Monday, November 19, 2012

PTA takes national position on evaluation reform

  • Aligns with Washington State PTA work with the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot and implementing legislation

  • FAQ follows statement, below


Effective instruction and family-school collaboration are essential components of student academic success. National PTA supports the state*and local development and implementation of effective, fair, and meaningful teacher and principal evaluation systems that improve the capacity of educators and families to enhance student learning and academic achievement.

National PTA supports legislation and policy decisions to enable state and local development and implementation of teacher and principal evaluation systems.
Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems should:

  • Be designed primarily to improve instruction, increase student learning, and support continuous improvement;
  • Be developed and implemented in collaboration with teachers, administrators, families, and other education stakeholders;
  • Inform and support ongoing teacher and principal professional development;
  • Inform and support interventions for students to achieve academic success;
  • Require ongoing evaluation using multiple measures of teacher and principal performance and close examination of both quantitative and qualitative data;
  • Require professional development for any individuals conducting evaluations to provide quality and consistency of evaluation processes;
  • Account for varied circumstances that impact student achievement;
  • Include student achievement and/or student growth as a significant factor in evaluating teacher and principal performance – the level of significance to be state/locally determined;
  • Provide teachers and principals with continuous, meaningful feedback and substantive support based on evaluation results;
  • Meet all standards set by federal or state government;
  • Be uniformly applied across all schools within the Local Educational Agency;
  • Leave personnel decisions regarding terms and conditions of teacher and principal employment based on evaluation results to local determination;
  • Provide for the disclosure of evaluation results in a format that:
  1. Is accessible and understandable to the general public;  
  2. Respects individual teacher and principal privacy consistent with personnel policies;
  3. Includes assurances that needed supports and interventions identified by evaluation results will be implemented. 

* United States Department of Defense, United States Department of the Interior, and any applicable territories not under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Education

Frequently Asked Questions:

National PTA Board of Directors Position Statement on Development and Implementation of Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems

Why did National PTA feel it necessary to address the issue of Teacher and Principal Evaluations now?

The development and implementation of teacher and principal evaluation systems is an increasingly prevalent topic in current local, state, and federal education reform efforts. The advent of federal competitive grant programs (Teacher Incentive Fund and Race to The Top in particular) have lead a growing number of states to reexamine and redesign evaluation systems.

Because Congressional action on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is stalled, the Administration is offering states, on a rolling application basis, ESEA Flexibility through a conditional waiver process. The Obama administration is utilizing statutory authority to grant conditional provisional waivers in exchange for state development and implementation of key reform strategies pertaining to:

  • College- and career-ready academic standards;
  • Differentiated accountability systems; and
  • Teacher/leader evaluation systems based on student growth/achievement.

National PTA worked with the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that stakeholder collaboration and input was/is prioritized within the ongoing ESEA flexibility process. As such, state PTA congresses are being asked to provide input into development of evaluations systems. To date, 44 states have sought flexibility from the federal government through this process. Since the administration’s announcement of ESEA flexibility in 2011, no fewer than twelve states have sought guidance from National PTA on the subject.

While at least one state PTA Congress has adopted a state-level position statement on evaluation systems, this has resulted in many states seeking leadership, guidance, and clarification from National PTA on “where PTA stands.” While National PTA government affairs staff has provided some technical assistance, there is an unrealized need for leadership from the national association by way of firmly articulated guiding principles on development and implementation of teacher and principal evaluation systems. Many state congresses will not actively engage in substantive policy development on the topic in absence of guidance from the National PTA.

Why was this enacted as a position statement and not vetted through membership to be adopted as a resolution?

National PTA seeks to provide national leadership and meet the evolving needs of all 54 state congresses and individual members. Development and implementation of teacher and principal evaluation is a prevalent national trend in education reform efforts. As a result of increased federal legislative and administrative focus, many states not already tackling the issue have been prompted to do so since 2011. National, state, and local PTA perspective on the subject is continually sought, which has resulted in increasing requests for National PTA leadership and guidance on the issue in a timely manner. National volunteer leadership felt that judicious use of Board-approved position statements to serve as national guidance was the most time-efficient and effective means of articulating National PTA’s perspective. 2

How was this position statement language developed?

Language was thoughtfully and collaboratively developed by members of the National Legislation and National Resolutions Committees, with insight from knowledgeable staff, over the course of eight months. First and foremost, the Committees sought to make sure that the language of the position statement is representative of the mission, values, and priorities of National PTA. This is why the principles articulated clearly prioritize student learning, continuous improvement, and family-school collaboration. Both Committees consulted numerous source materials on the subject of evaluation systems in the context of the current policy environment, including federal and state statutes and proposed policies, research findings, and messaging of national partner organizations. Lastly, committee members carefully accounted for any past or ongoing activity of state PTA congresses on the subject of teacher and principal evaluation systems to ensure that the resulting language would provide national leadership and flexible guidance while not tying the hands of any state Congresses or District units.

How does adoption of this position statement alter National PTA’s position on “high stakes testing”?

National PTA has a long-standing and unaltered position on the use and over reliance of high-stakes, summative assessments as they pertain to student learning and achievement. National PTA advocates for improvements to federal education law that seek to allow for flexibility in development and implementation of assessment models that inform instruction, improve student learning, and encourage use of a well-rounded curriculum beyond core subject areas, such as qualitative observation and formative assessments. National PTA believes that consistent use of well-informed and inclusive assessments is necessary to promote educational equity and opportunity for all students. Adoption of the National PTA Board of Directors Position Statement on Development and Implementation of Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems in no way undermines NPTA advocacy on behalf of needed improvements regarding assessment.

National PTA believes that the public education system must be transparent and accountable to teachers, principals, students, families, and communities, and that evaluation of professionals serving our nation’s students is central to maintaining that very transparency and accountability to all stakeholders. This position statement does not communicate PTA support or preference for summative assessments as sole criteria for evaluating teachers and principals. Instead, this position statement articulates that assessments of student growth and achievement – of any kind and in any combination – should be used as one of many factors when evaluating the quality of instruction and effectiveness of the teacher or principal. Additionally, this position statement asserts that inclusion of student growth and achievement data, as with all factors contributing to the evaluation design, be used to inform supports and interventions for teachers, students, and families and contribute to continuous improvement.

Additional materials, including informational webinars, will be made available in early December 2012. Please stay tuned for announcements from National PTA. 
 For additional information, please contact:
Jacque Chevalier
Senior Policy Strategist
National PTA
(703) 518-1227

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