Monday, June 1, 2009


DENVER — Gov. Bill Ritter joined Colorado's education leaders in praising a national report released today that shines a comprehensive light on a major flaw of teacher evaluation systems.
The report, created by The New Teacher Project (TNTP), shows that teacher evaluation systems don't accurately reflect teacher performance—in fact there are only two ratings teachers can get: good or great. Two Colorado school districts, Denver Public Schools and Pueblo City Schools, participated in the project.
"Nothing helps students reach their potential like great teaching," said Gov. Ritter. "This report underscores the challenge all states face to ensure that teacher evaluations are meaningful and help develop exceptional classroom teachers. These findings connect well with Colorado's aggressive education reforms and current Race to the Top effort, which together intend to place great teachers in all classrooms."
The report also suggested solutions for school districts, including matching teacher and student IDs to state standardized tests, establishing multiple rating teacher evaluation systems that allow student performance to be a component of teacher evaluation, and requiring professional development and support systems to align with individual teacher development needs.
Governor Ritter added, "Fortunately, Colorado is in a great position to implement several of the recommendations found in the report.  We are also fortunate that the Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones and the Colorado Education Association support the recommendations. As a result, I am optimistic that Colorado will continue to be one of the leading states in education reform."
Lt. Governor Barbara O'Brien, chair of the state's P-20 Council and Colorado's Race to the Top initiative, reinforced the Governor's sentiments. "This year's legislation to create an educator identification system in Colorado demonstrates the state's commitment to serious education reform with real results for students."
"Colorado appreciates the focus that this report places upon our most critical resource – effective teachers - and will include the analysis in the information it considers as we identify opportunities to support local school districts in their efforts to provide an effective teacher for every student," stated Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones.  "The report's recommendations provide several opportunities that Colorado may pursue in its Race to the Top effort this summer and fall, as well as for the General Assembly to consider during the 2010 legislative session."
CEA President Beverly Ingle said, "We agree with much of the information presented in The New Teacher Project report.  TNTP validates what CEA and its members have maintained for years – that evaluation should focus on improving instructional effectiveness, that professional development based on evaluation will help teachers do a more effective job, and that poorly performing teachers should be given a genuine opportunity to improve before a district moves for dismissal. 
"The vast majority of education professionals strive to become more effective every day, every year.  The evaluation system should be dedicated to helping them do so.  This will take time, administrative training, commitment and resources.  We look forward to working with the Governor's Office and the Department of Education to enhance the state's system of evaluation, to assist districts in improving their programs, and to make sure that all teachers -- both novices and veterans -- receive the support they need to be effective teachers who can help our students succeed academically and personally."