Gwinnett County will be one of 26 school districts to implement the new in schools, with more districts in wait of what will be evident for them as well. Many states are coming up with new teacher and principal evaluation methods in hopes of getting waivers from the Bush-era No Child Left behind law.
Last year, Georgia won a $400 million grant from the federal program “Race to the Top” competition to improve student performance. The state was then presented with a $758,000 contract for expert assistance in developing an evaluation system for educators and administrators based on student achievement.
In January, Georgia will implement a pilot of the educator evaluation system. Principals will be judged in part on the ability to retain effective teachers, student attendance, and by teacher surveys. Teachers, of course, will be evaluated on student test scores, student evaluations and administrator observations which will determine their value in what’s called a “value added score;" however, each district will have to invent its own strategy for assessing the effectiveness of teachers who teach subjects which don’t require standardized testing like band, theater, or Latin.
The “value added score” of a teacher or principal is projected, in due course, to affect merit bonuses. In 2013-2014, the state will administer a test on this pay-for performance-plan which, I believe, could lead to teachers staring down the barrel of a gun.
This new evaluation method could eventually start being used to determine the renewal of a teacher’s contract. Think about it: A principal's "value added score" depends in part on his/her keep of effective teachers who I conclude must have a high “value added score” to be considered effective.
So, should teachers be subjected to an evaluation method that could possibly end in a downhill spiral? Or should it be all about the students and bridging student achievement gaps? Maybe the system will balance itself. I don't know...what do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.