The NY Times editorializes today on a new independent study -- based on surveys in four states including Arkansas -- that concludes schools suffer from a lack of meaningful evaluation of teachers. Good teachers aren't recognized. Poor teachers aren't helped or, if they can't be helped, rooted out.
To break out of this failing system, the report says, the states will need to create effective evaluation practices. Those must fairly rate teachers’ different levels of ability. School districts must also invest in teacher development programs and be prepared to fire bad teachers who show no ability or desire to get better. These are the kinds of changes that the states need to embrace — and that Secretary Duncan needs to push for.
I mentioned this report some days ago. It's worth noting that I received a copy, and supportive remarks about it, from the Arkansas Education Association.