Teacher evaluation is a contentious issue. It tends to be more so when evaluation systems must show evidence of a teacher's contribution to student learning, as federal initiatives have recently required. The stakes are high, since how a teacher is rated affects his or her continued employment, advancement, and even compensation.
Although the design of new evaluation systems provides the framework for success - and represents a big first step - districts still have work to do to successfully differentiate teacher performance and provide teachers the meaningful feedback that should be the goal of any evaluation system worth its salt.
NYC Teachers' Free Pass? The Wall Street Journal crunched eight years worth of data, and found that more than 10 percent of principals did not flunk one teacher on their evaluations. "The findings give ammunition to Department of Education officials who say the teacher-rating system should be changed," WSJ's Lisa Fleisher writes. "New York City is one of a handful of school districts statewide that hasn't adopted a new, more nuanced system of grading teachers. ... Under the current system, teachers are either rated unsatisfactory or satisfactory. Annually, less than 3% of teachers citywide are marked "unsatisfactory."
Chartering Hits Washington Last November, Washington state voted to allow the creation of its first ever charter schools. Now, reports the Associated Press, activists, teachers and parents are applying to be on the state's first charter commission, the body that decides which charter schools are approved and denied. "I've seen the power that specialized programs can have," said fifth grade teacher Ryan Grant. "I see a lot of potential around the state for innovative schools."