Teacher evaluation: A ‘difficult change’ worth the effort

By cori

Successful public schools are key to the future prosperity and economic growth of American communities. That is why my organization, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, has been so supportive of Tennessee’s move to a high-quality, statewide teacher evaluation and support system.

In 2009, when Tennessee began making this difficult change, our students were near the bottom of national rankings – much like Michigan is today. Instead of ignoring our poor results and continuing to do things the same way, we invested in what matters – teaching quality.

Today, Tennessee is the national leader in student growth and our willingness to undertake difficult change is paying off.

We know that the most important factor for student success is the quality of classroom instruction. That is why, when our students were so far behind, we invested in the quality of teaching. Our legislature and governor took the lead by replacing our old, ineffective system with a comprehensive, annual evaluation tool designed to improve instruction and learning. In 2013, we began to see significant results: Tennessee was the fastest-improving state on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, including in fourth-grade reading.

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