Letter: Education report not an endorsement

In response to the Oct. 10 article “Report: Louisiana part of trend on teacher reviews” by Will Sentell in The Advocate, the National School Boards Association views it as essential to discuss the purpose and premise of its Center for Public Education report “Trends in teacher evaluation: How states are measuring teacher performance.”

The CPE report should not be construed as representing NSBA’s position statement on teacher evaluation systems, nor should it be interpreted as an endorsement of any one particular model.

Rather the report offers a description of how states are measuring teacher performance for the purpose of highlighting the range of alternatives.

It is worth noting that the majority of Louisiana data were current as of June 2012 and so do not reflect recent changes. The trends cited are a policy-based view of states’ inclusion of measures of student achievement, classroom observations, student surveys and other indicators in teacher evaluation.

In this CPE report, NSBA is not rendering a public opinion on a preferred method of measuring teacher performance, believing this decision is best left to states, local school boards and school district leaders accompanied by meaningful input from all stakeholders.

The report, released publicly Wednesday, is a secondary review of publicly available data on how states are measuring teacher performance.

The review shows the significant change across states since 2009 on how teachers are evaluated for the main purpose of improving instruction.

The trends in teacher evaluation cited are a policy-based view of states’ inclusion of particular measures in teacher evaluation.

A major intent of the report was to show how different states engage in different approaches with varying levels of stakeholder input regarding the design of evaluation systems to provide information only; and, again, not an endorsement of one particular model.

An update to the CPE report, online at http://tinyurl.com/mcaot3x, provides a 2013 update of current evaluation policy in the state of Louisiana.

Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director

National School Boards Association

Alexandria, Va.