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Report: Colorado is good at removing teachers, but not at retaining them

Colorado’s policies on removing ineffective teachers from the classroom received high marks from the National Center for Teacher Quality, according to the organization’s annual review released Thursday.

National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) is a research and policy organization that advocates for tougher standards and evaluations for teachers. Their findings and recommendations — particularly around teacher preparation programs — have divided education observers.

Its annual yearbook grades states on a variety of metrics, including degree requirements for teachers and teacher trainers, evaluations that are tied to student test scores and public reporting of teacher effectiveness.

Colorado received an overall grade of C+, an increase over last year’s C and higher that the nationwide average of C-. The increase can likely be attributed to the rollout of SB-191, which overhauled educator evaluations and tied evaluations to student test scores. (Part of the law is currently being challenged by the Denver teachers union.)

Colorado received an A for policies that remove “ineffective” teachers from the classroom but took a blow for failing to retain teachers deemed effective. States that received high marks include Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee, all states where lawmakers have undertaken aggressive accountability-based education reform. Montana received an F, the lowest grade handed out.

Other local highlights from the report include:

  • Colorado received praise for banning of emergency licenses, although some rural districts struggling to hire for positions have criticized that prohibition.
  • The state received low marks for preparing teachers, which NCTQ judged by whether a state requires proficiency tests for teachers and only selects teacher candidates from the top half of the college-going population by GPA.
  • Colorado teachers are not required to pass tests on pedagogy or the science of how students read, a requirement that NCTQ states increases knowledge of appropriate teaching techniques.

For more, see the full report. A summary of Colorado’s grades is available here.

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