National Council on Teacher Quality Affirms Me on Colorado's Race to the Top

No need for me to rehash my concerns about Governor Bill Ritter’s Council on Educator Effectiveness. My views hardly have changed over the weekend.

But since I have to wake up on a Monday morning, the only thing better than a snow day is seeing my views validated by an important expert group like the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). They just released a report on the 16 Race to the Top finalist states, analyzing their proposals on the “Great Teachers and Leaders” section — which just so happens to be the weightiest single piece of RTT.

The report, titled Navigating the Race to the Top Traffic Jam (PDF), uses traffic signal lights to describe whether a state deserves to Go forward on its reform plan, to Proceed with Caution, or to Stop and try again.

Colorado’s $377 million proposal received a yellow light of caution from NCTQ. After noting that our state has set some good, clear goals for improving teacher evaluations and reforming compensation and retention policies, NCTQ highlights the downside:

The big weakness in this proposal is that it makes no commitment to statewide changes to compensation, tenure and dismissal policies. Colorado promises recommendations from the Governor’s Council by September 2011. But recommendations down the road are not the same as adopting policies now.

I said I wasn’t going to rehash my issues with Colorado’s could-be-stronger RTT proposal. So I let someone with greater weight and authority do it for me. It will be interesting to see just how much the federal grant program contributes to badly-needed reforms of our K-12 system, and how much perpetuates the status quo.