Evaluating teacher effectiveness is evolving

Jessica Meyers

How good is your child’s teacher?
For years, principals answered that question by visiting a classroom, taking down observations and handing the teacher an annual review.
Now with millions in federal money aimed at rewarding the nation’s best teachers, school districts are looking for ways to identify them. Recent studies also point to teacher quality as a key to solving lagging student performance.
But who deserves rewards? Who should get fired? And most perplexing: What makes good teachers and how do we know it?
“That is the $64 million question,” said Linda Bridges, president of the American Federation of Teachers’ Texas chapter. “It’s not just a snapshot in time via a standardized test or a classroom observation in 45 minutes.”