Not all evaluations are equal …

As the school year is coming to a close many of district administrators are busy working on teacher evaluations. In Michigan, all teachers now have to have a yearly evaluation. By law a significant part of this evaluation has to be based upon  student achievement data. Has the state given guidance into what data to use and how to use it? Not really. The MDE was supposed to come up with an evaluation model by the end of March. At the end of March, they realized how hard this model was to create and have decided to Pilot a new model in 13 districts state-wide to make sure it is fair.  Meanwhile in all of the districts in the state, evaluations are being done using what each district feels will work best.

So all of the state’s teachers are being evaluated on as many different models for evaluation as districts. These districts will report one of 4 rating for each teacher; 1. Highly Effective 2. Effective 3. Minimally Effective  4. Basic. This is reported in the rep report to the state which is a public record. If this get published think of the chaos.

A teacher ranking “Highly Effective”  in one district could rank “effective” or lower in another district. We will be comparing apples but they are different types of apples used for different thing.

Districts and the state need to report publicly the formula used for creating the ratings. Or better yet, the state needs to void all of the ratings until a universally used system is put in place. This way the public won’t get confused.

An open letter to any elected official who is willing to listen

Dear Officials:

First an foremost thank you for taking the time to listen to an educator. Most of us feel unrepresented in this time of school reform.   As you create laws and pass sweeping changes that affect my place of work I would like you to keep in mind a few things.

1. Please listen to educators- the ones who have been in a classroom at least 10 years.

2. IF you feel you need to cut money from schools remember that it means I will have less to pay for student’s meals, snacks and supplies. That is where most teachers extra money goes back into the underfunded classrooms.

3. IF you feel teachers need to spend more time with paper work and training, it will mean I will have less time to coach, tutor, or design high quality lessons. Teachers already work at night and during weekends to keep up with the demands on their time.

4. Address the hidden curriculum. Sure I know we need to teach math, science, social studies and language arts. We should not have to teach: social skills, manners, internet safety, hygiene, etc. Poverty makes in necessary for teachers to teach these needs. Funding needs to be available to help in these areas. Or reform business so poverty is gone.

5. Remember your teachers, you have an education because of them. Teachers make the future and need to be supported and not attacked.


Again Thanks for listening.