There has been much discussion recently about teacher
effectiveness: can it be measured, how much of it should depend on student
outcome, and what are the consequences of these evaluations. The Obama
administration placed its seal of approval on teacher evaluations by releasing
yet another round of Race to the Top, this one aimed at improving teacher
effectiveness. Leading up to the U.S. Department of Education’s release of RESPECT, the National Council on
Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released the 2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook.

The 2011 release makes the fifth edition of the State
Teacher Policy Yearbook, in which NCTQ takes a look at the laws and policies
concerning teacher quality in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each
state receives a grade for five specific goal areas, and an overall grade that
summarizes how the state matched up against the five goals. The goal areas are:

  • Delivering
    well prepared teachers
  • Expanding
    the teaching pool
  • Identifying
    effective teachers
  • Retaining
    effective teachers
  • Exiting
    Ineffective teachers

Ohio ranked seventh in the nation
with an overall grade of C+, beating the national grade of D+ by a whole letter
grade. The Buckeye State’s best score, a B-, was in “Expanding the teaching
pool”. In this goal area, our policy strengths are alternative licensure routes
that require evidence of content knowledge, flexibility for nontraditional
students, and licensure for content experts to teach part-time. Ohio ran into
trouble with “Delivering well prepared teachers,” receiving a meager D+ grade. Our
policy weaknesses are in that category are generic K-12 special education
licensure, no requirement of proof of effectiveness for those selected as
cooperating teachers, and teaching programs not held accountable for the
quality of teachers they produce.

NCTQ also notes that this 2011 report card only takes into
account policies already in place, not legislation in the works or changes yet
to be implemented -- specifically noting that most state recipients of Race to
the Top funds have not fully implemented the promises each made in their
applications. Thus, any of Ohio’s policy changes promised in our Race to the
Top application, like a new teacher evaluation system, are not reflected in this
report card. The Buckeye State was ranked number 11 in the nation for progress
since the 2009 report card, and with changes on tap through Race to the Top and
the state budget bill, we should only improve before the next report is issued.

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