Md. gets poor mark in teacher regulations

January 29, 2010|By Liz Bowie | liz.bowie@baltsun.com

The National Council on Teacher Quality has issued a report card that gives Maryland a D, the average grade for all the states in the nation, for its laws and regulations governing teachers.

Florida had the highest grade - a C minus - and Maine, Montana and Vermont all failed. No state got an A or B.

The report looks at every state's laws and regulations on educators, including compensation and whether school districts link student test scores to teacher evaluations. Those issues are now being debated in the legislature and school districts as Maryland prepares to position itself to apply for federal money known as Race to the Top.

Kate Walsh, the president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, also serves on the state school board and has been pushing for statewide reforms.

Maryland school Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick announced last month that she will seek legislative changes to lengthen the time it takes teachers to get tenure from two years to three or four years, as well as asking the state board to make regulatory changes.

In particular, the report says, Maryland makes it difficult for districts to attempt to fire poor teachers. The state should separate the policies for dismissing teachers for criminal or moral violations from the policies for getting rid of teachers who are inadequate, the report says.

In addition, the report says the state's teacher evaluation and tenure policies don't use objective measures, such as student test results, in deciding how well a teacher is performing in the classroom.

"Maryland has a highly effective teacher corps," said William Reinhard, a spokesman for the state education department. "At the same time, we are moving forward with new ideas to further bolster instruction, such as strengthening our tenure programs, exploring new compensation models and linking student learning to teacher evaluations."


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