As the hearing to consider the nomination of Betsy DeVos begins today, my colleagues and I at New Teacher Center hope that the U.S. Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will keep America’s 50 million public school students and 3 million public school teachers at the center of its inquiry into Ms. DeVos’ philosophy and approach to her role as U.S. Secretary of Education.
As a national non-profit organization, New Teacher Center is committed to the notion that – no matter their zip code – all children in America deserve an excellent teacher.
With state, district and school partners across our nation, we currently coach and support more than 40,000 teachers across America who educate more than 3.4 million students.
Further, our teacher induction program has demonstrated statistically significant impacts on student learning and teacher practice through independent evaluations.
Educator effectiveness is the most important school-based determinant of student learning.
The multi-billion dollar federal investment in developing and supporting our nation’s teachers is an instrumental component of the policy blueprint as set forth in the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
During the hearing, we encourage senators to inquire about the commitment to educational equity and educator effectiveness that Ms. DeVos would demonstrate in her role overseeing our nation’s public schools.
Specifically, we recommend asking Ms. DeVos the following five questions:
First, how will you use the regulatory and rhetorical power of the Education Department to cultivate effective teaching and support our nation’s classroom teachers?
Second, how can the Department of Education work to improve opportunities for even the most promising or effective teachers to improve on the job through rigorous, instructionally focused coaching and mentoring?
Third: What is your position on the use of Title I funds to support educational equity in urban and rural schools that teach significant populations of low-income students?
Fourth: What is your position on Title II funding and how it helps to strengthen classroom instruction?
Finally, What is your position on continued funding for programs like Education Innovation and Research (EIR) that cultivate an evidence base of educational programs and interventions that work?
New Teacher Center recognizes that a continued federal investment in ESSA programs, a strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and a set of shared values about the importance of our nation’s public school educators is critical to providing equal educational opportunity to every child in America.
Liam Goldrick is the director of policy at New Teacher Center. His remarks first appeared in a letter to the U.S. Senate education committee and were reprinted in consultation with him.