In spite of the enthusiastic endorsement of the IEA and our parent NEA and the AFT, little will change about teacher evaluations as a result of the latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, aka ESSA.
As I wrote at the time ESSA passed in Congress and was signed by the President, Illinois and other states had already made it law linking teacher evaluations and individual student performance measures such as PARCC.
In fact, IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin headed the committee created by Governor Quinn that wrote the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA).
Fred Klonsky, a retired Park Ridge art teacher and education blogger, can’t envision state lawmakers undoing that measure.
“Now that they’ve passed ESSA, that law doesn’t go away,” he says. “Teachers are still going to be evaluated exactly in the way that they were being evaluated before the bill was passed.”
The nation’s state superintendents are trying to send the message that, even though there are no longer any federal requirements for teacher evaluation, states aren’t abandoning their commitment to review their teachers on a regular basis.
“A question I get asked by reporters is, ‘Aren’t states just going to back away from teacher evaluations [post No Child Left Behind]?’, and my answer is ‘No,’ ” said Chris Minnich, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers in a press call with reporters. But in the future, states must emphasize teacher development, he said: “These systems had a tendency to err more on the evaluation side than the support side.”