A New Era for the Battle Over Teacher Evaluations

Atlantic Magazine, 3/8/2016

The Obama administration long encouraged more robust ways of assessing which educators were doing a good job. But the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act signals the end of this cornerstone of Obama’s teacher agenda: pressing states and school districts to take more seriously the task of identifying who in the profession was doing a good job, and who wasn’t.

Two powerful forces at opposite ends of the political spectrum had attacked the president’s strategy—teacher unions wanting to end the new scrutiny of their members and Tea Party members targeting the Obama plan as part of a larger anti-Washington campaign. As a result, the new Every Student Succeeds Act terminates the Obama administration’s incentives for states and school districts to introduce tougher teacher-evaluation systems. And the law effectively bans the U.S. Secretary of Education from promoting teacher-performance measurements in the future.

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