January 28, 2009
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On the Center for American Progress' Teacher Quality Report
Today, the Center for American Progress released its report "From Qualifications to Results: Promoting Teacher Effectiveness Through Federal Policy."
WASHINGTON—While the Center for American Progress recognizes the important function federal policies can play in helping improve the quality of teaching, its report fails to focus on what it will take to accurately measure teacher effectiveness.
The AFT agrees that the current teacher evaluation process, in which principals randomly drop into classrooms to observe teachers, is not serving anyone well. That is why we have advanced better measures of teacher effectiveness. For example, the AFT has called for investing in meaningful teacher review programs such as peer and assistance review, which relies on accomplished teachers who systematically observe, mentor and counsel new and struggling teachers. Our goal should not be to look for the most politically expedient methods of teacher evaluation. Rather, we must give this issue the thoughtful consideration it deserves, and focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.