Idaho to Introduce Parent Input in Teacher Evaluation

Tom Luna, Idaho Public Schools Chief
Student achievement will account for about half of an Idaho teacher's job evaluation starting this summer. And under Public Schools Chief Tom Luna's plans, what parents think should be tied to evaluations as well.

The state Department of Education announced the timeframe for the new plans to be implemented, with a target of July 2012. But to some, the law was unclear as to when exactly parents will become involved, writes Jessie L. Bonner at the Associated Press.

Lawmakers on the Senate Education Committee passed a bill that says parental input should be taken into account on the evaluations after June 30, but have been asked to further clarify when parental involvement will factor into the evaluations of educators and school administrators.

Luna's deputy chief of staff Jason Hancock said:

"It's really up to the districts to decide how to incorporate that and how much weighing to give it."

Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, said he would try to hold a hearing on the legislation at the start of next week.

After being asked to develop merit pay plans based on various factors like test scores and attendance rates, at least 29 school districts statewide developed teacher pay-for-performance plans based in part on parental involvement.

However, critics believe the plan to bring parents into classrooms could bring some awkward and unnecessary problems – such as whether a teacher might be afraid to discipline a student because parents will now have a say in evaluations and merit pay bonuses.

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