By now the consensus is clear: California needs a better, more systematic way of supporting and ensuring teacher effectiveness. Though the teacher evaluation bill, AB 5, collapsed again in August, there is wide agreement on the state’s responsibility to ensure that every student has an effective teacher. Moreover, good teachers welcome accountability and they want and need support. As the 2010 Accomplished California Teachers report noted, every teacher wants to know “How am I doing?” and “How can I do better?”
Efforts here in California to structure a workable evaluation system have run into the same sticking points bedeviling states across the country. The design challenge is to ensure both accountability and support as anchors of high-quality evaluation. What are the right components? Which policy decisions belong at the state level and which should be determined locally? Should student growth be part of teacher evaluation and, if so, how should that growth be measured?