R.I. scores better than most on teacher policy yearbook report

RHODE ISLAND SCORED AMONG the top five states in the United States with a B in the 2017 State Teacher Policy Yearbook from the National Council on Teacher Quality. / COURTESY NATIONAL COUNCIL ON TEACHER QUALITY
RHODE ISLAND SCORED AMONG the top five states in the United States with a B in the 2017 State Teacher Policy Yearbook from the National Council on Teacher Quality. / COURTESY NATIONAL COUNCIL ON TEACHER QUALITY

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island received a “B” grade from the National Council on Teacher Quality in its biennial 2017 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, the NCTQ announced Wednesday.

Rhode Island was among the top five states in the report with only two states scoring higher than the Ocean State, Florida and Louisiana, which both earned B+ grades. Three states tied Rhode Island’s overall B score: New York, New Jersey and Tennessee.

The national average score was a C-, the same as the national average in 2015, the last time the report was released. Rhode Island’s score improved from a B- in the last report.

Rhode Island’s lowest score was for teacher compensation policy, which the NCTQ said was due to the state’s lack of support for performance pay for teachers working in high-need schools and teaching in shortage areas as well as, “lack of encouragement for additional compensation for new teachers with relevant prior work experience.”

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Massachusetts received a score of B- in the report. Massachusetts received its highest score in the report for its general teacher preparation with a B+ and scored its lowest score in teacher compensation with an F.  The Bay State scored a B- in 2015 as well.

“States’ teacher policies have an enormous impact on the quality of education in the state,” said Elizabeth Ross, managing director of state policy at NCTQ, in a statement. “By highlighting opportunities for improvement, as well as strong policies, this yearbook is designed to catalyze state action. We know the progress sates are capable of making and urge them to do so.”

The report noted that more states earned a lower grade in a subsequent report (from 2015 to 2017) than any other time during the tenure of the yearbook scores.

States were graded on nine major areas: general teacher preparation, elementary teacher preparation, secondary teacher preparation, special education teacher preparation, alternate route teacher preparation, hiring, teacher and principal evaluation and retention of effective teachers.

The alternate route preparation grade is based upon states programs to allow qualified workers into teaching from unconventional routes such as professionals seeking to enter the education sector.

Rhode Island individual area grades

  • General teacher preparation: B+
  • Elementary teacher preparation: C
  • Secondary teacher preparation: C+
  • Special education teacher preparation: C+
  • Alternate routes: C
  • Hiring: B
  • Teacher and principal evaluation: B
  • Teacher Compensation: F
  • Retaining effective teachers: D

Massachusetts individual area grades

  • General teacher preparation: B+
  • Elementary teacher preparation: C
  • Secondary teacher preparation: C
  • Special education teacher preparation: B
  • Alternate routes: C
  • Hiring: C
  • Teacher and principal evaluation: B
  • Teacher Compensation: F
  • Retaining effective teachers: D+

National average for individual area grades

  • General teacher preparation: C
  • Elementary teacher preparation: C-
  • Secondary teacher preparation: C-
  • Special education teacher preparation: D
  • Alternate routes: D+
  • Hiring: C-
  • Teacher and principal evaluation: C
  • Teacher Compensation: D+
  • Retaining effective teachers: D+

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.