Is Your Child's Teacher Making the Grade?
With all the talk about whether or not our education system is serving students well, you may be wondering how your child's teacher rates or if she's making the grade. There are a number of ways to determine that, but it's important you are able to define what "making the grade" means to you, as there are a number of ways of finding out how your child's teacher does rate.
From teacher certification and credentials to test scores and federal funding, there's a lot of information available about your child's school and teacher.
Many states allow parents to look up teacher certification information by name. Using the U.S. Department of Education's listing of the State Education Agencies websites, you can locate the necessary contact or webform.
Depending on your state, you may also be able to learn whether your child's teacher's college degree is a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate. Some states also provide information as to whether there have been validated complaints against teachers.
Teachers who have National Board Certification (also known as NBCTs) have gone above and beyond the necessary certification requirements for their state license. NCBTs not only do additional coursework, but also complete 10 assessments in their specialized subject areas.
National Board Certification is an indicator that your child's teacher is highly dedicated to teaching and has committed to doing what it takes to be a leader in the field. Out of all the teachers in the United States, there are currently only 82,000 NBCTs.
While you can find out by word-of-mouth how other people think your child's teacher rates, sometimes people are hesitant to voice their opinions. The RateMyTeachers website has an extensive searchable database of teacher reviews. It can be searched by school or teacher name and provides numerical reviews based on four points: Easiness, Helpfulness, Clarity and Popularity. There is also a section for comments.
Note: These are anecdotal reviews provided by parents and students and should not be taken as anymore than opinion.
The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics website provides a number of data tools that you can use to explore your school district. The tools allow you to compare test scores, look at the demographic data of your school and compare your state's test scores to other states' scores.
The Education Nation Scorecard is a multi-member project presented by GreatSchools in conjunction with partners like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National PTA. Here you can find out information about your state's expectations and how they compare to other states' standards. You can also look up specific schools and see how they perform on tests, their graduation rates and how all that compares nationally and to other districts in the same state.