Vallay Varro was a founding state executive director. She now serves as the president of 50CAN.

The first step in smart policy-making is getting the facts. When it comes to putting a great teacher in every Minnesota classroom, the facts tell us that we need to start by establishing a better system for evaluating our educators.

MinnCAN’s new issue brief, Building a Barometer of Teacher Effectiveness, examines teacher evaluations in Minnesota, including how frequent and effective they are (here’s a hint: they’re not). You can download the full issue brief here.

The report has a lot of interesting nuggets about Minnesota’s teacher evaluation system, including:

  • Dusty data. Minnesota has one of the best data systems in the country, but we don’t actually use it to give teachers the feedback they need.

  • Ineffective evaluations. Because teacher evaluations are rare, seldom based on how much students are learning, and almost never have consequences, they have little impact on the quality of teaching in our public schools.

  • A blueprint for reform. The issue brief explains how Minnesota can build on its strong data system to enact effective teacher evaluations this legislative session.

Common sense tells us that great teachers matter, and that we need meaningful and objective evaluations to find and reward the superstars in Minnesota, and to help the struggling teachers. The findings laid out in Building a Barometer of Teacher Effectiveness confirm this hunch.

We think our kids and parents deserve to have teachers who are evaluated. Getting the facts is not enough to make smart policy. It takes political will to act on those facts—something that we as advocates have the power to generate.

Please spread the word and share this report with your friends, family and elected officials. The brighter we shine a spotlight on these facts, the harder they are to ignore.


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