Today, Bill Gates released his annual letter. This year's focused on the importance of setting clear goals and measuring progress in all sectors, including our education system. According to Gates, we must have a stronger teacher evaluation system if we want to empower teachers and improve education.
The Gates Foundation supported the Measures of Effective Teaching project, involving dozens of researchers and nearly 3,000 teacher volunteers from seven U.S. public school districts who opened their classrooms to the Gates Foundation in an effort to improve the way schools measure great teaching. The results were released earlier this month. The project revealed that using multiple measures like classroom observation, student sturveys and growth in student achievement can provide a “reliable picture of a teacher’s strengths and areas for improvement than any one measure alone”
Critics of a strong evaluation system believe it costs too much. However, according to the report it would only cost between 1.5 and 2% of the overall budget for teacher compensation and benefits to implement these measures.
In his letter, Gates expresses support for a reliable system to measure and support effective teachers:
“The countries that have better education systems than the United States provide more teacher feedback than we do today, but I think it is possible to do even better than any country has done so far."