National Center on Teacher Quality: Research or Propaganda?

Recently, the National Center on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a report praising New Mexico’s teacher evaluation system for “getting results.” While the headline is attention grabbing- you should know who National Center on Teacher Quality is. A quick online search will lead you to their board of directors and financial backers.

Notably, NCTQ is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Exxon Mobil Corporation, and the Walton Family Foundation. To nobody’s surprise, the board of directors of the NCTQ are largely made up of individuals who subscribe to the same ideological agenda as their financial backers. Almost every board member describes their contribution to education by the amount of money they have accrued, their lofty titles running for-profit corporations, or their efforts in busting teacher unions either directly or through their “research.”

Chester E. Finn Jr., a board member of NCTQ, has a distinguished career of being a research fellow at two far-right think tanks called the Hoover Institution and the Hudson Institution. He has worked along-side the likes of Trump cabinet member James Mattis, and G.W. Bush cabinet member Condoleezza Rice.

Kate Walsh, the current President of NCTQ, was previously criticized by Linda Darling-Hammond for misrepresentations Walsh made in her research and generally poor scholarship. Additionally, US Department of Education grants for which she was a beneficiary were also called into question by the US Inspector General for improper activities.

The “report” that NCTQ released is a mere reflection of their political agenda. Consider NCTQ’s praise of the Denver and Washington DC Public Schools’ evaluation systems, which were found by the Economic Policy Institute to allow school districts to eliminate job security, fire individuals based on test scores and eliminate creativity and innovation in education. Those systems were also noted to assume that their work force is largely failing and incompetent.

So, why exactly does the NCTQ promote these deceitful evaluation systems? The answer is simple: to reduce or eliminate job security for working class educators, and make public schools more closely resemble for-profit corporations.

A quote attributed to Confucius states that, “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names” and we have no problem calling NCTQ by theirs: propaganda.