Teacher assessment necessary for NCLB waiver

Whether or not Michigan receives a waiver on some of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) regulations could come down to whether or not the state has an effective teacher evaluation process in place. When President Obama recently announced that states could get a waiver from the mandate that 100 percent of students must be proficient on standardized tests by 2014, he insisted specific conditions must be met. One of them was a teacher assessment.

Next spring, the Governor’s Council on Educator Effectiveness—established by the teacher tenure reform bills (PA 101-103)—will release its findings and recommendations on student, teacher and administrator evaluations. For right now, each school district can pretty much design its own evaluation system and tool.  But is that enough to qualify the state for a waiver?

One thing is clear—there can be no effective evaluation tool without teacher input, yet no teacher was appointed to the Governor’s Council.

Because no teacher evaluation model was in place, Michigan twice lost its bid for Race to The Top funds.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) still hasn’t heard whether its July waiver request was accepted, but it is preparing to apply again before the new Nov. 15 deadline.  Since MDE is raising cut scores, it requested that the proficiency standard be set at 80 percent.