Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kansas House chair removes teacher rating measure

February 9, 2012


— A proposal from Gov. Sam Brownback to post teacher evaluations on school district websites was removed Thursday from a House education bill after it sparked outrage.

The action from House Education Committee Chairman Clay Aurand was a sign that he didn’t think the measure had much chance of staying in the bill anyway.

“There are bits and pieces I like,” Aurand, R-Belleville, told The Topeka Capital Journal after a committee hearing on the bill, which also would rewrite the funding formula, giving local districts more authority and responsibility for raising education dollars locally through property taxes.

He said previously the teacher evaluation proposal would “create more problems than it solves.”

Under the proposal, educators would be rated as highly effective, effective, progressing or ineffective. The formula for the rankings would be 50 percent on growth in student achievement, 40 percent on input from supervisors, peers, parents and students and 10 percent on the teachers’ contributions to the profession. The State Board of Education would define the exact criteria.

Teachers rated ineffective two years in a row would not be allowed to teach and schools could fire them if professional development opportunities had been provided. The proposal would also offer $5,000 bonuses for some highly effective teachers.

Mark Desetti, who represents the Kansas National Education Association, said the Brownback plan could damage collegiality among teachers by placing each in competition for the bonuses reserved for highly rated teachers.

Jon Hummel, the governor’s director of operations, said that discussion about added accountability was bound to “cause those who work within the system some anxiety.” But he said there is an up side.

“Wouldn’t it be helpful to know definitively who our best teachers are so they can be recognized?” Hummel asked. “Does the state have an obligation to students and teachers to identify and provide assistance to teachers who may be struggling? Should performance be a factor in personnel decisions? Yes.”

The teacher evaluation discussion comes as Kansas prepares to seek a waiver from some provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind education law. As part of the waiver, Kansas schools also would be required to use student test scores in evaluating teachers and administrators by the 2014-15 academic year. The state is piloting an evaluation system but has not yet determined details such as how much weight should be given to test scores and how to evaluate teachers of non-tested subjects such as art and music.

To obtain the waiver, the state is not required to post any of the evaluation information online.


JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 3 months ago

What parent would want a teacher rated as ineffective? School districts will come under even more pressure from parents. That kind of pressure to some degree is probably healthy. However, I dont think personnel matters should be a matter of public record. this just seems like a union busting move like Wisconsin just had. BTW, I'm not a teacher or USD employee, just a parent of two kids.

I would however support this type of rating system for elected officials. Which ones propose legislation that is overturned as unconstitutional like the anti abortion and anti planned parenthood bills just introduced will be? Which ones don't know basic civics? Which ones are bullies that don't treat visitors to the Capitol building respectfully? Etc.

ThePilgrim 6 years, 3 months ago

I believe the teacher evaluation requirement (to post evaluations for the public) is already part of No Child Left Behind.

One thing is for sure is that it will NOT improve education quality in Kansas. Almost every middle and high school in Topeka, Hutch, Salina, Manhattan, Wichita, KCK, and yes even in Lawrence (Lawrence Middle School in 2011, Lawrence High School in 2010) failed to make the AYP - adequate yearly progress, required by NCLB. ( No surprise! NCLB has, by law, been increasing the proficiency requirement in reading and math each year, currently to over 90% proficiency. And it has to be up to 100% by 2014. And this is with the changed curriculum to spend more time on tested topics, at the exclusion of music and art. And despite our increased crazy spending on special ed (Most of our kids in the state are in some sort of remedial special ed).

Not even considering poor test scores, just with the influx of ESL (English Second Language) students, especially in Southern and Western Kansas, this has no hope of reaching the goal. Many of these AYP schools have been on AYP for over 7 years (Wichita). At that point it is supposed to have top to bottom reorg of teachers and admin, but that doesn't happen. It can't happen because the whole state (indeed, the country) is affected by it.

question4u 6 years, 3 months ago

“Wouldn’t it be helpful to know definitively who our best teachers are so they can be recognized?” Hummel asked.

Brownback recipe for producing the "best teachers":

1) Gut funding for education

2) Eliminate pensions and replace with 401(k) plans

3) Threaten all teachers with public humiliation if they are not deemed highly effective.

No doubt the Brownback recipe would have the best and brightest of college students in Kansas fighting for admission to education programs. After all, everybody knows that the way to improve student outcomes in public schools is to make the profession of teaching even less attractive than it already is. If you want to recruit the very best, all you have to do is ensure that they will be officially ridiculed on the Internet if they're ranked lower than their peers. Who wouldn't want to be a teacher in Kansas?

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