Jan 26 2013
08:42 pm

From the sidebar, The Commercial Appeal reports that the bill "would allow teachers in subjects not covered by state use their principal's observation of their classrooms for a larger portion of their evaluation."

Right now these teachers, including everyone who teachers kindergarten through third grade, take an average of their school's test scores for the 35 percent of their review that state law says must be tied to student achievement. There are no standardized tests to measure their students' performance.

The outcry has been loud and sustained because teachers say they are being ranked on data from students they may have never taught.

The Department of Education is drafting the bill.

And in particular:

In most schools, 70 percent of teachers do not teach in tested subjects and as a result, do not have test data. In suburban Shelby County Schools, for instance, 2,397 teachers out of roughly 3,400 do not teach tested subjects.

PREVIOUSLY: Background so far: Creation of TEAM/APEX teacher evaluation model and legislative pushback

fischbobber's picture

Teacher Evaluations

Perhaps we should cut out the lunches of any children deemed "underperforming." That oughta get'em to shape up. Let's call Stacy and get his input. He's an expert on this kinda stuff.

lonnie's picture

Tweaking will not fix the

Tweaking will not fix the problem. The evaluation system does not make sense. Teachers should be evaluated by the quality of their instruction, not something they have no control over. Evaluations should include a team of three or more experienced objective administrators. Evaluators need to take into consideration that all lessons are not the same. The scores should not be based on some kind of unrealistic rubric or checklist. Many lessons involve a lab or other teaching strategies that are very effective but do not meet the TEAM model. Evaluations should be based on the total effectiveness of the teacher, not just a couple hours of observing two lessons and then including some criteria the teacher has no influence over. Last year, I scored 4's & 5's on my two lessons. After adding my state EOC scores to the equation along with my TVASS scores my score rounded to a 5. Teachers that do not have a state EOC or other kind of testing data, have to rely on the scores of others in their building. If they receive high scores on her lessons but the school does not do well on test scores, their overall score does not qualify for APEX funds. That is wrong. The Tennessee evaluation system is a pathetic excuse for an effective type of evaluation system.It is not fair or consistent. Most teachers I talked with have received lower scores this year. Are they teaching at a lower level? Not at all. What is happening could be expected. High scores cost the state money. Teachers that want to become administrators are told that they have to be lead teachers first. Lead teachers evaluate other teachers. If a teacher wants to be an administrator, they try to please their supervisors. Read between the lines.
The Republican controlled Tennessee legislature and the governor continue to destroy public education in Tennessee. The President's "Race to the top" program has hurt public education as well. It seems that making dumb decisions about the education of our children is a bipartisan effort. Whether it be the ill conceived NCLB or the "Race to The Top", law makers miss the mark in getting input from those on the front lines that really know what is effective and makes a difference. Congress and the President rely too much on staff members that have no clue. They do research and come up with solutions that look good on paper. Those policy "solutions" appear to be addressing the need for improvement in public education. Instead of making improvements, they keep creating more problems. Research shows that small classes that have quality teachers and the necessary technology makes for a huge difference in the quality of a child's education. I wish that politicians would actually include teachers and parents and administrators that know what they are doing in the decision making process. Only then will they stop making the same stupid mistakes.

lonnie's picture

Research shows very

Research shows very conclusively that the cities that have used merit pay for teachers have failed to prove the idea effective in improving student performance.

Kyle Macy's picture

Giving one administrator too

Giving one administrator too much power is a huge mistake. With tenure being basically non-existent for TN teachers, teachers have no protection against an unfair administrator. There are a lot of good and honest administrators our there, however there are too many out there who are not so professional and would sacrifice good teachers for political considerations. Also, what about personality conflicts! If a teacher objected strongly to how an administrator was handling certain situations and voiced his/her opinion, would the administrator be objective in the evaluation process?

Min's picture

I dunno.

How do you tweak something that has a fundamental flaw in its design?

lonnie's picture

There is absolutely no way to

There is absolutely no way to tweak the current evaluation system and create a system that keeps good teachers and attracts qualified new teachers. The system will eventually have to be abandoned in favor of a more sensible approach.In the past, it was always "thank God for Mississippi", because you knew as long as there was a Mississippi your state would not be last in education. It is getting close to the point of other states saying "thank God for Tennessee". It is not the educators that should be blamed, but the politicians.


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