Nevadans will have to wait two more years for revamped teacher evaluations

Mar 5, 2013 by

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Back in 2011, Nevada’s lawmakers agreed to link teachers’ job performance reviews to student learning.

It was a major accomplishment for K-12 reformers, who were told the revamped teacher evaluation process would be in place by 2013.caution delays ahead

Now they’re learned that’s not going to happen.

The Associated Press reports that the Nevada Teachers and Leaders Council – the 15-member body tasked with designing the new evaluations – wants another two years to fine-tune its proposed system.

If the new evaluation plan isn’t perfected before it is implemented, it’s possible the state’s ornery teachers unions may succeed in getting it overturned in court by a union-friendly judge, according to leaders of the council.

“We’ll spend our dollars in the courtroom and not the classroom,” warned Deputy State Superintendent Rorie Fitzpatrick, according to the AP.

“As it stands, Nevada’s proposed teacher evaluations assess two things,” the AP reports. “One is instructional practice – how a teacher actually does his or her job, as measured by an administrator’s observations in the classroom and surveys of parents. The other half of the equation is student outcomes – how well the teacher’s students perform on state tests.”

The Nevada Teachers and Leaders Council wants the student outcomes portion to be determined by measuring how a teacher affects his or her students’ academic growth, as well as standardized test scores and the overall achievement gap that exists between students.

“We need a couple of years to try it out to see if the data we collect is reflective of teachers and what they do,” council member Theresa Crowley told the AP.

State Superintendent James Guthrie, a passionate K-12 reformer, is “convinced” that linking teacher job performance reviews to student achievement is doable.

According to the AP, “(Guthrie) wants a system that can locate highly effective teachers so they can be paid more and promoted to positions of influence. He envisions the best teachers staying in the classroom as ‘master’ or ‘mentor’ teachers to their counterparts, and making as much money as the school principal.”

Sounds like a great idea to us.

If that’s the type of system Nevada is ultimately going to implement, parents and reformers will probably find the two-year delay acceptable. There have been problems in other states that tried to rush new evaluation systems into place, and Nevada officials may be smart to tread a little slower and get it right the first time.

But further delays should not be tolerated. The sooner the state can separate the effective teachers from those who struggle, the better off students will be.

via Nevadans will have to wait two more years for revamped teacher evaluations – :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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