Louisiana is one of 32 states since 2009 that has revamped the way public school teachers are evaluated, according to a newly released national report.
“The landscape is changing,” said the study by the National Council on Teacher Quality, which calls itself a nonpartisan research group. The council is based in Washington, D.C.
The 59-page report said there is “unprecedented momentum” nationally for laws that link teacher evaluations with student achievement.
In addition, Louisiana is one of 17 states singled out for making some of the most significant changes.
Under a 2010 state law pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, half of a teacher’s annual evaluation will be linked to the growth of student achievement.
Starting next year, teachers rated as ineffective will be placed in intensive assistance programs.
Those still rated as ineffective after another formal review could be dismissed by the local school board.
In addition, teachers will undergo reviews annually instead of every three years.
The report said:
• 32 states and the District of Columbia have changed teacher evaluation rules since 2009.
• 23 states now use student achievement gains as a key factor in rating teachers, up from just four in 2009.
• 24 states and the District of Columbia require annual teacher evaluations instead of intervals of three, five or more years. Two years ago just 15 did so.
Backers contend the new reviews make sense amid growing evidence that teacher quality plays a major role in student success.
The report called the new policies a “marked improvement” over previous policies that routinely found 99 percent of teachers effective, and which paid little attention to student learning.
The Louisiana law won legislative approval over the heated objections of teacher unions, which remain opposed to the measure.
Last month leaders of the Louisiana Association of Educators said teacher evaluations should rely on multiple measures rather than student achievement for a major part of the review. The LAE is one of the two largest unions for teachers in the state.
LAE officials did not return calls for comment Thursday.
Answering the LAE last month, top education officials said it would take a change in state law to undo the link between teacher reviews and academic performance.
State Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe and sponsor of the bill, said Thursday he was aware the issue was getting attention in other states when Louisiana approved the measure last year.
“This is just something the business world has always done,” said Hoffmann, who is vice-chairman of the Louisiana House Education Committee.
“It makes sense,” he added. “Hopefully it will confirm that we have good teachers in many places.”