ETM Releases New Report on Strengthening Michigan’s Teachers

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A new report from EdTrust-Midwest highlights the need for better teacher quality measures and professional development. With Michigan’s teacher evaluation system rating nearly every teacher “effective” or higher while student scores slip, “Strengthening Michigan’s Teacher Force” makes the argument for a stronger evaluation system that supports teachers in order to improve student achievement.

When Michigan required public schools to develop evaluation systems that used four categories to classify teachers, the hope was that the new systems would provide individualized insight into teachers’ strengths and weaknesses, allowing schools to target appropriate professional development.  Instead, an ETM survey found that over 99 percent of teachers in large Michigan school districts were rated effective or highly effective, while only 2 out of every 1000 teachers were found to be ineffective.  These results are even more dramatic than those of The New Teacher Project's 2009 study “The Widget Effect,” which found that 94 percent of teachers were rated in the top two categories when there were more than two categories used in the evaluation system.

By using such broad evaluation systems, we fail to reward our best teachers and to provide support to teachers who could benefit from additional professional development.  We know that teacher quality is the single most influential factor in a child’s academic performance.  By keeping these ineffective evaluation systems in place, we do a disservice to our students, who need the best teachers possible in order to achieve academically. Michigan needs to heed ETM’s call and invest in their teachers by developing a teacher evaluation system that will encourage and support their development as educators.

For more information, visit ETM’s website.