80th Annual Meeting


WHEREAS, the overwhelming body of research now demonstrates that the single most important school based factor for a childís academic success is the effectiveness of their teacher; and

WHEREAS, research shows that an ineffective teacher generates only half the learning of an effective teacher. Conversely, a highly effective teacher generates 50 percent more learning than an average teacher and as a result, children learn three times more in a highly effective teacherís classroom than in an ineffective teacherís classroom; and

WHEREAS, students who had teachers that were identified as effective (by their value-added scores, based on student test performance and growth) are more likely to attend college, attend higher-ranked colleges, earn higher salaries, and live in better neighborhoods, and had lower rates of teen pregnancy; and

WHEREAS, improving the quality of administrators is as significant as improving teacher effectiveness; and

WHEREAS, research shows that effective principals are critical to school success as they are more likely to recruit, develop and retain effective teachers compared to ineffective principals; and

WHEREAS, school leaders must therefore be able to assess teacher performance accurately in order to develop and retain an effective teaching corps that increases student achievement; and

WHEREAS, teacher evaluations that are meaningful and inform teacher practice can lead to stronger accountability for school leaders, who are in charge of developing successful schools and teachers; and

WHEREAS, currently most teacher and principal evaluation systems are inadequate in providing regular, meaningful assessments of educator impact in the classroom and school; and

WHEREAS, current evaluation systems do not prioritize objective measures of student growth to be included in assessing teacher or principal performance. This is grossly misaligned with teachersí and principalsí primary responsibility to ensure student academic achievement. Only twelve states now require that evidence of student learning is the major factor in teacher evaluation, compared to 27 states that still do not require this to be a factor at all; and

WHEREAS, thirty-four states currently do not require more than two categories of effectiveness to assess teacher performance, even though one study found that in districts that use binary evaluation ratings (satisfactory vs. unsatisfactory), less than 1 percent of teachers were rated unsatisfactory, resulting in a largely meaningless rating that neither recognizes excellence or provides feedback to inform practice; and

WHEREAS, performance is often not a meaningful factor in key personnel decisions. For example, in states that base layoff policies on teacher seniority, studies show that more than 80 percent of these layoffs would result in better teachers leaving classrooms and worse teachers staying; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has played a longstanding national leadership role in improving the quality of education, improving student academic excellence, and closing the achievement gap.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the comprehensive evaluation of educators using student achievement growth as a major factor in order to ensure that schools are able to identify, develop, retain, and reward the best teachers for every child; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the following policy priorities for teacher and principal evaluation systems:

  • Requiring meaningful principal evaluations that are developed with input from principals and teachers, use multiple measures, are conducted annually, and are grounded in school-wide objective measures of student outcomes;

  • Requiring meaningful teacher evaluations that are developed with input from teachers and principals, use multiple measures, are conducted annually, rely on observations of teachersí professional practice conducted by fully trained individuals, and are grounded in student outcomes;

  • Requiring a comprehensive principal evaluation based on student growth and effective management of teachers, and with at least 4 rating tiers of effectiveness;

  • Requiring a comprehensive teacher evaluation based at least 50 percent on objective measures of student outcomes; comprised of multiple measures focused on student outcomes, including observations and student evaluations; with at least 4 rating tiers of effectiveness; and anchoring effectiveness on a year's worth of student growth;

  • Supporting educational staffing practices that value teachers as professionals by recognizing high performers, providing frequent and meaningful feedback to inform teaching practice, instructional leadership, and school culture;

  • Creating new ways to expand the reach of the most effective teachers by collecting and analyzing evaluation data to determine best practices for increasing student achievement and providing leadership opportunities for the most effective educators;

  • Requiring that evaluations inform key personnel decisions, such as hiring, tenure, and promotion, and exiting those who are not serving students well from the system.