Sunday, September 01, 2013

Ed Reform in Tennessee

More bold steps in TN, led by ed commissioner Kevin Huffman:

Many states have begun to link teachers' pay to their effectiveness in the classroom. On Friday, Tennessee joined a handful that are taking the idea further: pull the license of teachers whose students consistently fail to improve.

"This is not about taking away teacher licenses, but about making sure our students have the best classroom teachers," said Kevin Huffman, the state's education commissioner.

Speaking of bold and innovative things happening in TN…

Many principals simply handed out favorable job reviews to the majority of their tenured staff, if only to avoid nasty and expensive showdowns with the local teachers union.

This approach created a paradox in Memphis City Schools. The district “routinely awarded most instructors good ratings even as their students posted dismal test scores,” reports the Washington Post.
Evaluations were so haphazard that “many tenured teachers … went five years between evaluations,” the Post adds.

This approach was allowed because many Memphis school officials took the view that all teachers were essentially competent at their jobs.

That mindset is finally beginning to change.

Evaluation revolution

In 2011, Memphis City Schools (MCS) received tens of millions in funding from the federal government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a new teacher evaluation system that measures effectiveness through a combination of student achievement data and structured classroom observations.

The plan is very similar to the controversial one Michelle Rhee set up in the D.C. school district.
While most states and school districts are still in the process of overhauling their teacher evaluation models, MCS is entering its third year with the revamped system. That makes the district – which is being consolidated into the Shelby County school district this fall – a national leader in the evaluation revolution.

Since the new plan took effect, 32 Memphis teachers were fired due to poor evaluations. Another 97 educators could suffer a similar fate this year, reports

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