January 28, 2010
REPORT GIVES LOUISIANA A GRADE OF 'C-' FOR POLICIES THAT IMPACT QUALITY OF TEACHERS
–Today the National Council on Teacher Quality released its 2009 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, a comprehensive review of state laws, rules and regulations governing the teaching profession; Report concludes that Louisiana, though better than most states, needs to improve its policies to ensure that all students will have effective, well prepared teachers
January 28, 2010 (Washington, DC) -- A new report released today by the not-for-profit, non-partisan National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) finds that Louisiana teacher policies largely work against the nation's goal of improving teacher quality. While the national focus on teacher quality has never been greater, the broad range of state laws, rules and regulations that govern the teaching profession too often impede rather than promote serious reform.
NCTQ's 2009 State Teacher Policy Yearbook examined state policy across five areas that include teacher preparation, evaluation, tenure and dismissal, alternative certification and compensation. Louisiana earned the following grades, resulting in an overall grade of C-:
NCTQ President Kate Walsh said, "The release of the 2009 Yearbook comes at a particularly opportune time. Race to the Top, the $4.5 billion federal discretionary grant competition, has put unprecedented focus on education reform in general, and teacher quality in particular. We believe that the Yearbook provides a road map for achieving a Race to the Top grant, identifying where states are on the right track and where they have considerable work to do.
Walsh continued: “Unfortunately, states have tremendous ground to make up after years of policy neglect. There is more Louisiana can do to ensure that all children have the effective teachers they deserve."
Among the findings about Louisiana:
· Louisiana's tenure and evaluation policies do not consider what should count the most about teacher performance: classroom effectiveness. Louisiana does not require objective measures of student learning in teacher evaluations and does not require annual evaluations for all teachers. It also does not require that districts collect or consider evidence of teacher effectiveness as part of tenure decisions.
· Louisiana makes it too difficult for districts to attempt to dismiss poor performers by failing to articulate a policy for dismissing teachers for poor performance separate from dismissal policies for criminal and morality violations.
· Although Louisiana claims to offer an alternative route to certification, its burdensome requirements may block talented individuals from entering the profession.
· Louisiana's requirements for the preparation of elementary teachers do not ensure that these teachers are well prepared to teach mathematics. While the state's policies do address the science of reading instruction, Louisiana fails to ensure that its elementary teachers are well prepared to teach reading through an appropriate test.
· Louisiana ensures that middle school teachers are prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
· Louisiana's pay and benefit policies for teachers—including the state-run retirement system—offer inadequate incentives to stay in teaching. The financial sustainability of the retirement system is also uncertain, based on the state's own report.
The Louisiana Yearbook, which includes national comparisons, is immediately available for free download at: www.nctq.org/stpy. For questions about the report, please contact Sarah Brody at (202) 393-0020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State Teacher Policy Yearbook was funded by private foundations across the United States, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Daniels Fund, Fisher Family Foundation, Gleason Family Foundation, George Gund Foundation, Houston Endowment and the Joyce Foundation. NCTQ accepts no funding from the federal government.
The National Council of Teacher Quality ?comprised of reform-minded Democrats, Republicans, and Independents? is a non-partisan research and advocacy group committed to restructuring the teaching profession, led by the belief that all children deserve effective teachers. More information about NCTQ, including a list of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board, can be found on the NCTQ website, http://www.nctq.org/.