Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Four Recommendations for Reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Press Release

RELEASE: Four Recommendations for Reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Washington, DC– Today, the Center for American Progress released a new paper that provides recommendations on how the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, can improve teacher and principal quality. “Advancing Teacher and Principal Effectiveness: Four Recommendations for Reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” by Ulrich Boser and Robin Chait examines some of the issues with the current law and offers recommendations for change.

“The federal government spends billions of dollars each year on education and it’s important that those funds are spent strategically so all students have access to strong teachers and leaders. It’s time for Congress to act and reauthorize ESEA, to begin the process of much-needed reforms like evaluation of the adults responsible for the day to day work of educating the nation’s children,” said Ulrich Boser, co-author of the paper and a Senior Fellow at CAP.

The President has said that he wants to see ESEA reauthorized by the time students head back to school this fall, and the upcoming reauthorization is an important opportunity to improve teacher and principal effectiveness. The report recommends that Congress:

  • Authorize a Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund that supports innovative strategies to recruit, retain, and reward effective teachers and principals
  • Create a Teacher and Leader Pathways program that focuses on preparing effective educators for high-needs schools
  • Require states to develop next-generation teacher and principal evaluation systems and ensure the equitable distribution of strong teachers
  • Improve effectiveness by boosting capacity and consolidating programs

As research by CAP staff and other experts have shown, effective teachers are critical to raising student achievement. Many states and districts have been retooling their teacher evaluation systems to incorporate measures of student performance, and the upcoming reauthorization of ESEA offers an important opportunity for the federal government to help states improve teacher and principal effectiveness and ensure that all students have access to good teachers.