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Should state delay teacher evaluation standards?

November 14th, 2011 10:07 am by Staff Report

Some Tennessee legislators are pushing for a delay in the implementation of a new performance evaluation system for teachers. Educators say they would like to see how the use of students’ standardized test scores will impact process.
Members of the House Education Committee heard testimony earlier this month from teachers and school officials about the evaluation, which is comprised of 35 percent of students’ value-added test scores that track students’ progress on standardized tests over time. Critics of the new system — approved by the state General Assembly earlier this year — argue such test scores may be an unfair measurement because students test differently.
The Tennessee Education Association has provided the Associated Press with a list of nearly 30 questions about the new evaluation system. Many of the questions are related to the use of the value-added test scores.
Tennessee Education Association lobbyist Jerry Winters told the AP on Nov. 2 that the evaluation system “should not be used for high-stakes personnel decisions during the 2011-2012 school year.”
Winters also said he believes there are “too many problems” with the evaluation system.
“They (legislators) need to take some kind of action on this evaluation process immediately, because if they don’t, we’re going to lose maybe dozens, maybe hundreds, of very high-quality teachers that we don’t need to lose because of what they’re going through on this evaluation system,” he said.
Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley has called for delaying the implementation of the evaluation system. Fitzhugh said he is considering introducing a bill that would make this a pilot year for the evaluation system.
“Let’s just walk our way through this sort of as stage one, and then move forward,” Fitzhugh said.
We want to know what you think. Should the state delay new evaluation standards for teachers?
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.
We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks. You also can go to to cast a vote in the online poll. Results of the poll and comments from readers will appear on this page Nov. 22.

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