US Education Secretary Arne Duncan says Tennessee is “Exhibit A” for changes he says treat teachers as professionals rather than “interchangeable cogs in an educational assembly line.”
Tennessee was one of the first two states chosen to get the federal government’s Race to the Top grant money. As part of the effort to secure those funds, the state made broad changes to the way teachers are evaluated.
In an editorial blog posting on the Huffington Post, Duncan acknowledges criticism of the new evaluations while praising the state for seeking feedback and proposing changes that he says address those critiques. He points to rising student test scores, and calls the gains made in the state a “remarkable achievement.”
At the same time, Secretary Duncan says there’s always room for more improvement. As an example he refers to the state’s review of the new system, which found that too many Tennessee principals are still unwilling to give poor marks to teachers who deserve them.