Teachers question component of new evaluation process
The new teacher evaluation proposal is the first update in nearly 20 years.
Longtime educator Libbie Payne questions the use of standardized test scores for teacher evaluation.
CORPUS CHRISTI -
A controversial new teacher evaluation system isn't sitting well with many Texas teachers.
Two large groups that represent them, including the American Federation of Teachers and the Association of Texas Professional Educators, have already spoke out in opposition, believing the new system could cheat teachers out of a good grade.
Educators support just about all of the new evaluation proposal, except the part that could allow 20 percent of the teacher evaluation to be based on "student growth", which could include their scores on the STAAR test.
Libbie Payne, an Instruction Technology Specialist at Harold Branch Academy in CCISD, actually helped to create the new evaluation proposal.
She met monthly over the course of a year with other educators who represented a wide range of subjects and experience levels.
"It was not something that was taken lightly. It was something that was created with a great deal of thought, study, analysis," she says.
Her campus is one of 10 in CCISD participating in the pilot program for the new Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System, or T-TESS.
CCISD is among 200 districts in the state that are participating.
Payne believes evaluating teachers based even partially on standardized test scores is a bad idea, claiming student progress is based largely on the teacher they had the previous year.
"They could have had a really bad teacher the year before, and then come to you and show a ton of growth," she explains, "or they have come from a rock star outstanding teacher the year before and come to you where you're a mediocre teacher or a good teacher but not a rock star teacher, and you're kids don't show the growth."
Monday, the ATPE submitted formal written comments to the Texas Education Agency and newly appointed Education Commissioner Mike Morath, urging them to edit the new T-TESS rule proposal.
The association said it questions the value of standardized testing, and also warned the TEA that the use of standardized test scores in evaluating teachers would likely compel many teachers to avoid teaching certain grades and subjects that are more impacted by the STAAR test.
The "student growth" portion of the T-TESS that relates to test scores is not a part of the pilot program.
The Texas Education Agency is still deciding whether to keep that part of it or throw it out.
Some form of the new system is expected to be in place statewide for the 2017-2018 school year.