ASSESSING ACHIEVEMENTOur proposal will maintain support for state efforts to improve the quality of their assessment systems, and to develop and implement the upgraded standards and assessments required by the College- and Career-Ready Students program. Improved assessments can be used to accurately measure student growth; to better measure how states, districts, schools, principals, and teachers are educating students; to help teachers adjust and focus their teaching; and to provide better information to students and their families.States will receive formula grants to develop and implement high-quality assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards in English language arts and mathemat- ics that accurately measure student academic achievement and growth, provide feedback to support and improve teaching, and measure school success and progress. States may also use funds to develop or implement high-quality, rigorous statewide assessments in other academic or career and technical subjects, high school course assessments, English language proficiency assessments, and interim or formative assessments. Beginning in 2015, formula funds will be available only to states that are implementing assessments11based on college- and career-ready standards that are common to a significant numberof states. The program also will support competitive grants to consortia of states, and to other entities working in partnership with states, for research on, or development and improvement of, additional high-quality assessments to be used by multiple states in such areas as science, history, or foreign languages; high school course assessments in academ- ic and career and technical subjects; universally designed assessments; and assessments for English Learners and students with disabilities.SCHOOL TURNAROUND GRANTSOur proposal will make available significant grants to help states, districts, and schools implement the rigorous interventions required in each state’s lowest-performing Challenge schools under the College- and Career-Ready Students program.States will receive funds by formula and may reserve funds to build their capacity to improve low-performing schools, including developing and implementing effective school quality review teams to assist schools in identifying school needs and supporting school improvement. States will award the remainder of funds competitively to districts or partnerships of districts and nonprofit organizations to implement one of the following intervention models, to be selected locally, to ensure significant changes in the operation, governance, staffing, or instructional program of a school:▶ Transformation model: Replace the principal, strengthen staffing, implement a re- search-based instructional program, provide extended learning time, and imple- ment new governance and flexibility.▶ Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50 percent of the school staff, implement a research-based instructional program, provide ex- tended learning time, and implement new governance structure.▶ Restart model: Convert or close and reopen the school under the management of an effective charter operator, charter management organization, or education management organization.▶ School closure model: Close the school and enroll students who attended it in other, higher-performing schools in the district.Districts and their partners will receive 3-year awards to fully and effectively implement one of these intervention models, and will be eligible for two additional years of funding to support a school’s ongoing improvement if the school is showing progress.In addition, the Secretary will reserve a portion of School Turnaround Grants for additional activities designed to enhance state, district, and nonprofit capacity to improve schools, such as investing in model school quality review teams to identify school needs and support school improvement.12Great Teachers and Great LeadersGrreat Teachers and Great LeadersOf all the work that occurs at every level of our education system, the interaction between teacher and student is the primary determinant of student success.A great teacher can make the difference between a student who achieves at high levels and a student who slips through the cracks, and a great principal can help teachers succeed as part of a strong, well-supported instructional team. Research shows that top-performing teachers can make a dramatic difference in the achievement of their students, and suggests that the impact of being assigned to top-performing teachers year after year is enough to significantly narrow achievement gaps. We have to do more to ensure that every student has an effective teacher, every school has effective leaders, and every teacher and leader has access to the preparation, on-going support, recognition, and collaboration opportunities he or she need to succeed. Our proposals will ask states and districts to put in place the conditions that allow for teachers, principals, and leaders at all levels of the school system to get meaningful information about their practice, and support them in using this information to ensure that all students are getting the effective teaching they deserve.A New Approach▶ Elevating the profession and focusing on recruiting, preparing, developing, and rewarding effective teachers and leaders.▶ Focusing on teacher and leader effectiveness in improving student outcomes.▶ Supporting states and districts that are willing to take bold action to increase thenumber of effective teachers and leaders where they are needed most.▶ Strengthening pathways into teaching and school leadership positions in high- need schools.13EFFECTIVE TEACHERS AND LEADERSOur proposal will continue and improve formula grants to states and school districts to improve the effectiveness of teachers and leaders, and ensure that students in high-need schools are being taught by effective teachers in schools led by effective principals. To help meet these goals, states and districts may choose how to spend funds to meet local needs, as long as they are improving teacher and principal effectiveness and ensuring the equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals. To measure, develop, and improve the effectiveness of their teachers, leaders, and preparation programs, states and districts will be required to put in place a few specific policies and systems, including:▶ Statewide definitions of “effective teacher,” “effective principal,” “highly effec- tive teacher,” and “highly effective principal,” developed in collaboration with teachers, principals, and other stakeholders, that are based in significant part on student growth and also include other measures, such as classroom observations of practice. As states transition to using these measures of effectiveness, we will maintain the provisions of current law relating to “Highly Qualified Teachers,” but with additional flexibility.14▶ State-level data systems that link information on teacher and principal prepara- tion programs to the job placement, student growth, and retention outcomes of their graduates.▶ District-level evaluation systems that (i) meaningfully differentiate teachers and principals by effectiveness across at least three performance levels; (ii) are consis- tent with their state’s definitions of “effective” and “highly effective” teacher and principal; (iii) provide meaningful feedback to teachers and principals to improve their practice and inform professional development; and (iv) are developed in collaboration with teachers, principals, and other education stakeholders.Developing Effective Teachers and Leaders. Both states and school districts will carry out strategies to develop effective teachers and leaders that meet their local needs.States may use funds to recruit and develop effective teachers and principals, supportthe creation of effective educator career ladders, and improve teacher and principal certification and retention policies to better reflect a candidate’s ability to improve outcomes for students. Recognizing the importance of principal leadership in supporting teachers, states will work to improve the effectiveness of principals, through activities such as strengthening principal preparation programs and providing training and support to principals of high-need schools. States will also be required to develop meaningful plans to ensure the equitable distribution of teachers and principals that receive at least an “effective” rating. If states are unsuccessful in improving the equitable distribution of these teachers and principals, they will be required to develop and implement more rigorous plans and additional strategies more likely to improve equity.School districts may use funds to develop and implement fair and meaningful teacher and principal evaluation systems, working in collaboration with teachers, principals, and other stakeholders; to foster and provide collaboration and development opportunities in schools and build instructional teams of teachers, leaders, and other school staff, including paraprofessionals; to support educators in improving their instructional practice through effective, ongoing, job-embedded, professional development that is targeted to student and school needs; and to carry out other activities to improve the effectiveness of teachers, principals, and other school staff, and ensure the equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals. Funds spent on strategies such as professional development and class size reduction must be aligned with evidence of improvements in student learning.Districts that have put in place the required evaluation systems may generally spend funds flexibly, except that a district that is not improving equity in the distributionof effective teachers and principals will be required to submit a new plan to the state under which funds will be spent solely on ensuring its evaluation system meets the requirements described above and on specific activities aimed at improving the equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals.15Measuring Success. We will require transparency around the key indicators of whether students and schools have effective teachers and principals and whether teachers havethe professional supports they need. Both states and districts must publish report cards at least every two years that provide information on key indicators, such as teacher qualifications and teacher and principal designations of effectiveness; teachers and principals hired from high-performing pathways; teacher survey data on levels of support and working conditions in schools; the novice status of teachers and principals; teacher and principal attendance; and retention rates of teachers by performance level. Stateswill also be required to report on the performance of teacher and principal preparation programs by their graduates’ impact on student growth and other measures, job placement, and retention.TEACHER AND LEADER INNOVATION FUNDOur proposal will continue competitive grants for states and school districts that are willing to implement ambitious reforms to better identify, recruit, prepare, develop, retain, reward, and advance effective teachers, principals, and school leadership teams in high-need schools. Grantees must be able to differentiate among teachers and principals on the basis of their students’ growth and other measures, and must use this information to differentiate, as applicable, credentialing, professional development, and retention and advancement decisions, and to reward highly effective teachers and principals in high- need schools. School districts must also put in place policies to help ensure that principals are able to select and build a strong team of teachers with a shared vision and that teachers are choosing to be part of a school team.Grantees may use funds to reform compensation systems to provide differentiated compensation and career advancement opportunities to educators who are effectivein increasing student academic achievement, who take on additional roles and responsibilities in their schools, and who teach in high-need schools, subjects, areas,and fields. Grantees may also use funds to staff high-need schools more effectively, suchas through the implementation or use of earlier hiring timelines. States and districtswill be encouraged to use these funds to take on additional innovative reforms, such as improving teacher salary schedules so as to eliminate incentives for teachers to obtain credentials that have been shown not to be linked with student performance. Additionally, states must describe the extent to which high-performing pathways are in place. In all cases, applicants will be required to provide evidence of stakeholder involvement in the development of their proposal.16TEACHER AND LEADER PATHWAYSOur proposal will continue competitive grants to improve and strengthen the recruitment and preparation of effective teachers, principals, and other school leaders by nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities, and school districts, through high- quality preparation programs that prepare educators for high-need districts, schools, subjects, areas, and fields.Teacher Pathways. To strengthen traditional and alternative pathways into teaching, our proposal includes competitive grants for the recruitment, preparation, placement, and induction of promising teacher candidates for high-need schools, subjects, areas, and fields. Programs must be designed to meet the specific teacher needs of a district or districts, and must either have a record of preparing effective teachers or commit to tracking and measuring the effectiveness of their graduates in the classroom.In making grants, the Secretary will take into account whether programs will prepare teachers to teach to college- and career-ready standards; the extent to which programs are designed to meet the needs of high-need areas, including rural areas, or high-need fields, such as teaching English Learners, students with disabilities, or other students with diverse learning needs; and the extent to which programs provide streamlined opportunities for applicants who can demonstrate competency in specific knowledge or skills. Priority may be given to programs that work to recruit and prepare high- performing college graduates or non-traditional candidates, such as military veterans or midcareer professionals. The Secretary also will carry out a teacher recruitment campaign, working with states, districts, and outside organizations to recruit talented candidates into the teaching profession.