TN Teacher Evaluation Problems Get National Notice

Problems with Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system have attracted the attention of the New York Times, which today carries a story, datelined Murfreesboro, on the subject..
The state requires that teachers be evaluated by their students’ test scores, and that principals get into classrooms regularly to observe teachers.
(Blackman Middle School Principal Will) Shelton is a big believer in both.
But not this. “I’ve never seen such nonsense,” he said. “In the five years I’ve been principal here, I’ve never known so little about what’s going on in my own building.” Mr. Shelton has to spend so much time filling out paperwork that he’s stuck in his office for long stretches.
The new rules, enacted at the start of the school year, require Mr. Shelton to do as many observations for his strongest teachers — four a year — as for his weakest. “It’s an insult to my best teachers,” he said, “but it’s also a terrible waste of time.”
Because there are no student test scores with which to evaluate over half of Tennessee’s teachers — kindergarten to third-grade teachers; art, music and vocational teachers — the state has created a bewildering set of assessment rules. Math specialists can be evaluated by their school’s English scores, music teachers by the school’s writing scores.
“One of my teachers came to me six weeks ago and said, ‘Will, morale is in the toilet,’ ” Mr. Shelton recalled. “This destroys any possibility of building a family atmosphere. It causes so much distrust.”
….But tweaking the rules may not be nearly enough. A recent article in Education Week said essentially that things were so bad in Tennessee, there was a danger that the grant program would be undermined elsewhere.

One thought on “TN Teacher Evaluation Problems Get National Notice

  1. Eric Holcombe

    “…require Mr. Shelton to do as many observations for his strongest teachers — four a year — as for his weakest.”
    Strongest? Weakest? Well gee, if we’re not evaluating teachers how can he possibly make that statement? We are told they are all the same and “it will be chaos” if we attempt to measure.
    “This destroys any possibility of building a family atmosphere. It causes so much distrust.”
    The state has been hiding the TVAAS teacher evaluations for years (while we continue to pay for them). What “family” are they talking about?

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