Georgia school chief worried about teacher evaluation plan

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ATLANTA — Georgia school Superintendent John Barge is telling federal education officials that he will not implement a teacher evaluation system that he fears might not work and could lead to lawsuits.

Barge wrote to federal officials Friday saying that attorneys for Georgia schools have warned that including student input in teacher evaluations is legally risky.

“I will not waste taxpayer dollars to defend a system that we have been warned will not work,” he wrote.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia’s pledge to implement a new teacher evaluation system that included student surveys was one reason it won a $400 million federal grant through the Race to the Top program. Tinkering with its plans got $33 million of the grant placed on “high risk” status by the U.S. Department of Education.

Barge said the grant application was written by a different administration and was Georgia’s best estimate of how the state could achieve the goals in the application. Georgia officials now believe the surveys, particularly from younger students, should not be used as an official part of the evaluation system and should be only informational.

Deputy Superintendent Teresa McCartney said the state is worried about teachers suing if they are denied a raise or face sanction because of student surveys, which in the initial plan accounted for 10 percent of a teacher’s evaluation.

Liz Utrup, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education, said it has created an amendment process to help states work through problems that arise.

Georgia has until Aug. 1 to lay out how it plans to alter its evaluation system.

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allhans 07/07/12 - 07:00 pm
I can see why an evaluation

I can see why an evaluation would worry him.. :)

Concerned Augustan
Concerned Augustan 07/08/12 - 07:12 am
All student surveys should be informational....

And should not be used as part of the official evaluation system. Though some student responses could be considered credible, one may never know the motivation behind the responses given. I do believe, however, it would be beneficial for teachers to receive feedback from students concerning their instruction, management, and performance in the classroom. It could be an enlightening experience.

Reverie 07/09/12 - 07:40 am
Kids need teachers not more friends!

Some of the best teachers have had their names etched on the restroom walls along with how the kid's feel. I don't care how students feel, I want them to learn and to be productive. The tougher the teacher, the better! Only the federal government could concoct a system where immature children with undeveloped minds, lack of self discipline, hormonal imbalance, and developmental problems determine your employment status. The people who planned this would never accept this system for themselves. Had this happened, it would be a favoritism contest. Teachers should teach, not be a kids best fiend. Parents--would you like your kids to evaluate you for your parenting skills and guardianship status? In states where this has been implemented, it has been a disaster! Do our Asian and European educational competitors do this? We are a nation of jellyfish producing jellyfish in a world of sharks.

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