Melissa Tooley

Director, Educator Quality

Melissa Tooley is the director of PreK-12 Educator Quality with the Education Policy program at New America. She is a member of the PreK-12 team, where she provides research and analysis on policies and practices that impact teaching quality and school leadership. She primarily researches and writes on educator preparation, evaluation, development, and retention, but has also worked on college and career readiness policy. Tooley co-authored “Beyond Ratings: Re-envisioning State Teacher Evaluation Systems as Tools for Professional Growth,” “Skills for Success: Supporting and Assessing Key Habits, Mindsets, and Skills in PreK-12,” and “Time to Improve: How Federal Policy Can Promote Better Prepared Teachers and School Leaders.” Tooley and her work have been featured in The Atlantic, Education Week, U.S. News and World Report, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

Before joining New America, Tooley was a teacher quality policy analyst at The Education Trust. Tooley completed her master’s in public policy at the University of Chicago, during which time she interned with Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Academic Enhancement and the White House Domestic Policy Council. Prior, she worked in higher education policy at The Institute for College Access & Success, in health policy at the Epilepsy Foundation of New York City, and in market research consulting at Nielsen BASES. Tooley also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Drew University.

All Work

No Panacea

In this report, New America identifies key obstacles that prevent PD from reaching its potential for growing teachers’ knowledge and skills

How to Appreciate Teachers EVERY Day

A New Era for the Battle Over Teacher Evaluations

Education Policy's "Beyond Ratings" was covered in the Atlantic.

Beyond Ratings

In a new report, Kaylan Connally and Melissa Tooley look at how states are using teacher evaluation systems for professional growth.

New Report Calls on States to Shift Teacher Evaluation Toward Support

New teacher evaluations aimed at raising standards for students has received push back for its use in promotions, pay and dismissals.

Paying For Teacher PD and Textbooks Shouldn’t Be Either/Or

A new Iowa bill would divert up to $30 million in annual funding set aside for teacher professional development into purchasing textbooks.

Is ESSA Really A New Direction for U.S. Education?

Melissa Tooley writes for The Atlantic about the "Every Student Succeeds Act" (ESSA) and whether the new law holds more promise than its pre

What Candidates Should be Talking about in 2016: Six Ideas from New America

Americans should know where candidates stand on the following six issues before they cast their votes.

No Child left Behind Is Gone, But Will It Be Back?

Melissa Tooley challenges the narrative of why No Child Left Behind was left—well, you get the idea.

Every Student Succeeds Act Brings New School Accountability Measures to Bear

Just how different is the new "ESSA" law from "NCLB" and "waivers" when it comes to school accountability? Some clear answers to the questio

What Will it Take for National “TeachStrong” Campaign to Really Go National?

"TeachStrong" campaign to modernize and elevate the teaching profession launches with support from diverse organizations.

Facebook's Zuckerberg Doubles Down on Education Investments

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