Better teachers improve student outcomes, ranging from test scores to college attendance rates to career earnings. Federal policy has begun to catch up with these findings in its recent shift from an effort to ensure that all teachers have traditional credentials to policies intended to incentivize states to evaluate and retain teachers based on their classroom performance. But new federal policy can be slow to produce significant change on the ground. The Obama Administration has pushed the creation of a new generation of meaningful teacher evaluation systems at the state level through more than $4 billion in Race to the Top funding to 19 states and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability waivers to 43 states. A majority of states have passed laws requiring the adoption of teacher evaluation systems that incorporate student achievement data, but only a handful had fully implemented new teacher evaluation systems as of the 2012-13 school year.
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