Education board member disses teacher-evaluation system

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The state’s teacher-evaluation system came under fire Wednesday, just a couple days after the Department of Education released data that showed roughly 89 percent of educators had been rated in the top two categories.

State Board of Education member Gordon Hendry said the ratings are based on a “clearly flawed system” and that “there is no point in having” the rankings if all nearly all teachers are rated so highly. The number of teachers rated in the top categories inched up 1 percentage point from the previous year.

“When I look at our F schools and see barely 5 percent of teacher evaluations as needing improvement or ineffective, I question the whole evaluation model,” said Hendry.

But Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz took a different view of the results and sees them as positive.

“There are more highly effective teachers in A schools,” Ritz said. “There are less highly effective teachers in what we would consider a low-performing school.”

The teacher evaluation system – put in place by the Indiana General Assembly in 2011 – requires every public school district to evaluate its teachers and report the information to the state.

Other states also have evaluation systems. According to the Department of Education, the systems in Florida, Michigan, and New York led to 97 percent of teachers rated highly while Massachusetts had 94-percent effective teacher’s ratings.

Ritz said Indiana’s ratings reflect Indiana educators. “We have highly trained teachers in all over our and I commend our teachers each and every day,” she said.

State lawmakers are expected to work on changes to the system during the legislative session that began this week.

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