Sunday, October 26th, 2014

The Obameter

Create a voluntary national performance assessment for educators


"Will also create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively."


Updates

Rulemaking process is under way

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama said that his administration would "create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively."

When we asked the Education Department about the status of this promise, a spokeswoman said the issue is currently in the midst of rulemaking -- an often drawn-out process under which a federal agency proposes a new standard, then seeks input from various interest groups, refines its proposal, and ultimately makes the rule official.

The department kicked off the rulemaking process with an official notice posted on Oct. 26, 2011. Broadly, the subject of the rulemaking process concerns standards for educating future teachers. Among other topics, the process is slated to address:

• "The requirements for institutional and program report cards on the quality of teacher preparation.”

• "The requirements for state report cards on the quality of teacher preparation.”

• "The standards to ensure reliability, validity, and accuracy of the data submitted in report cards on the quality of teacher preparation.”

• "The criteria used by states to assess the performance of teacher preparation programs at higher education institutions in the State, the identification of low-performing programs … and the consequences of a State's termination of eligibility of a program.”

The rulemaking process doesn't use the phrase "voluntary national performance assessment,” but it does clearly address the question of how teacher education is regulated and overseen, which we think is close enough for our purposes. What keeps this from a Promise Kept is that the rulemaking effort is ongoing. Several electronic sessions were held earlier this year.

For this reason, we are keeping the rating at In the Works, and expect to do so for the duration of Obama's first term.

Sources:

Federal Register, "Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, Negotiator Nominations and Schedule of Committee Meetings—Teacher Preparation and TEACH Grant Programs," Oct. 26, 2011

Education Department, "Negotiated Rulemaking for Higher Education 2011 -- Team I, Teacher Preparation Issues," accessed Nov. 16, 2012

Voluntary assessment for teachers is under discussion, but no tangible progress yet

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said that his administration would "create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively."

In searches using Google, Whitehouse.gov and Nexis, we were unable to find any evidence that the administration has acted publicly to advance this promise, although at least one education advocate, Lewis Cohen, executive director of the Coalition of Essential Schools, told PolitiFact that the proposal is "in the discussion stage."

Whenever the "discussion stage" morphs into a tangible advance, we'll move this promise to In the Works. But as long as the discussion remains behind the scenes, we'll call it Stalled.

Sources:

Internet and Nexis searches that produced no results

Interview with Lewis Cohen, executive director of the Coalition of Essential Schools, Jan. 12, 2010