Summary of Objectives

To elevate the teaching profession by valuing teachers' impact on students, StudentsFirst will pursue the following policy objectives:

  • State law must require evaluation that is based substantially on student achievement. Evaluation tools should measure at least half of a teacher's performance based on student achievement, using a value-added growth model. The other aspects of a teacher's evaluations should derive from measures that align with student results, including high-quality observations and student evaluations of teacher practice.
  • To avoid all teachers being ranked as effective without meaningful assessment, evaluations must anchor effectiveness around a year's worth of growth.
  • State law must require principal evaluation that is based on student achievement and effective management of teachers. Districts should evaluate at least half of a school administrator's performance based on student achievement, and the remaining portion should mostly relate to their ability to attract, retain, manage, and develop excellent teachers.
  • State law should give districts the autonomy to develop teacher evaluation systems apart from the collective bargaining process. Evaluations should be a matter of district policy.
  • States must reduce legal barriers to entry in the teaching profession, including complicated credentialing or certification schemes that rely upon factors that do not clearly correlate with teacher effectiveness.
  • State law should not be structured to penalize districts financially for recruiting teachers from alternate certification programs.
  • States should adopt a clear process by which alternative certification programs are authorized, continually evaluated, and decommissioned if not producing high-quality educators.
  • State law must facilitate digital learning by allowing certification for online instruction and modifying or eliminating mandatory "seat time" laws.
  • State law must require pay structures based primarily on effectiveness. Teacher contracts must allow for individual performance-based pay.
  • State law and district policy should not mandate higher salaries for master's degrees or additional education credits.
  • State law should require staffing decisions (transfers, reductions, placements) be based on teacher effectiveness.
  • State laws must prohibit forced placements and allow district control in staffing. Districts should ensure that teacher contracts require mutual consent placements. Districts should have the flexibility to offer defined grace periods, severance, or other options for teachers who have effective ratings, but do not find a mutually agreeable placement. Teachers rated ineffective should be exited from the system.
  • State law should not grant, implicitly or directly, tenure or permanent contracts for PK–12 education professionals.