Local News

May 16, 2014 9:40 AM by Edna Cortinas

TEA's New Teacher Evaluation System

CORPUS CHRISTI-The Texas Education Agency is conducting a pilot program for a new way to evaluate teachers, in as many as seventy two districts and charter schools this fall. Locally, Calallen, Taft, Santa Gertrudis, and Odem-Edroy ISDs are all taking part.

As part of the No Child Left Behind Act, Texas has created a new teacher evaluation system that will be in place at all schools across the state come 2015, but Calallen ISD teachers and administrators are getting ahead of the game.

"We're gonna have to use it the year after next regardless so why not be trained on it in the forefront and more importantly why not have the ability to have some input into the actual development of this appraisal instrument itself, " Dr. Arturo Almendarez, Calallen ISD Superintendent said.

He says the current appraisal system is negative; requiring so much from the teacher and grading them down on it if those things are not done while the new system emphasizes support from administration.

"I don't think teachers should be worried about this new appraisal instrument and quite frankly I think it was time to change from the current appraisal instrument that we're using to this new one," Dr. Almendarez said.

However, not everyone agrees.

The American Federation of Teachers opposes this new evaluation system. The main concern is the way it ties teacher performance to student achievement, usually measured, they say, by student performance on standardized tests.

AFT President Ray McMurrey says, "If we're still using that teacher evaluation as a punitive tool to punish the child, punish the community, shut the school down, fire the teacher, if that's really what this is all about, which it is, then that's a problem."

AFT wants the teacher to be graded on what they are doing in their actual job, what they bring to the table, and not test scores, which in their opinion, are affected by other factors the teacher can not control.

Despite each side and their views on the new teacher evaluation system, it is in a draft phase and can be reformatted by the time it is to be implemented through out the state in the fall of 2015.

As of now, training for the four districts in the pilot program will be held in June.

AFT has also written a formal letter to Dr. Almendarez, at Calallen ISD advising them to stop the implementation of this new evaluation system.

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