highly qualified does not mean that a teacher is effective. Kay Brilliant of NEA agreed that the HQT standards were the most helpful part of NCLB, while for her, the least helpful part is NCLB’s emphasis on testing. Dan Weisberg from the New Teacher Project said that NCLB did a good job of pointing out the inequities in the public school system by disaggregating data about disabled and ELL students, but that the law focused on the wrong levers to fix these problems.
The topic of the next forum will be “Promoting Innovation and Rethinking the Federal Role.”