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New Georgia system will grade teachers

Georgia evaluations tied to student progress

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ATLANTA — For the first time, student test scores soon will factor into evaluations for teachers and principals across Georgia under a new statewide program.

The state will roll out a pilot of its new educator evaluation system in January, starting with the 26 school districts – including Richmond County – that signed on to Georgia’s application for the federal “Race to the Top” grant competition. The state won $400 million last year to launch a host of programs aimed at improving student achievement and turning around low-performing schools.

The new evaluation system includes a value-added score – which gauges educators’ value based on how much their students gained in one year. Though there’s not one uniform way to calculate value-added measurements, the basic concept is to show whether a teacher helped improve test scores, attendance and other factors.

Teachers also will be judged on student surveys and two classroom observations by school administrators, with ratings of exemplary, proficient, developing/needs improvement or ineffective.

Principals will be judged based on their ability to retain effective teachers, their school’s student attendance and surveys filled out by the teachers in their schoolhouse, among other measurements.

For teachers in subjects where there is no standardized test – such as chorus or chemistry – districts will have to come up with student learning targets for classes to meet rather than relying on test scores. About 75 percent of teachers are in non-tested subjects. And eventually, the state plans to link the evaluations to merit bonuses for teachers and principals who do well.

Teacher evaluations are not new to Georgia – districts across the state have evaluated teachers and principals for years. But this is the first time the state has mandated that student test scores be part of that process, and it’s the first statewide system that eventually will be rolled out to all 180 districts.

Value-added measurements have drawn attention nationally – and some criticism – after The Los Angeles Times printed the names and scores for every teacher in the Los Angeles school district in April. Critics say it’s difficult to track which teacher is responsible for a student’s academic progress.

Teachers say they hope the state doesn’t rush through rolling out the evaluation system.

“To do evaluations well will require significant agreement on the instrument, significant training of those who will use it and significant amounts of time to actually accomplish it,” said Tim Callahan, the spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, which represents more than 80,000 educators across the state. “Replacing our current drive-by evaluation system won’t be done easily, quickly or cheaply.”

The state’s pilot will include about 5,000 teachers and several hundred principals in the 26 districts – with up to 60 districts being added each year starting next fall. The entire state will be under the evaluation system starting in fall 2014.

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Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 11/28/11 - 03:26 am
0
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What has Tim "We Don't Make

What has Tim "We Don't Make Enough Money" Callahan ever done to improve teaching and learning conditions in Georgia classrooms?

Get MACE.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 11/28/11 - 07:03 am
0
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Furthermore, any teacher

Furthermore, any teacher evaluation system which does not eliminate nepotistic and cronistic tendencies by employing out-of-state evaluators to judge teachers' classroom performances will be invalid and another huge waste of taxpayer money.

After over forty years of close observation of our public school system, I understand that "the road to Hell is paved with good intention-" or, more accurately, intentions which are meant to appear good to preoccupied parents and other voters.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 11/28/11 - 11:02 am
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I'm glad they are using

I'm glad they are using something to hold them accountable but would they actually fire a 20 year teacher because her students grades are bad - indicating she is a bad teacher?

No Way in Heck.

If you think teachers changing answers on standardized tests before was bad, just wait.

If you think teachers teaching the "test" all year long was bad, just wait.

Principals must use their gut instinct to determine which teachers stink. Parents know who they are. So do administrators. So do the students. Fire the ones who are no good. Good grief.

Jane18
12332
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Jane18 11/28/11 - 11:44 am
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I am at a loss for words,

I am at a loss for words, except for : throwing good money after bad, you gotta be kidding, might as well set a match to it, and the one we hear so much nowadays,"what money?"

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 11/28/11 - 12:05 pm
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Chillen, "Gut instinct" has

Chillen,

"Gut instinct" has no standing in a court of law- not to imply that Porcine Pete would ever take a crummy RCSS teacher there.

redapples
660
Points
redapples 11/28/11 - 04:44 pm
0
0
Is this really the most

Is this really the most accurate method of measuring teacher and administrator effectiveness? Is it a popularity contest taken to new heights? Will the teacher or administrator who makes an unpopular, yet necessary decision, be penalized? Something about this just doesn't seem like it makes sense.

battlecataclysmic
0
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battlecataclysmic 11/28/11 - 06:18 pm
0
0
...So, when do we get to

...So, when do we get to grade parents? Seeing as how they're every child's FIRST teacher, I think it's only right. For instance: Does your child know how to obey authority? Does your child have assistance with their homework at night? Have you taught your child the value of education? Does your child ever see YOU reading? Does your child come to school fed every day with school supplies? Do you reinforce the school policies such as discipline and dress code, or do you make excuses for your child and blame teachers when they get in trouble? Do you show up to parent-teacher conferences? Does your child feel loved at home? Have you given your child self-esteem and values? If we can't grade parents on this, then no way in HL shall I condone us grading teachers who have to face all these obstacles.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 11/28/11 - 07:42 pm
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0
Battle, we can grade them as

Battle, we can grade them as soon as we pay them. Why are some teachers so afraid of performance evaluations? Is there any paying job out there where there isn't some sort of evaluation?

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/28/11 - 08:26 pm
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0
Dittos Bruno. How in the

Dittos Bruno. How in the world do we pay the best teachers more and weed out the incompetent ones? Every profession has top performers and bottom performers, and there has to be a way to rank them. Unless of course they are union, where the incompetents get the same as star teachers. Any teacher worth their salt should welcome evaluations; it gives them status against students who are poor performers because of their own shortcomings.

battlecataclysmic
0
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battlecataclysmic 11/28/11 - 09:04 pm
0
0
Wrong fellas. The problem

Wrong fellas. The problem with evaluating teachers is that you're not evaluating the teachers: you're evaluating the students and judging the teachers based on the students' performances. And the problem with that is that students are not inanimate, interchangeable parts on an assembly line that are guaranteed to put out whatever you put in; they're human beings, each one unique and different. All this is is an attempt to bring Frederick Winslow Taylor's scientific management from the factory into the classroom, and it's a terrible idea. No good teacher is afraid of an evaluation; what they're afraid of is an evaluation that doesn't rightly gauge their abilities. And just because an evaluation is created does not mean it's well constructed or efficient. And why, when I suggest that parents should be evaluated, am I met with a retort regarding how much teachers are paid? Pay has nothing to do with the need for a child to be in proper care. So what if parents aren't on a payroll; does that make the home any less significant? Certainly not. Let's keep the emphasis on the welfare of our kids and not on economics.

histmom
29
Points
histmom 11/28/11 - 09:48 pm
0
0
I have enjoyed teaching for

I have enjoyed teaching for over twenty years. And yes teachers should be held accountable for what they can control and accomplish. But so much is out of their control. You can't control which students are placed in your class or what problems they bring with them. You can't control attendence or behavorial, emotional and academic challenges that they face. You can try to help them overcome these challenges and sometimes you succeed. I have dedicated my life to my students. I have worked 4 or 5 hours a night and 15 or more hours on the weekends preparing to meet the challenges that we face every day. I know we all want results and want the best for our children, but it doesn't start or end with the teacher. It starts at home, with the parent and child. I love my students, but I can't control all the variables that impact their drive and will to work for their future. Retirement is looking better with each passing year.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 11/29/11 - 12:01 am
0
0
Why do some teachers attempt

Why do some teachers attempt to shift the focus for poor grades to the parents or children. Granted some children are not as smart as others but I don't know of any job where poor performance can be deflected to "home life" or the spouse. Can you imagine trying to tell your boss you aren't doing well in your job because your client's spouse isn't paying enough attention to him or her?

redapples
660
Points
redapples 11/29/11 - 12:04 am
0
0
Vito, I'm not clear how

Vito, I'm not clear how teachers being evaluated by students gives them status against poor performing students when those poor performing students are the very ones evaluating the teacher. I must be missing something.

Reverie
54
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Reverie 11/29/11 - 07:39 pm
0
0
battlecataclysmic got it

battlecataclysmic got it right on. The critics who don't see a problem with this new system have never experienced what it is to teach a child in a public school. I suggest that anyone substitute teach at a school for a two weeks, do the nightly and weekend lesson planning and grading, conference with parents before and after "work,"chaperone some games at night, stay late for tutoring, detention, meetings, and clubs, handle discipline actions, and then let's read your opinion. This isn't a 9-5 high paying job about things, this is a profession about people. In manufacturing and most other businesses, you can control the quality and the processes. In education, you take the kids as they come--the high quality with the low quality, and the teaching-learning process is dynamic. Teachers can only do the best they can do, the rest is up to the child. A stable and supportive home life is the key. Another thing, a child's mind isn't mature enough to rate a teacher fairly and objectively--especially middle school students who are going through tremendous developmental changes. This new system gives the car keys to the babes.

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