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News Brief

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TN Chief Outlines Statewide Teacher Evaluation System Before House Committee

Contact:Melissa McGrathmelissa.mcgrath@ccsso.org202-336-7034

 Washington, DC July 27, 2011- Kevin Huffman, Tennessee Commissioner of Education testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Education and the Workforce about the role that teachers and teacher evaluation can play in the effort to build a better education system.

 Huffman's testimony highlighted Tennessee's plan to implement a statewide teacher evaluation system in this coming school year. The Tennessee system includes both qualitative and quantitative measures with a significant focus on improving student achievement but also factors in other performance measures and classroom observations. The scoring rubrics were field tested across the state last year with positive feedback amongst teacher and principals. Huffman outlined Tennessee's commitment to implement the system this year and to improve the system in the future.

"In Tennessee, we think evaluation should be used for several key things. First, support teachers by providing helpful feedback in real time so that they can continue to improve their craft. Second, identify the top performers in the field so that we can study and learn from them, recognize them for their work, and extend their impact by building meaningful career pathways that allow them to touch ever-more kids. Third, identify teachers in need of improvement so that we can tailor professional development to their needs and, in the case of a small percentage who cannot reach a bar of effectiveness, exit them from the profession," Huffman said in his testimony. 

Huffman noted the critical importance of a strong evaluation system to improving the nation's teaching corps. "Because the national conversation has often focused primarily on evaluation as a means for removal of ineffective teachers, we too often lose sight of the way the vast majority of teachers will experience the evaluation system: as a means for feedback and professional development, and an opportunity to learn from the very best teachers."

"CCSSO applauds Commissioner Huffman's leadership in support of teachers and students in Tennessee," Gene Wilhoit CCSSO Executive Director said.  "States across the country are taking the lead in this critical policy area and advancing effective systems to support and evaluate educators. As Congress considers the role of the federal government, states ask that leaders not impose prescriptive requirements on these new evaluation systems."

CCSSO is working with 30 states in a consortium to address priority actions that will help increase the effectiveness of teaching and leading to improve student achievement and eliminate disparities. The State Consortium on Educator Effectiveness focuses on the following priorities: standards for learning, teaching, and leading; teacher and leader professional growth and support; and, evaluating teaching and leading.