The U.S. Department of Education has approved the Montana State Office of Public Instruction’s definition of the term ‘ineffective teacher’ under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Deputy Superintendent of Education Services at the Office of Public Instruction Susie Hedalen explained the announcement.

“We submitted an amendment to the Department of Education, as we said we would in our state plan,” said Hedalen. “Our state plan was approved with the understanding that we would submit an amendment to define the term ‘ineffective teacher’ in Montana, which has not been done before. Where the No Child Left Behind Act defined teachers in a positive sense, the ESSA defines the negative, so we have ‘ineffective teacher’, ‘inexperienced teacher’ and ‘out of field teacher’. “

Hedalen provided the new definitions approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We define an ‘ineffective teacher’ as a teacher who is not licensed, or who shows a pattern of ineffective practices as determined by local evaluations,” she said. “Because we are a local control state, we do not have a statewide teacher evaluation system. Each school board adopts their own teacher evaluation tool. The reason why we’re collecting the data on ineffective, inexperienced and out of field teachers is to make sure we have equity for our students of minority or low-income status are not served in a disproportionate rate by ineffective, inexperienced and out of field teachers.”

Background on the amendment to Montana’s state plan can be viewed here, and here. Additional information on ESSA can be viewed on the OPI’s ESSA webpage.