News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that there will be both an external and internal review of the new teacher evaluation system.
He has charged the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) with conducting an independent, third-party evaluation and is asking the state Department of Education to formalize a review process, which the department has already begun.
Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. John Forgety (R-Athens) are sponsors of a resolution that outlines the review process for the department, which the governor said the administration supports.
“There has been a lot of discussion about teacher evaluations over the past several months,” Haslam said. “As we continue to have conversations with educators, I see a lot of value in reviewing the process both from an external and internal perspective and to compare observation results with student achievement data at the end of the year.
“These evaluations were a critical piece of the Race to the Top initiative, and it is important for Tennessee to maintain strong accountability measures as we build upon our momentum to improve education. As we work through this first year of implementation, I do not support legislative changes during this session. It is appropriate to give the process time to work and to learn more about what changes might be necessary.”
Haslam was joined for the announcement in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the Capitol by Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, SCORE president and CEO Jamie Woodson, and key legislators including Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville), House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), Sen. Delores Gresham (R-Somerville), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Rep. Richard Montgomery (R-Sevierville), chairman of the House Education Committee and Tracy and Forgety, sponsors of the resolution.
SCORE’s report will be due to the state Board of Education and Department of Education on June 1, 2012.
Note: A statement from House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh, who is sponsoring legislation to suspend the evaluation system for a year, is below.
Statement from House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh:
“I am glad to hear that Governor Haslam and Commissioner Huffman feel that there’s a need to review the teacher evaluation process. Teachers and administrators have been saying this for many months. If the governor and commissioner feel there’s a need to review the system, then they should be willing to delay the evaluations until the review process is complete,” Fitzhugh said.
“I wrote a letter to Governor Haslam last month asking him to delay the evaluation process for a year. I have since drafted legislation to the same effect, which has bipartisan support.”
“The legislature rushed this evaluation process, and in many situations it has been to the detriment of Tennessee’s teachers and students. I hope that the governor and the legislature agree that we need to delay the evaluations until a thorough bi-partisan review is complete.”