Posted: 01/25/2012 03:00:00 AM EST
Wednesday January 25, 2012 CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire has made almost no progress in enacting policies that promote teacher quality in the last two years and continues to score poorly in a national report being released Wednesday.
The National Council on Teacher Quality is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on teacher policies at the federal, state and local level. Its report, called the State Policy Teacher Yearbook, grades states on their policies to ensure the quality of teachers entering the classroom, to retain the best and to get rid of the worst.
Many states saw a dramatic improvement in their grades this year compared to 2009, when the highest grade given was a C and Florida was the only state to receive it. New Hampshire’s overall grade of D-minus was unchanged, however. It received grades of D or D-minus in four categories -- the same grades it got in 2009 -- and in one category, improved from an F to a D.
In that area -- identifying effective teachers -- New Hampshire met the council’s goal of having a system capable of collecting evidence of teacher effectiveness. But unlike other states, it has no policy for including student achievement as a measure of teacher effectiveness and instead gives local school boards the power to set teach evaluation procedures.
In response to that and other criticisms, the state responded that it has a task force working on many of the recommendations cited by the report.
That task force is creating a framework for teacher evaluations that will include multiple measures of student achievement, the state said. New Hampshire ranked 26th compared to other states and met just three of the council’s 36 goals -- one related to its system to collect teacher and student data, one related to training for high school science teachers and one related alternate methods by which people can become teachers.
According to the report, some of the state’s other strengths include being on the right track in ensuring that elementary school teachers are prepared to begin teaching, giving school districts full authority for setting teachers’ salaries and prohibiting districts from enacting "last hired, first fired" layoff policies.
But the state was criticized on multiple fronts, such as not providing mentoring to all new teachers, significantly underfunding the pension system and failing to assure that teachers who receive poor evaluations will be eligible for firing if they fail to improve.