Although much of the impetus for new approaches to teacher evaluation comes from state and national policymakers, the design of teacher assessment systems falls to the roughly 16,000 school districts and 5,000 independent public charter schools in the U.S. The considerable variability among school districts in how they evaluate teachers’ performance raises questions: If an individual state or the federal government wishes to require or incentivize local education agencies to evaluate teachers more rigorously, how can they do so while honoring each district’s individual authority? And how can each school district benchmark the performance of its teacher evaluation system against the performance of evaluation systems in other districts, or against the previous version of its own evaluation system? How can teacher evaluation systems be compared, one to another?
On April 26, the Brown Center Task Force on Teacher Quality hosted an event on the release of a new report on teacher evaluations, the third in a series of proposals by the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings on improving teacher quality. The report addresses how a state or the federal government could achieve a uniform standard for dispensing funds to school districts for the recognition of exceptional teachers without imposing a uniform evaluation system on those districts. A panel of the report's authors presented the findings in the context of the controversies surrounding teacher evaluation and the promise that more meaningful teacher evaluation offers for enhancing student achievement.
After the program, the panelists took audience questions.