U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Scott Brown (R-MA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced the Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leaders, Learning, and Results Act (STELLAR Student Act). This educational reform legislation directs states to implement teacher evaluation systems based on actual measures of teacher effectiveness.
The legislation is based on research which shows that teacher quality is one of the most effective and promising strategies for improving education. The legislation reforms teacher and principal evaluations to, among other things, include measures of actual student academic growth and requires that these evaluation systems inform key personnel decisions including pay and retention. This bill asks for input from teachers and principals in designing and improving assessment systems, recognizes the importance of observation and other ongoing formative assessments, and calls for targeted professional development.
The STELLAR Student Act also encourages school districts to assist low performing teachers by setting up comprehensive remediation and improvement plans. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Davis and Congressman Polis.
The STELLAR Student Act would:
* Direct states to implement a teacher assessment system that bases teacher effectiveness predominantly on student academic growth and other measures including classroom observations;
* Direct states to implement a principal assessment system that bases effectiveness predominantly on student academic growth as well as improvement in graduation rates, leadership, and successful hiring, development, evaluation, and retention of teachers;
* Tie Title 1 funding to teacher and principal evaluations that incorporate multiple measures, relying predominantly on measures of student academic growth and achievement, as well as classroom performance;
* Require that evaluations be used to inform key personnel decisions including tenure, compensation, and layoffs in the event of any reduction in force;
* Encourage input from teachers and principals in the development and improvement of evaluations; and
* Encourage improved targeting of professional development based on these evaluations.
"We will do a disservice to our nation's future and the prospects of our children if we do not take bold steps to improve our nation's public education system. This commonsense legislation addresses a critical factor in meeting that challenge by improving the quality of teachers and principals in the nation's schools," stated Senator Lieberman.
"For America to remain the world's superpower in the 21st century, we must ensure that our students are receiving a first-class education from the best teachers. By encouraging states to thoroughly evaluate teachers' job performance, our bipartisan legislation gives schools the tools and flexibility necessary to keep our education system strong during these difficult economic times. This bill will create an environment where teachers are focused on being the best teachers they can be, which will translate into a better education for our students," stated Senator Brown.
"Our public education system must do a better job to identify and reward effective teachers and leaders. And where teachers and leaders aren't making the grade, we must help them improve," Sen. Landrieu said. "The STELLAR Student Act addresses this problem by enhancing teacher and principal evaluations so that they factor in multiple performance measures, including student academic growth. With more accurate evaluations, our schools will be able recognize and reward the most deserving educators and offer critical support to those who need to improve."