How Do High-Performing Nations Evaluate Teachers?

Who decides if a teacher is effective and how is that determination made? School systems across the United States are struggling to answer that question as they try to design and implement teacher evaluation systems that are fair and accurate. It’s no easy task and is not limited to public schools in this country. School systems around the world are tackling the same issue and are finding consensus among education stakeholders to be elusive.

Teacher evaluations were the main topic of discussion at the 2013 International Summit on the Teacher Profession (ISTP) Summit held last week in Amsterdam. Now in its third year, the ISTP brought together leaders from teacher unions and education ministries to discuss issues around teacher quality, specifically the criteria used to determine teacher effectiveness and its purpose.

In most nations, teacher evaluation systems are essentially a “work in progress,” says Andreas Schleicher of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Schleicher, who attended the ISTP, is the principal author of the study that was presented at the summitt. The report, Teachers for the 21st Century: Using Evaluations to Improve Teaching, takes a look at how different nations are tackling this thorny issue (or not tackling it) and identifying specific models that appear to work – that is, have buy-in from key stakeholders and can point to demonstrable results in student achievement. Because consensus is so frustratingly elusive, most nations are treading carefully, although there is widespread acknowledgement that improved evaluation systems have to be on the menu of education policy reforms.

Of the 28 countries surveyed in the OECD report, 22 have formal policy frameworks in place at the national level to regulate teacher evaluations. The six education systems that do not have such frameworks include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, but teachers in the countries still received professional feedback. In Denmark, for example, teachers receive feedback from their school administrators once a year. In Norway, teacher-appraisal policies are designed and implemented at the local or school level. In Iceland, evaluation is left to the discretion of individual schools and school boards.

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Education News for 11-07-2012

State Education News

  • Cleveland school levy sails to apparent victory (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • The Cleveland school levy was passing Tuesday night, winning support from about 55 percent of voters with almost all of the ballots counted…Read more...

  • Collins wins seat in State Board of Education central district (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Michael Collins won re-election to the State Board of Education in a three-way race for a seat representing Franklin, Delaware and Knox counties…Read more...

  • Jacobs re-elected to state school board (Findlay Courier)
  • Northwestern Ohio voters picked Ann E. Jacobs to continue as representative on the state school board on Tuesday…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Most school levies defeated in Stark County (Canton Repository)
  • Tax issues for area school districts were failing for the most part early Wednesday with Canton Local, Marlington, Massillon…Read more...

  • Central Ohio school ballot issues (Columbus Dispatch)
  • What happened: Voters approved a combined 6.94-mill operating levy and $15.8 million bond issue that will raise $1.3 million a year for the district…Read more...

  • Parents get look at new math courses (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • A group of parents previewing Fairfield City Schools’ new math curriculum said Monday the courses added up to a more promising future for their children…Read more...

  • School levy left off Butler County electronic ballots (Hamilton Journal-News)
  • Voters in a small section of Butler County are voting with paper ballots after a glitch left the Northwest School District levy off the electronic ballot, according to election officials…Read more...

  • Lorain schools get first new money in 20 years (Lorain Morning Journal)
  • “We won,” yelled Lorain City School Superintendent Tom Tucker to a roar of cheers at the school’s watch party at the Elks…Read more...

  • Only 1 local school issue approved (Springfield News-Sun)
  • Of the six local school districts on Tuesday’s ballot in Clark and Champaign counties, only one issue was approved by voters, according to final unofficial results…Read more...


  • Chris Smith’s gift was bringing people together (Canton Repository)
  • He invited dialogue, consensus with his easy smile and low-key demeanor. The last time we mentioned Canton City Schools Superintendent Chris Smith…Read more...

  • Bravo, Cleveland, for a wise vote for the city's future (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • By agreeing to a large increase in property taxes to support public education, Cleveland voters have made a major investment in their children and their city…Read more...

Ohio House Dems won popular vote

Issue 2, also known as voters first was heavily defeated 63-37, under an avalanche of opposition money seeking to maintain the status quo. Had issue 2 been successful it would have given the ability of voters to pick their representatives, rather than the current gerrymandered reverse situation.

Just how bad is the current system of rigged districts? We took a look at the 99 Ohio house races. Our analysis found that despite the Democrats trailing republics in the new legislature 60-39, they actually won the popular vote.

Democrats received a total of 2,418,815 votes across the 99 house district and the Republicans only 2,362,310 - over 56,000 less. If districts were apportioned according to the weight of voters actually preference, the Democrats would have a majority of 51-48, not rendered all but impotent trailing 60-39.

The current situation is so untenable, even critics of issue 2 agree reforms are needed.

But a number of GOP critics of Issue 2 also agreed that the current redistricting process needs to be changed. So the big question now is: What happens next?

A bipartisan legislative redistricting task force has met a few times and is supposed to recommend changes to the House and Senate in December. Also, some say the Constitutional Modernization Commission should make redistricting one of its top priorities.

Catherine Turcer, chairwoman of Voters First Ohio, the coalition that pushed Issue 2, and Ohio State University election-law expert Daniel Tokaji, who helped draft the plan, said that at least there was agreement that the system needs to be changed.

“If we all agree that the system is broken, we should also agree that the people of Ohio should not have to wait until 2022 to fix it,” they said in a joint statement. “It’s time to put voters first and come together to agree on a solution.”

Gov. John Kasich added: “Reforms need to be considered in a thoughtful, bipartisan way to ensure that districts are competitive and fair and Ohioans’ interests are fully represented.”

These unfair districts also explain the disappointing results of races involving educators

But Stephen Brooks, a political scientist with the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron, says all that probably had little to do with the way the races turned out.

“They were not in well-designed districts for Democrats to run in so I’m not sure being a schoolteacher or not being a schoolteacher had much to do with that. They were having difficult races because they were running in non-competitive districts, if you will,” he says.

The only one of the new teacher-candidates to win is John Patterson, who will represent House District 99 in Ashtabula County. Two other former teachers who were incumbents retained their seats in the Ohio House.

A system where the majority of citizens are not represented by their preferred elected leaders is not a sustainable system. The current Ohio General Assembly, and the 130th that will follow it have no mandate from the voters, and their first course of action ought to be to repair the broken redistricting system immediately.

Final Campaign 2012 recap

We've covered a lot of ground during campaign 2012, and wanted to recap some of the important pieces you will want to keep in mind.

School Levies
There are a lot of levies on the ballot, as a result of the Kasich budget cuts. You can see a list of them here , organizned by county, type and whether they are requests for new money or continuations.

State Board of Education
There are 7 state board of election seats up for grab, here's our primer on those, including some bios of pro public education candidates.

Voting Checklist
Confused by the shifting voting requirements caused by politicians seeking their own advantage? Here's a handy checklist of what you need to vote, and what your rights are.

Union Candidates
Remember SB5? So do these union members who decided to run for office. If you're lucky, one of them will be on your ballot. One such member is Donna O'Connor, who has inspired so many people with her positive vision and strong leadership. Check the link to see all the union members running on pro-worker platforms.

The Big One - President
We've written a lot about the race for the Presidency, but we'll leave it in the hands of the candidates own visions to make closing arguments

President Obama's 2nd term plan for education.
Mitt Romney: Mr. Corporate Ed.

Issue 2: Voters First, Not Politicians
A YES on Issue 2 puts voters first.

Ann Romney - "Get rid of public education"

Eagled-eyed read TN spotted this in Good Houskeeping of all places

GH: Can you tell me, what campaign issue is closest to your heart?

AR: I've been a First Lady of the State. I have seen what happens to people's lives if they don't get a proper education. And we know the answers to that. The charter schools have provided the answers. The teachers' unions are preventing those things from happening, from bringing real change to our educational system. We need to throw out the system.

Throw the whole system out!

We probably should not listen to someone who has never worked in public education, never went to a public school, and never sent any of her 5 children to public schools. As for the all too common swipe at teacher's unions, she probably doesn't realize that Massachusetts, where her husband Mitt Romney brags of it being number 1 in education, is the most unionized state of all.

If the issue of public education is so close to Mrs. Romney's heart, it is curious why she has never been invovled in it, and apparently knows so little.

Perhaps she should stick to things she does know and really cares about, such as dressage.

Vote Yes on Issue 2 - Had Enough Early Vote Tour

The Issue 2 campaign is about to kick off a Vote Yes on Issue 2 - Had Enough Early Vote Tour. You can see their list of stops, and get involved, here.

This comes on the heels of the Toledo Blade endorsing a YES on Issue 2

Issue 2 on this fall’s statewide ballot enables voters to start to reclaim Ohio’s election machinery from the partisan politicians and their special-interest allies who now control it. The reform proposal merits a strong YES vote.

The ballot proposal would amend the Ohio Constitution to change the way district boundaries are revised for the state’s U.S. House delegation and the General Assembly after every federal census. Such redistricting largely determines the level of party competition within Ohio, a battleground state in national elections.

That process now is dictated by the Republican Party, which dominates the legislature and state Apportionment Board — and thus, the drawing of political maps. Republicans have rigged the maps in their favor, giving themselves the edge to win as many as 12 of Ohio’s 16 U.S. House seats and to keep control of both legislative houses for another decade.

Read the entire endorsement here.