How Bold is Bold? Responding to Race to the Top with a Bold, Actionable Plan on Teacher Effectiveness

The New Teacher Project
November 2009

Anyone curious whether Ohio will win a $200-400 million share should read The New Teacher Project’s recently released national report, purportedly a “blueprint” for states hoping to win a piece of the federal grant money: How Bold is Bold? Responding to Race to the Top with a Bold, Actionable Plan on Teacher Effectiveness. The report outlines components of a “bold” application, suggests appropriate roles for states and LEAs, and lists five goals a state should pursue to have a coherent plan for improving teacher quality (rather than a “series of disjointed initiatives”):

1) optimize new teacher supply,
2) boost effectiveness of all teachers,
3) retain and leverage most effective teachers,
4) prioritize effective teachers for high-need students, and
5) improve or exit persistently less effective teachers.

While Ohio aligns with a few of TNTP’s recommended components, such as modifying “tenure policies to provide grounds for termination” (House Bill l lowered Ohio’s teacher dismissal standards), the report makes several recommendations that conflict with current Ohio law and contradict the viewpoints of current state leadership: requiring that student achievement growth be predominant in teacher evaluations; basing compensation models on teacher performance; and holding teacher preparation programs accountable by linking student achievement data to the teachers they graduate.

Unsurprisingly, the goals derived from TNTP’s analysis of the Race to the Top application emulate those found in the new Cincinnati report (see above article). TNTP delivers the same message to client school districts as it does to states and to the federal government: improving teacher effectiveness is the lynchpin for closing the achievement gap, and can only happen through a strategic and coordinated overhaul of several policies at once. Read it here.

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