TEA Vigilant As New Evaluation System Evolves

While many teachers across Tennessee took a well-deserved break from the classroom routine during the hot summer of 2010, Tennessee’s 15-member Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee continued to meet regularly—in person and via conference call—to discuss, consider options and make decisions about the new teacher and principal evaluation system required by the Tennessee First to the Top Act.

Every time TEAC met, TEA members on TEAC participated in the deliberations and TEA staff members were on hand to offer information and support.  In addition, the TEA president and TEA staff consulted throughout the summer with TEA members on TEAC, the Commissioner of Education and staff from the Governor’s office, as well as the Education First consultants facilitating TEAC’s work.

TEA’s goal throughout the process is to ensure that the new teacher and principal evaluation system is fair to all those who will be evaluated by it, is easily understood and implemented, and will lead to the identification and development of effective teachers and principals in every Tennessee school and classroom.

Through TEA’s influence:

  • A proposal to use school-wide TVAAS data for 35 percent of a teacher’s evaluation for teachers without TVAAS scores has been scrapped in favor of a plan to convene groups of such teachers by subject area/specialty in the fall to determine and/or develop what would be acceptable “comparable” measures of growth for those teachers.

  • A hastily drafted policy for first reading by the State Board of Education in July has been withdrawn and the timeline has been revised to provide for first reading of a revised policy in late October.

  • While field testing of some evaluation rubrics and processes will be conducted in some districts this fall on a trial basis, this field testing is intended to inform TEAC and the state board on what works and what does not and will not influence a teacher’s official evaluation, tenure or employment status.

As teachers head back to school in August 2010, the work to develop a new evaluation system is ongoing. Many important decisions must still be made about critical elements of the new system.

TEA members across Tennessee can be confident that the Tennessee Education Association will continue to be vigilant and influential as the new system is developed and rolled out.

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