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New Framework for Teacher Evaluations

A council working to develop new educator evaluation guidelines reached favorable consensus today on a basic framework that will meet the needs of Connecticut teachers. CEA has been a strong advocate for teachers as a member of the state Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) that has been meeting for over a year.

“It was a compromise by consensus, which was reached after many months of long, tough conversations,” said Mary Loftus Levine, CEA executive director. “What the positive consensus shows is that all education stakeholders want the same results. And we and other members of PEAC are pleased to have developed a structure for a fair, reliable, and valid evaluation system with accountability for all. Student achievement is the overarching goal.”

CEA’s voice on the council has resulted in a framework which is consistent with the goal of elevating the teaching profession by holding everyone accountable, while producing a new evaluation system that is fair, valid, reliable, and useful. The area of greatest teacher concern and focus in PEAC’s work has been how to define, implement, and include “multiple indicators of student academic growth and development.”

In short, with today’s favorable consensus, PEAC is recommending a three-tiered system with no single test score or indicator being used to assess student learning. It has achieved this goal with fair and balanced weighted percentages as follows:

  1. Multiple indicators of student learning will count as 45% of the evaluation. Half of that 45% weight will come from a standardized test, which would be either the CMT, CAPT, or another valid, reliable test that measures student learning.
  2. Teacher performance and professional practice will be weighted at 40%.
  3. Other peer, student, and parent feedback will be weighted at 5% with professional activities counting for 10%.

The basic framework for new evaluation guidelines reached by consensus today will be the basis for guidelines that will advise local school districts as they go back and design local plans working with their local teachers unions. For districts that determine they don’t have the capacity to design their own local plans, the State Department of Education (SDE) will provide a model, detailed template. For districts that already have exceptional models, a waiver will be available from the SDE.

The next PEAC meeting is February 6, 2012, and much still needs to be accomplished to finalize the work done to date before it is presented to the State Board of Education on February 10.

PEAC is also working on administrator guidelines. CEA will share details as they are determined.

8 Comments
  1. Karen #

    22.5% will be based on the CMT?! Really? Seems unfair to those who don’t specifically teach Math/LA/Science. Yes, I use math & LA in my curriculum, but I am a highly qualified teacher in my discipline, not in all that the CMT tests. Thank goodness I teach in a successful district.

    January 25, 2012
  2. Carrie Blackmar #

    I just attended a CEA meeting in Woodstock on Tuesday. At that meeting, a CEA representative told us that CEA supports teacher tenure and will push to keep it by working with the governor to improve the teacher evaluation system. However, the CEA ad on TV ends with a comment that the CEA and teachers support REPLACING teacher tenure. I’m concerned with the difference in the message given to teachers in the union meeting vs the very public message in the ad campaign. It makes me question the true motives of the people representing public school teachers and their honesty with the viewing public.

    January 26, 2012
  3. CEA remains true to its goals of advocating for respect and fairness, and ensuring a fair dismissal process for teachers faced with potential termination and fighting to get more, better, and consistent professional development and evaluations for teachers. CEA’s education reform plan – A View from the Classroom: Proven Ideas for Student Achievement, includes reforming the teacher evaluation process and replacing tenure as we know it, with a streamlined dismissal process for underperforming teachers. The CEA evaluation and tenure proposals are part of a comprehensive reform agenda that are research based and cover everything from adequate funding to small class sizes to proven programs that can transform local schools that need help to improve student achievement.

    At a news conference on Jan. 3, Mary Loftus Levine and Phil Apruzzese outlined CEA’s position reflected in the CEA resolutions adopted by the Representative Assembly, spelled out in the CEA legislative agenda adopted by the Board of Directors, and identified in the comprehensive work of the Committee on the Future. CEA stated at the news conference that when we stand for greater accountability for everyone involved in public schools, teachers demonstrate that we’re dedicated professionals deserving of respect. Key reforms include 1) an evaluation system using multiple indicators of teacher quality rather than relying on test scores alone, 2) support to help struggling teachers improve, and 3) a streamlined dismissal process to remove underperforming teachers while still allowing for due process.

    Go here to read some of the stories written about the plan http://www.cea.org/issues/news/2012/view-from-classroom-news-articles.cfm or watch TV clips of the news conference http://www.youtube.com/ceavideo.

    You can find the plan, “A View from the Classroom,” at http://www.cea.org.

    For more information, contact your local UniServ Rep.

    January 26, 2012
  4. J O'Donnell #

    This is all well and good, with one glaring problem. I don’t believe that any one standardized test written by an amorphous state agency can be considered reliable OR valid. And it’s being phased out in 3 years anyway…to be replace by what? One test tells you nothing…except how a student was doing on one particular day. Crazy stuff.

    January 26, 2012
  5. I’m disgusted that the politicians think they can somehow “fix” this. They are going to stop people from entering the profession. Low pay, no heath insurance at retirement, hassles from parents, students, and administrators. Teachers are educators, not nannies. I can’t think of another profession where you get “questioned” about what you are doing. No one would think of questioning my musical expertise as a performer, but parents think they know better somehow than a professional teachers.

    The more things we throw at teachers, the more chance there is for prospective teachers look elsewhere for work.

    January 27, 2012
  6. R Bourdeau #

    I also think standardized tests (as currently implemented) lack validity. And even if someone came up with valid ones, a fairer indicator of teacher performance is a “change model” that measures student improvement. Use straight test scores and there is a incentive to only work with more cognitively advanced students. You think we have an achievement gap now — we want to narrow it, not make it wider!

    Also, while parent and student opinions are very important (they are our customers, after all), I don’t think their feedback should be part of the CALCULATED formula. Both are too volatile,subjective, and can be driven by attitudes antithesis to good teaching (“I hate that teacher because my kid deserved an A!”. Instead, gather student and teacher feedback and if there is a pattern indicating a legitimate issue, then administrators should investigate and if necessary initiate remediation.

    January 28, 2012

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