Tag Archives: evaluations

Boards, bill would stop use of test scores in teacher evaluations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville’s school board has joined Knox County Schools in calling for test scores to not be used for teacher evaluations this school year.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1PqXUQg ) reports that the Metro Nashville Public Schools Board unanimously voted Tuesday in favor of a resolution that urges state officials to either provide a waiver this year in using TNReady for teacher evaluations or allow districts to use only observation data for teacher evaluations.

School board member Jill Speering says she agrees with many teachers who have said that using TNReady scores in its first year is inappropriate.

The Knox County school board approved a similar resolution last month.

Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, has filed a bill asking for a two-year exemption of TNReady student growth scores on teacher evaluations.

Haslam offers teacher-friendly proposals, including evaluation revision

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday announced several proposals for Tennessee teachers, including adjusting the way they’re evaluated and creating a Governor’s Teacher Cabinet in which educators could provide ideas.

The Republican governor gave his proposals at the annual conference of Learning Forward, an association devoted to advancing professional learning for student success.

Haslam received feedback from an academic standards review process, statewide meetings with educators, and an education summit in September. The ideas he presented came from those.

“We are working hard to listen to you because we place such a high value on what you are doing,” Haslam told educators at the conference.

Haslam said he also seeks to provide educators with more information and feedback on state assessments, and improve teacher communication and collaboration.

Currently, 35 percent of an educator’s evaluation is comprised of student achievement data.

One adjustment the governor wants to make is to have new state assessments in English and math count 10 percent of the overall evaluation in the first year of administration of the new tests in 2016, 20 percent the second year, and 35 percent in year three.

Jim Wrye, assistant executive director of the Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, said he appreciates the governor’s effort but still opposes using the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, or TVAAS scores, in the evaluation of teachers.

Wrye said value-added data do not measure all that is valued in education. He said it shouldn’t be relied upon because it could result in a tenured teacher receiving a bad evaluation, which could lead to termination.

“The statistical estimate that is valued-added scores is wholly unreliable for making decisions on teachers’ school effectiveness,” Wrye said.

However, he said he does favor some aspects of the governor’s proposals, such as releasing practice questions prior to administration of tests, and involving teachers in the review and selection of test questions.

“We need more transparency in testing, and we’re hoping that’s what the governor is leaning toward,” he said.

In the area of improved teacher communication and collaboration, Haslam is proposing a Governor’s Teacher Cabinet, which will consist of teachers nominated by local school districts from across the state.

The cabinet is expected to meet quarterly with the governor and the education commissioner to share information from the classroom, advise on policy considerations and provide a direct line of communication to their schools and communities.

Note: The Haslam news release is below.
Continue reading

On Gov’s Secret Evaluations & Evaluating the Gov’s Openness

Earlier this year, state Human Resources Commissioner Rebecca Hunter told state legislators that Gov. Bill Haslam believes so strongly in evaluation of employees that he has personally evaluated the performance of everyone in his cabinet.
Curious how our state government’s top managers fared under gubernatorial scrutiny, yours truly made a request — in accord with the state’s open records law — for a copy of the evaluations. In a week or so, the reply came back: Sorry, there are no such records. The governor’s evaluations of his commissioners were done orally.
So, while Hunter’s comment made it sound like the governor is a hands-on, businesslike manager making professional evaluations, the significance of his reviews — if there is any — remains secret. Maybe it was just, “Hey, Rebecca, you’re doing a really great job!”

Continue reading

Haslam Hires Patronage Chief (well, not really, but he’s a TEAM player)

News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Larry Martin will join his staff to oversee implementation of the Tennessee Excellence and Accountability Management (TEAM) Act.
His responsibilities will include coordinating and collaborating throughout state government agencies to effectively begin recruiting new employees on all levels, updating performance evaluations in all departments, and a review of employee compensation that includes the salary study funded in the governor’s FY 2013-2014 budget.
“Getting the TEAM Act passed into law was only the beginning of our work,” Haslam said. “Now we must make sure it is implemented effectively, which includes creating meaningful performance evaluations, truly getting a full picture of employee compensation, and changing the culture now that we can recruit the best and brightest to serve. I am grateful that Larry has agreed to take on this challenge for the taxpayers of Tennessee. Our goal is to build a state workforce that is dedicated to and focused on customer service, efficiency and effectiveness.”

Note: The salary is $140,000 annually, according to a spokesman for the governor. For more, see the News Sentinel report.

Continue reading

Bill Closing Teacher Evaluation Records Goes to Gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill to close public access to teacher evaluation records is headed for the governor’s signature.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Richard Montgomery of Sevierville passed the House on a 93-0 vote on Thursday without debate.
The Senate previously passed the bill on a 27-0 vote, meaning it now heads for Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk. Haslam has said he supports the measure to keep the evaluations confidential, even though it would deny parents the ability to find out whether their children are being instructed by poorly-performing teachers.
Under recent changes to state law, half of a teacher’s assessment must derive from testing data, while the rest comes from classroom observations. The new system has been heavily criticized by educators.

TEA Wants Teacher Evaluations Kept Confidential, Too

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Education Association lobbyist Jerry Winters said Monday that he favors a proposal to close public access to teacher evaluation data because of the lack of confidence many educators have in the new evaluation system.
The measure is headed for a full Senate vote, and the companion bill is awaiting a vote in the House State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday.
Sponsors say access to the data should be limited to school officials and not available to the general public.
Winters spoke to reporters on Monday after hearing a presentation from a Tennessee Department of Education official on the implementation of the evaluation system.

Continue reading

Gov Wants Top-to-Bottom Review of Teacher Evaluations (with no legislative action in the meantime)

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.

Continue reading

Haslam Defends Teacher Evaluation System

Gov. Bill Haslam has defended the state’s new teacher evaluation process against critics who argue that negative consequences for educators who perform poorly should be delayed while kinks in the program are worked out, reports Andy Sher.
“I think it’s really important that we not give up on this process too quick,” Haslam told reporters. “And if it’s the right thing to do for next year, I’m not sure why it’s not the right thing to do for this year.”
The governor noted the evaluations were proposed by his predecessor, Phil Bredesen, and passed by the General Assembly. They were the key factor in Tennessee winning a $500 million federal Race to the Top grant to carry out education reform, he said.
“We’ll let the process work out,” Haslam said. “Remember, this is November and we started [the new evaluations] in September. It’s not like we really have a long track record in this. It takes a little bit of adjusting to get used to evaluations.”
…Haslam said the first evaluation, “because it is the one with lesson plans, does have the most paperwork involved. I think when we get past that the evaluations after that will look a little different.”

Fitzhugh Writes Gov on Teacher Evaluations

House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh is calling for suspending the state’s new teacher evaluation system for a least a year “to get it right.” He initially voiced the idea during House Education Committee hearings on the new system.
Now he’s written Gov. Bill Haslam a letter asking a review of the system. It’s reproduced below.

Continue reading

More Teacher Evaluation Complaints; Gov says ‘Live With It’

Governor Bill Haslam says the state’s new teacher evaluation system may need some tweaking, but for now he’s asking educators to “live with it,” reports WPLN.
Haslam says nobody knows exactly how that new system will play out, but he doubts it’s going to turn out perfect on the first try.
“My point to everybody is let’s don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater now. Let’s live with it for a year. At the end of that point in time, if there need to be adjustments made, you can.”
One possible change Haslam mentioned is to the number of yearly evaluations for teachers. But he also stressed the new system is the result of an involved statewide process, saying it’s “critical” not to back off now.

The Tennessean, meanwhile, has an article today on mounting teacher complaints about the new system. It starts like this:
Sherrie Martin, former teacher of the year at a Metro school, is questioning whether she really belongs in the classroom after scoring low on the state’s new teacher evaluation.
In Sumner County, Summer Naylor left her third-graders behind last month, resigning after eight years teaching. Too many mandates and evaluations made her job no longer fun.
New evaluations pushed Robert “Bud” Raikes — the Smyrna High School principal who has a stadium named after him — into retiring early.
“For the first time in 17 years I don’t like getting up and going to my job,” Martin said. “There are so many teachers frustrated, and several have already resigned.”
Just two months into using new teacher evaluations that the state rapidly put into place to land Race to the Top federal funds, educators say the process overwhelms even the best teachers and turns their focus away from students.
While the state continues to tweak the system, some fear losing good teachers could be an unintended consequence.
“It’s really an undue burden on teachers and not sustainable the way it’s going right now,” Tennessee Education Association President Gera Summerford said.