Tennessee Teachers Call for Evaluation Review

The Tennessee Education Association (TEA) has called for Gov. Bill Haslam and state lawmakers to throw out the results from this year's teacher evaluation, saying that the system needs to be revised.

This is the first year where classroom evaluations are being conducted for the purpose of making tenure decisions and TEA President Gera Summerford believes that, as the program is in its infancy, it should be treated as a pilot.

Teachers have complained that evaluations are disrupting classroom instruction and yielding dramatically different results, writes Chas Sisk at the Tennessean.

Summerford said:

"We would like to ensure that nowhere in the state are teachers being held to any kind of negative implications from this year's evaluations.

"There are just too many variables, too many problems, too many discrepancies."

This comes as Gov. Haslam wants to give districts the option of ditching a state-mandated salary scale to create a pay plan that is tailored to teachers' needs, while still rewarding high performers. Currently many states across the country tie, or are looking to tie, teacher pay to student performance.

In Tennessee, some extra money to fund raises or bonuses would come from removing the mandate on average class sizes, writes Julie Hubbard at the Tennessean.

The TEA handed the Department of Education a seven-point plan that it said would "correct the state's flawed annual teacher evaluation system." However, officials weren't enamored with the proposals, saying it opposes any efforts to change the evaluation system before it has been fully implemented.

Spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier said:

"The new evaluation system is significantly better than the one it replaces, and doing away with it would be a major step backward," spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier said in a statement.

"We also believe superintendents and principals should have the ability to use the data they are collecting from the evaluations to make the best decisions for their districts and schools."

Chas Sisk reports that the TEA, which represents about 46,000 public school teachers and educators, also recommends that teachers that score "Meets Expectations" should remain on tenure track and that the number of evaluations should be reduced to just one a year for teachers who meet or exceed that standard.

Under state regulations, principals are evaluating teachers four to six times this year, Summerford said.

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