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Bill to Revise Ohio's New Teacher Evaluation System Passes Senate

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 5:24 PM

The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill today that would make several changes to how teachers’ job performance is evaluated in what state Sen. Joe Schiavoni called “legislation to improve the morale of educators across the state.”

The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill today that would make several changes to how teachers' job performance is evaluated in what state Sen. Joe Schiavoni called "legislation to improve the morale of educators across the state."

"For the first time since I've been down here, I've actually gotten calls from teachers and school administrators saying 'Thank you for listening,'" he said.

Schools are using a new teacher evaluation system this year. It's a big change from Ohio's old way of evaluating teachers.

The new system requires teachers to be evaluated more often than most were in the past and for half of their evaluations to be based on their students' academic growth. (The rest must be based on classroom observations.)[related_content align="right"]

Some school administrator have said they worry the new evaluation system means principals would have to spend too much time watching teachers teach and holding meetings with teachers to discuss their performance. And some educators believe the new system puts too much emphasis on judging teachers based on how much their students’ learn.

Senate Bill 229, introduced last month by state Sen. Randy Gardner, would scale back some of those changes.

It would allow some teachers to be evaluated less frequently.

It would also require that 35 percent of a teacher's evaluation be based on academic growth. Districts could choose to base 15 percent of a teacher's evaluation on other measures such as student surveys.

State Sen. Peggy Lehner said the changes in this bill are not a sign that Ohio is moving away from efforts to improve how teachers are evaluated.

"For anybody who has any concerns that we are retreating in any way from Ohio's accountability…you can rest comfortably that that this [bill] indeed does not do that," she said.

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