New Guidelines on Teacher Evaluation and Accountability Approved at 2011 RA

On Monday, the 8,000 delegates to the 2011 National Education Association Representative Assembly voted to adopt the NEA’s policy statement that revamps teacher evaluation and accountability. The development, implementation, and enforcement of high-quality teacher evaluation and accountability are top priorities for NEA and its affiliates.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel believes the new statement signals a commitment to a new, more prestigious profession of teaching and reflects the first broad endorsement by NEA of the need for evaluation and accountability reform.

“As more states and districts seek to improve teacher evaluation, the risk is that reform is done to teachers rather than with them,” said Van Roekel. “This policy statement was written by and for teachers while heeding others’ expertise as well. It outlines a system to help teachers improve instruction and meet students’ needs. It offers sweeping changes to build a true profession of teaching that is focused on high expectations.”

The policy statement is based on a recommendation of a workgroup of NEA leaders convened in the spring by Van Roekel and led by Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle. It outlines guidelines for an evaluation and accountability system that focus on enhancing the practice of teachers, instead of identifying teachers for dismissal.

The statement reflects the importance of maintaining high standards, not lowering them and calls for robust evaluations based on multiple indicators. The statement supports state or local affiliates to use standardized tests for evaluating teachers if the standardized tests are of proven high quality and provide meaningful measures of student learning and growth.

The vote to approve came after an afternoon of spirited debate, presided over by Van Roekel and Pringle, over amendments offered by delegates.

“This is what our members want from NEA—and we answered with a fresh vision for the teaching profession grounded in ideas that are realistic, doable, and will ensure that every student has access to a high quality teacher,” said Van Roekel.

Read more about the NEA Policy Statement

  • Stefanie

    I’m so disappointed in NEA’s endorsement of President Obama AND supporting standardized testing as a way to evaluate teachers.

    I’m mad and done with NEA.

  • Don Stauffer

    Please read the guidelines very carefully. You’ll see that there are currently no standardized tests that meet the approved criteria. Additionally, you’ll see that standardized test scores are only one component of teacher evaluation.

  • Stefanie

    Why are we even stating standardized testing in the guidelines? That should not even be in the guidelines for teacher improvement. There are much better ways to improve teacher effectiveness. NEA has sold us out.

  • neamichael

    This is a political move pure and simple. The national organization has come out with a meaningless policy statement that buys it a seat at the table and gives it perfect cover when confronted with standardized test arguments from those in power. It allows them to sit at the table and always say, “testing is OK but the tests aren’t good enough yet.”

    The bad part is what it will for legislatures looking to impose more standardized testing in order to compete for RTTT or SIG funds. Doesn’t every state think its’ standardized tests meet or exceed the NEA’s threshold for “quality tests”? Is the NEA going to be clarifying with every legislature that their state’s test don’t measure up?

    Someone didn’t think this one all the way through.

  • Maynard Seider

    Not only did the Representative Assembly open the door to using standardized testing results in the evaluation of teachers, but the assembly refused to criticize President Obama’s war policies. The testing policy not only will harm teachers, but it affirms the legitimacy of the standardized test regimen on more and more of our students. And, as we know, that policy harms poor and working class students the most. Combine this with the failure to criticize a war policy which not only takes needed money from our schools and other domestic needs, but also ensures that more and more low income students will end up fighting, dying and suffering irreparable harm in insane wars. We have to ask the question? What does our union stand for? Who will protect the rights and future of the poor and working class?

  • Terry

    While this policy statement is very disappointing, I am more disappointed with the RA endorsing Obama’s re-election at this point in time. New Business item C from the NEA website tells of our being “appalled with Secretary Duncan’s practices” – but our early Presidential endorsement does not reflect this. Promoting the use of scores from tests not designed to evaluate teachers, endorsing Obama already, raising our dues when no one is getting a raise – and many are taking pay cuts – shows how out of touch these delegates were.

  • Tracy

    We need to not endorse President Obama and any use of standardized test as a measure of teacher quality. The NEA is out of touch with its rank and file. We need to take a stand against Race to the Top. I’m going to paraphrase Stephen Colbert who used the scenario with Republicans and Democrats. I’ll use it with Obama and NEA: Obama and Duncan (and the corporate world driving ed reform) keep saying, “Gimme, gimme,gimme,” and NEA is saying, “Take it, take it, take it, and don’t hit me.”