4

Prepare, support, and retain excellent teachers for all—but especially low-income students.

Excellent Teaching

Total Points
Incomplete
13
Complete
6

4(a) - Improve the Process and Outcomes of Teacher Preparation Programs

1 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 1 out of 4 available points for improving teacher preparation programs.

In 2015, Connecticut established legislation requiring teacher candidates in preparation programs to have field experiences in both low-achieving and high-achieving schools.That piece of legislation also required the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) to annually report on the quality of teacher preparation programs.2 However, according to a letter sent by Commissioner Wentzell to the General Assembly, no such report has ever been publicly produced.3 Once this is implemented, the CSDE should revoke approval from teacher preparation programs that do not produce enough effective teachers.

The Connecticut State Department of Education should also provide clear coursework guidelines for all teacher preparation programs. And the state should encourage growth of alternate routes to certification by allowing effectiveness measures to be substituted for the standards of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).4


4(b) - Weight Teacher Evaluation Towards Student Achievement

0 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 0 out of 4 available points for tying teacher evaluation and support to student achievement.

In 2012, the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) established that 45% of a teacher’s overall evaluation would be based on student growth indicators, of which half could be linked to statewide assessments.5 This new system was piloted in the 2012-2013 school year.6 However, concerns related to the first year of implementing the Smarter Balanced Assessment across the state led PEAC to recommend that the assessment component should be delayed from counting towards evaluations until 2015-16.7 In 2016, the State Board of Education approved another PEAC recommendation to delay the use of standardized assessments as part of educator evaluations until the FY 2017-18 school year.8

It is important to note that the federal reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act, provides flexibility about whether educator evaluations have to include measures of student growth.9 However, the state has said that 2017-18 would be the last year in which the link between teacher evaluations and student growth was delayed.10

Connecticut should also link evaluation results to teacher compensation and placement, and should prioritize variables besides seniority in layoff decisions. Finally, Connecticut needs to build a K-12 data system that links teacher evaluation results to student, course, and administrative data.


4(c) - Keep Effective Teachers Teaching

1 out of 3 points

Connecticut receives 0 out of 3 available points for practices to develop and retain effective teachers.

Existing statute requires each school district to establish professional development committees (PDECs) to create annual professional development plans for its certified employees. PDECs are part of the teacher evaluation plans which must be annually approved by Connecticut State Department of Education.11 Recently, the CSBE also developed guidelines for PDECs to follow in connecting professional development to the improvement of instructional practices.12

In addition to implementing individualized professional development statewide, Connecticut must also restructure teacher compensation so that it is tied to both performance and a career ladder.


4(d) - Relate Teacher Tenure to Effectiveness

4 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 4 out of 4 available points for tying teacher tenure to effectiveness.

Legislation passed in 2012 incorporated the new teacher evaluation and support system—which measures effectiveness—into the determination of whether teachers will receive tenure protections.13 Through the evaluation process, administrators must identify specific professional learning that will help teachers achieve their classroom goals and objectives.14

Teachers rated as “ineffective” in the new evaluation and support system will be given a year of individualized professional development, and should be terminated upon failure to improve. In addition, teachers who have tenure may also be removed for ineffectiveness.15


4(e) - Get Highly Effective Teachers to the Lowest-Performing Schools

0 out of 4 points

Connecticut receives 0 out of 4 points for attracting and retaining highly effective teachers in the neediest districts and schools.

Currently, the Teacher Negotiation Act requires that conditions of employment be collectively bargained.16 Connecticut would benefit from changes so that incentives could be used to attract and retain effective teachers, and provide them with resources and opportunities such as mentorship.

In addition, the state should have data on teacher effectiveness to drive policy and decision-making. In 2016, the Freedom of Information Commission ruled that aggregate summative educator evaluation ratings should be made publicly available.17 The Connecticut State Department of Education is apparently collecting longitudinal data that connects teachers with courses and students (TCS).18 However, recent testimony in the “CCJEF v. Rell” case suggests that the department did not use or distribute any of the student growth data on teachers.19


Excellent Teaching Rubric

4(a) - Improve the Process and Outcomes of Teacher Preparation Programs - 4 points available

  • The CSDE provides clear coursework guidelines for teacher preparation programs to produce effective teachers--including requiring all elementary and special education teachers to pass the Foundations of Reading and Math assessments.
  • The CSDE requires teacher candidates to have more in-classroom field experiences, including at least one field experience in a high-poverty school with an effective teacher.
  • The CSDE requires all teacher preparation programs to publicly report data on their students and graduates, and revokes approval of teacher preparation programs that do not produce enough effective teachers.
  • The CSBE increases the growth of Alternate Route to Certification (ARC) programs by allowing effectiveness measures to be substituted for the standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

4(b) - Weight Teacher Evaluation Towards Student Achievement - 4 points available

  • Districts are required to use a teacher evaluation system that gives significant weight to student growth.
  • The evaluation system is tied to compensation and placement, and protects against arbitrary dismissals.
  • CT institutes a K-12 data system that links student, teacher, course, and administrative data.
  • Legislation requires variables besides seniority to be used in teacher layoff decisions.

4(c) - Keep Effective Teachers Teaching - 3 points available

  • Legislation restructures teacher compensation by requiring it to be aligned with a tiered career ladder framework.
  • Legislation restructures teacher compensation by requiring it to be aligned with performance bonuses.
  • CT establishes a statewide system linking professional development to effectiveness so that teachers receive clear feedback about how to improve their instructional practices.

4(d) - Relate Teacher Tenure to Effectiveness - 4 points available

  • School districts are required to use teacher evaluations as the basis for imposing additional training requirements and termination of ineffective teachers.
  • School districts are required to give ineffective teachers a specific period of time for improvement.
  • The Teacher Tenure Act is modified so that tenure ceases to be a barrier to the timely removal of persistently ineffective teachers.
  • The Teacher Tenure Act is modified so that tenure is only granted to teachers who have demonstrated teaching effectiveness.

4(e) - Get Highly Effective Teachers to the Lowest-Performing Schools - 4 points available

  • Legislation permits philanthropic assistance to be earmarked for financial incentives to attract and retain highly effective teachers in the lowest-performing districts.
  • Legislation permits philanthropic assistance to be earmarked to fund additional support and mentoring for teachers in these districts.
  • Legislation requires teachers to give notice of plans to leave their school districts by March.
  • Legislation requires the state to publicly report anonymous data on the distribution of teachers by effectiveness.
= Complete     = Incomplete

Sources


  1. P.A. 15-243.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Letter from Commissioner Wentzell to the Clerks of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Connecticut General Assembly on September 1, 2016, “Status Report on the Progress of the Educator Preparation Data Dashboard.” Received via e-mail to KSG on October 31, 2016 from CSDE.
  4. Connecticut State Department of Education (2015). Connecticut Performance Evaluation Advisory Council Presentation. Retrieved October 2016. (Indicating that CAEP standards will continue to be used for educator preparation programs).
  5. Connecticut State Department of Education (2012). Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation and Support. Last retrieved Aug. 2015.\
  6. UConn Center for Education Policy Analysis; Neag School of Education (2014). An Evaluation of the Pilot Implementation of Connecticut’s System for Educator Evaluation and Development. Last retrieved Dec. 2015.
  7. Connecticut State Department of Education Press Release (2014). Educators Receive Flexibility and Support as Multiple Reforms Implemented Across State. Last retrieved Aug. 2015.
  8. Connecticut State Board of Education (2016). State Board of Education Meeting Minutes from April 6, 2016. Retrieved October 2016.
  9. Teamwork (2016). The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Implications for Paraeducators, Teachers, and Administrators. Retrieved October 2016.
  10. Connecticut State Board of Education (2016). State Board of Education Meeting Minutes from April 6, 2016. Retrieved October 2016.\
  11. Connecticut State Department of Education (2015). Educator Evaluation and Support Plan. Retrieved November 2016.
  12. C.G.S. Sec. 10-220a.
  13. C.G.S. 10-151.
  14. Connecticut State Department of Education (2015). 2015 SEED Handbook Connecticut’s System for Educator Evaluation and Development. Last retrieved Dec. 2015.
  15. C.G.S. 10-151.
  16. C.G.S. 10-153a et seq.
  17. Freedom of Information Commission. Final Decision FIC2015-453. Retrieved October 2016.
  18. Data Collections Guide for Schools and Districts, 2015-16. Retrieved October 2016.
  19. CCJEF v. Rell,” a Superior Court decision by Judge Thomas Moukawsher. Retrieved September, 2016.