Should the state require using student test scores to evaluate teachers? Officials have delayed answering that question for years.
Despite indications the state will delay linking student test scores to teacher evaluations for another year and will scale back how heavily those scores must be weighed, the state’s largest teachers’ union is stepping up its lobbying efforts.
The release of Connecticut’s teacher evaluation results in a school-funding trial has revealed that only 1 percent of teachers were evaluated as either “below standard” or “developing.” Recently, a CT Mirror story covered a discussion among members of the Connecticut Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) about whether and how to amend the teacher evaluation process. In that story, Connecticut unions represented that the inclusion of a state assessment in the evaluation process is unfair to teachers. But, as a former teacher, principal, and superintendent, and a father of six Connecticut children—it strikes me as somewhat obvious that, quite to the contrary, these results indicate a strong, existing bias in favor of protecting teachers from data.
Connecticut’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) met last week to discuss a response to data that show teacher evaluation systems have identified very few people to dismiss, and assign high ratings to most teachers — a pattern which has been reported in many states across the country over the last five years. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because many states are using similar tools for teacher evaluation: a state-specific version of Danielson’s Framework for Teaching (here dubbed the Common Core of Teaching, CCT), or other generic teaching rubric applied to teachers regardless of grade or subject area. When we use the same, blunt tools, we can expect the same, nonspecific results.
The state panel that developed Connecticut’s teacher evaluation system three years ago met Wednesday to find ways to instill confidence in its utility among the state’s teachers. The mission: ensure it is used to improve the profession and learning among students.