Teacher evaluation plan controversial

The American Press

<p class="p1">After a four-year hiatus, a controversial teacher review system known as the Value-Added Model is being conducted for the 2017-18 school year. </p><p class="p3">The results are scheduled to be announced this month.</p><p class="p3">In 2010 a law sponsored by Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe — and backed by former Gov. Bobby Jindal — aimed at measuring a teacher’s impact on student learning by comparing previous student performance with that year’s expected gains. </p><p class="p3">VAM would review teachers of English-language arts, social studies, algebra, geometry and English I and II and rate them in four categories — highly effective, effective/proficient, effective/emerging and ineffective. Half of the review would be based on student test scores, the other half on traditional observations by principals and others.</p><p class="p3">The claim for value-added measures is that they capture how much students learn during the school year, thereby putting teachers on a more level playing field as they aim for higher salaries. Others insist the state could use the measurement to help improve low achievement in public schools.</p><p class="p3">The rules of this measuring stick, however, have been delayed and debated in the Legislature almost yearly since the law was activated with advocates of performance-based pay claiming it’s not fair to judge teachers’ effectiveness solely on the basis of end-of-year test scores without regard to where the teachers’ students started at the beginning of the year. </p><p class="p3">The state Department of Education, however, says on its website that the model also looks at other factors outside of the teacher’s control, including attendance, discipline, free and reduced lunch status, special education status, Section 504 status, limited English proficiency status and gifted status.</p><p class="p3">The only time the law has been used in the same manner in which it was passed was the 2012-13 school year. With 50 percent of the review linked to student test scores, nearly half the teachers reviewed fell into the two lowest categories that year. </p><p class="p3">The review has been adjusted the last four years while the state moved to tougher academic standards, including Common Core. Initially, the requirement for student test scores to be factored in was dropped and teacher rankings soared with 92 percent of teachers ranking in the top two categories. </p><p class="p3">In 2016, a revised deal agreed upon by teacher unions and the governor switched the system so that 35 percent of the review is based on evaluations, 50 percent on observations and 15 percent on student learning targets. </p><p class="p3">Hoffmann told the Baton Rouge Advocate last month the law doesn’t do what he had hoped it would. </p><p class="p3">“I just don’t think it is a fair way to evaluate teachers,” he said. </p><p class="p3">With school starting next week, the soon-to-be-released evaluations may not arrive in time for teachers with less than stellar results to adjust their learning plans. </p><hr /><p class="p4">This editorial was written by a member of the <em>American Press</em> Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include <strong>Crystal Stevenson, John Guidroz</strong>, <strong>Jim Beam</strong> and <strong>Mike Jones</strong>.</p>””<p><span>The Louisiana State Claiborne Building houses several state agencies, including the Division of Administration, State Civil Service, Louisiana Department of Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Board of Regents, the University of Louisiana System, and several other state agencies.</span></p>By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:2010MiMi" title="User:2010MiMi">2010MiMi</a> – <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0" title="Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>, <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30822327">Link</a>

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