The Two-Pronged Approach

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National Center on Education and the Economy president Marc Tucker recently voiced support for increasing teacher compensation and raising the admission standards for preparation programs as the route to improving public education in America -- and we couldn't agree more. However, we have to part ways with Tucker when he argues that using evidence of student growth as part of teacher evaluations is "cruel, pointless and counterproductive."

Selecting the right people for the profession and supporting them with better training is absolutely essential if we are to ensure that every student has an effective teacher. But an entire generation of students cannot be ignored while teacher preparation undergoes a needed makeover; teachers currently in classrooms have to be held accountable, too.

There's no way around it, we need to break with past traditions of pretending to evaluate teachers AND we have to raise the bar on the quality of teacher preparation. This is far from the either-or scenario that Tucker suggests, as these two reforms are both necessary to ensure there's a high-quality teacher in every classroom.

-Graham Drake