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Evaluation of teachers to be re-evaluated

Evaluation of teachers to be re-evaluated

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 7:02 pm
By: Bo Bradshaw, Tennessee News Service

Nashville – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has commissioned an outside review of Tennessee’s new teacher evaluation system, following a recommendation by the House Education Committee.
The committee found that principals and teachers across the state are overwhelmed by the amount of time needed to prepare for a single observation.
That is spawning complaints that the evaluation system takes away from more valuable tasks, like classroom prep time.
State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D-Dist. 82), a member of the education committee, says lawmakers may have put the cart before the horse.
“It just hadn’t been tested. There was much confusion about it. It was made mandatory far too quickly.”
Haslam has requested a five-month evaluation. He says he understands the concerns, but still favors the system. It’s not a question of “should we have it?” he adds, it’s a question of “is the one we have working well?”
The evaluations are adding to teachers’ already high stress level, Fitzhugh says, causing early retirement of some valued educators and possibly even turning away potential excellent teachers.
“I know from talking to administrators at colleges that they’ve had sort of a dip in their enrollment. One particular president indicated to me that he thought it had to do with some of those folks who wanted to go into the education field and were having second thoughts.”
Educators say that the rush to implement the new system is causing students to suffer because teachers are now faced with devoting more time to the evaluation and less time to the student.
Something needs to be done quickly to resolve these issues, Fitzhugh warns.
“If you make a mistake, you’re going to affect students.
“The longer we let this mistake continue, the more students we’re going to affect.”

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