Arne on Teacher Evaluation Metrics and Celebrating Success in STEM

Arne recently sat down to answer a couple of questions posted to his Facebook page. In response to Lori’s question about teacher evaluation metrics, Arne said that we have to look at multiple measures in order to see how much students are improving, and how much they are growing each year. Other measures include peer assistance, principal evaluation, portfolios, what teachers are doing in terms of their own professional development, and what leadership teachers provide to their school and community.

“Whether it is a teacher, a principal, anyone in education, anyone in any other field, you have to look at multiples measures, student’s growth and achievement being a part of that, and a significant part, but just one piece of that overall equation,” Duncan said.

Nils commented on the need to celebrate the success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) areas just as we celebrate great athletes. Arne agreed and said that a good starting point is to recruit about 100,000 additional STEM teachers over the next decade so that not only high school students, but 4th, and 5th, and 6th graders have a chance to be taught by teachers who are passionate about and love the STEM fields.

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Join the conversation in the comments below and feel free to ask Arne a question by checking out his Facebook page.


  1. I’d like to see an answer to Francesca’s question.

    The fruits of the bad economy for our students: homelessness, overcrowded living conditions, unemployed and highly stressed parents turning to drugs and alcohol to cope…

    I’d also like to ask how are you going to get young people to enter this low paying profession once you take away the one thing teaching always did have to offer- relatively good job security? How are you going to get these new teachers to teach in schools with high poverty rates and high levels of non English proficient students -like I do- once they know their evaluations will be based on students’ test scores? The best and brightest will flock to middle and upper class schools where they don’t have to worry about the achievement gap- a gap that NOBODY has figured out how to close.

    The government was quick to label my Title 1 school and district as failing, but not so quick to offer much support to help things. Instead, in the last few years we have lost funding for counselors and after school programs, class size has increased, and we have been asked to take furlough days to shorten the school year and cut our pay. How is this “program impovement”?

    This vent is coming from someone in the trenches who still loves teaching but now suffers tension headaches, insomnia, weight issues, and just plain sadness due to the stress caused by pressure to teach to the test and bring up test scores at all costs.

  2. My concern is with the PRAXIS. The PRAXIS has been a factor in me not becoming a classroom teacher. It is just to make money. I know it is a unfair test, yet many states has it to determine if one can teach. Arkansas, it is time you stop this PRAXIS mess and use the college degree earned!

  3. Our students spent 1 out of each ten classroom days testing, MEAP, NWEA, PSAT. We are wasting time and resources by being so obsessed over testing and teacher performance metrics. Its called a metric because it can be done 1000 different ways with no proof that it is better than any other method. Just like their is no proof that testing improves educational outcomes, nor does any of the other garbage that come from DC or our state capital. Let teachers teachers teach. Set up the system to recruit the best and the brightest and put education in the hands of professionals.

  4. Please tell me Secretary Duncan, how we can participate in Race to the Top, when our Clothing Bank (as of last week) ran out of shoes and is desperately low on clothing? Also, our elementary students will have a difficult time racing, when they have no transportation from the hotels they are living out of in our district. Luckily, our school bus picks them up at one of the 14 hotels in our school district and brings them to school to take the tests for their teachers’ evaluations. Don’t know if the bus will take them to the race. By the way, I am lucky enough to teach AND live in my school’s neighborhood.

    • I’m a retired teacher, still keeping upgraded my skills through research, books, and news. Always trying to contribute to all kinds of innovative ideas and strategies in order to improve our system and the quality of education of children of all ages.

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