Keeping Effective Teachers? Colorado Would Grade Better on the Curve

An absolutely vital key to successful education is high-quality instruction. So how well is Colorado doing in keeping effective teachers on the job in classrooms like mine? (Answer below)

On a new iVoices podcast, you can listen to Sandi Jacobs – vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) – talk with my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow about her group’s new State Teacher Policy Yearbook and where Colorado fits in:

To dig more in depth, go take a look at NCTQ’s Colorado report (PDF).

For those of you dying to know the answer, Colorado received a C-minus from NCTQ. According to the report, our state does best in ensuring teachers are well-tested in their subject content areas. Colorado also received an A for helping teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations to get remediation so they can improve or else be recommended for dismissal.

Areas where Colorado fares most poorly include:

  1. Requiring teachers to prove effectiveness before giving them tenure protections (F)
  2. Providing incentives to reward teachers with performance pay (F)
  3. Offering extra compensation to teachers who enter the field with relevant outside work experience (F)

All in all, Colorado would have been helped if NCTQ had graded on the curve, since the highest score registered by six states (Alabama, Ohio, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee) was only a solid C. Seven other states tied Colorado at C-minus. 30 states received a score in the D range, and six flunked.

To me, that sounds like a lot of work in the area of state policy needs to be done to help ensure the best teachers will stick around. Lawmakers and education reformers ought to study up on NCTQ’s State Teacher Policy Yearbook.