WASHINGTON – High-quality teachers are the strongest influence on academic outcomes, including graduation, yet they are scarce in the high schools that serve the majority of students at risk for dropping out, according to the Campaign for High School Equity. During a recent online briefing, CHSE urged the implementation of federal education policies to ensure equitable access to effective teachers by all students, including students of color and Native students.
The group’s policy recommendations include improving strategies to recruit, support and retain a diverse effective teacher workforce; evaluating teachers based on the academic growth of all students; and focusing on high school specific solutions.
“The most effective teachers tend to be in more affluent schools, even though their skills are greatly needed among low-income, low-performing students and students of color who are largely being taught by inexperienced, under-performing teachers,” said Michael Wotorson, CHSE executive director. “It’s time to give all of America’s high school students access to the same level of quality education that starts with effective teachers.”
CHSE stressed the importance of establishing measurable and fair evaluations to help determine teacher success in the classroom. According to Primary Sources, a recent 40,000-teacher survey released by Scholastic Inc. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, teachers overwhelmingly agree that student growth is an accurate measure of teacher performance. Yet nine states require no evaluation of new teachers and less than half require new teachers be evaluated more than once a year.
“As a former teacher and school board member, I know that early evaluation of new teachers allows time to help them become more effective,” said Tomeka Hart, president/CEO of the Memphis Urban League. “Teachers must be supported with continuous growth and development, especially when they serve students who need particular supports, such as English language learners.”
CHSE asserts that teacher evaluation systems should align to high-quality professional development that supports teachers who are struggling and helps those who are making contributions develop to their full potential. In fact, Primary Sources showed that more than 90 percent of teachers cite professional development as a key factor affecting teacher retention.
Wotorson and Hart were joined at the briefing by Congressman Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.; Jane Hannaway, Ph.D., director, Education Policy Center, Urban Institute; and Rhonda “Nikki” Barnes, NBCT, world literature teacher, KIPP Pride High School, Gaston, N.C.
Read CHSE’s issue brief, “Effective Teaching: A Key to Success for all High School Students” online.
CHSE is a coalition of leading civil rights organizations representing communities of color that is focused on high school education reform. Members include the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, Alliance for Excellent Education, National Indian Education Association and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.
CHSE is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Follow the organization on Twitter.