NCPI and Battelle for Kids Host National Conference on Educator Effectiveness

Nearly 300 practitioners, policy makers, and researchers convened to discuss issues related to teacher effectiveness at a conference held at Vanderbilt University on September 20-21. TitledEvaluating and Rewarding Educator Effectiveness: Navigating the Evolving Landscape, the conference was co-hosted by NCPI and Battelle for Kids, and brought together the nation’s leading scholars and practioners to discuss this topic so relevant and critical to contemporary school reform efforts.

The conference consisted of both panel presentations and small breakout sessions, and included a range of topics including current models for evaluating educator effectiveness, state-level perspectives on evaluating educators, lessons from research, data dilemmas, and lessons learned from innovative programs. Tennessee Commissioner of Education Timothy Webb, who delivered one of the conference keynote addresses, summarized a broader message from the conference while speaking of Tennessee’s First the Top program: “It’s not about programs, it’s not about bells and whistles, but the focus is absolutely on effective leaders and effective educators start to finish. Massive amounts of investments in human capital and human capacity, that’s the focus. But not just human capacity – it’s human capacity aimed at one thing, and that’s delivering student performance.”

Brad Jupp, a senior policy advisor at the United States Department of Education, similarly spoke of the pressing need for focused reform: “This panel is about innovation and new ways to think about the culture of continuous improvement – how it touches the classroom, how it touches the schoolhouse, how you build those systems. I think the tough question that we need to ask ourselves is what in the current system, the status quo, is actually propelling us towards the results we desire? If we want to believe that improving teacher practice is not a zero sum game, a matter of simply shuffling around the limited number of good ones so we’re covering the spaces that we need them in the most – if it’s not going to be a zero sum game and teachers aren’t widgets that we can move around as replaceable parts, then what must we give away in the present practice in order to make things better?”

In addition to Commissioner Webb and Mr. Jupp, speakers included nationally recognized experts from the Alliance for Excellent Education, Austin Independent School District, Battelle for Kids, Brown University, CELT, Class Measures, Data Quality Campaign, Denver Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, Education First Consulting, Educational Testing Service, Fort Worth Independent School District, Gallup, Houston Independent School District, Louisiana Board of Regents, Memphis City Schools, National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, National Governors Association, Tennessee’s Governor’s Office, United Educators Association of Texas, Urban Education Institute, and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.

To learn more about the conference, please visit our conference webpage by clicking here. Video and audio of the conference will also be available on the website in the coming weeks.