ATLANTA — In a national report released last week, the National Council on Teacher Quality singled out eight SREB states for "best practices" in state laws and policies that help to provide public school students with effective teachers.
The report examined each state’s laws and policies on educators, including teacher preparation, evaluation, tenure, dismissal, alternative certification and compensation. Although half of the 16 SREB states ranked high in certain areas, no state received an A in any category nationally.
Many issues covered in the National Council on Teacher Quality report are under discussion nationwide as states and districts prepare to apply for federal Race to the Top funding and focus more intently on improving teacher effectiveness and measuring the impact of high-quality teachers on student achievement — just as SREB’s Challenge to Lead Goals for Education call on states to do.
"The National Center for Teacher Quality report shows that many SREB states have good policies in place to promote high-quality teaching. The challenge now is to build on this foundation of success and do more to recruit high-quality teachers, provide them with the excellent training they need, and to insist that quality continues in the classroom," said Joan Lord, SREB’s vice president of Education Policies.
Among the highlights in the 2009 State Teacher Policy Yearbook:
- Alabama is the only state nationally cited for best practices in making teacher licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.
- Georgia is the only state nationally cited for best practices in ensuring that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content.
- Mississippi is one of three states cited nationally for best practices in closing the loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching.
- North Carolina is the only state cited nationally for best practices in encouraging districts to provide compensation for related prior subject-area work experience in order to retain effective teachers.
- Tennessee is the only state cited nationally for best practices in developing a data system that contributes some of the evidence needed to assess teacher effectiveness.
- Oklahoma is the only state cited nationally for best practices in requiring annual evaluations of all teachers and multiple evaluations of new teachers. Oklahoma also is one of two states noted for best practices in articulating consequences for teachers with unsatisfactory evaluations.
- South Carolina is the only state cited nationally for best practices in requiring effective induction for all new teachers, with special emphasis on teachers in high-needs schools.
- Virginia is one of three states cited nationally for best practices in ensuring that new elementary teachers know the science of reading instruction.
While the average state grade was a D, most SREB states fared better. Florida received the highest overall grade in the nation, with a C. All seven states to receive a C- are SREB states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
For more information about teacher preparation and quality in SREB states, contact SREB Communications.
The Southern Regional Education Board, or SREB, based in Atlanta, was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. More information is available online at www.sreb.org.