No, it isn’t just states like New York and Connecticut that are currently focused on strengthening teacher evaluations and putting some real teeth into the process. The good folks over at Hechinger Report have previously reported on similar efforts in Florida, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Next up … Indiana.
Teachers across the state will be rated 1 through 4, with 1 being the lowest. Those ratings will be based in part on the test-scores of their students.
The ratings come with consequences.
Those who receive ineffective ratings can be dismissed at the end of the school year. After two years, anyone twice rated as needing improvement—teachers rated a 1 or 2—also can be fired. Teachers rated in the bottom two categories also can be blocked from receiving a raise.
“This is a culture shift,” said Mindy Schlegel, who leads a new division within the Indiana Department of Education focused on educator effectiveness. “This is saying, ‘If you’re not good, you don’t deserve a raise.’ ”
How significant is this change? Consider this: Currently, many teachers are not observed even once a year. Few are rated as ineffective.
The reform is championed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, who thinks the current system, which leaves evaluation up to each school, does not address poor performance. He pointed to a study of a sample of school districts that showed 99 percent of teachers were rated effective.
Bennett calls that a “statistical impossibility.”