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Student Surveys Among Changes House Proposes For Evaluating Teachers

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Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 11:57 AM

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The new teacher evaluation process that schools just started using this year is under review yet again by lawmakers.

Senate Bill 229 would allow districts to evaluate teachers less often and would reduce the amount of a teacher's evaluation that's based on his or her students' test scores and growth measures.

That's a marked change from the new process, which requires more frequent teacher evaluations, and for half of that evaluation to be based on a student's academic growth.

That bill passed the Senate back in December and recently, lawmakers in the House Education Committee proposed adding student surveys as 20 percent of a teacher's evaluation.

Now, as Jim Siegel writes for the Columbus Dispatch, the House has added more changes:

• Instead of setting student surveys at 20 percent of evaluations, it allows districts to go up to 20 percent and delays their use until 2016-17.

• Unlike the earlier House version, it would allow the use of student surveys in teacher evaluations to be part of collective bargaining, but does not allow bargaining of the details.

• It removes an earlier House-added requirement that “effective” teachers complete improvement plans. It still requires improvement plans for those rated “developing” or “ineffective.”

• It eliminates a House-added provision that would have prohibited districts from assigning students to a teacher rated “ineffective” for two consecutive years.

Just like the opposition to the passage of the current evaluation rules, these new proposals are not without controversy.

Ohio's largest teachers unions have expressed concern about using student surveys as part of teachers' grades.

And Siegel writes that Republican Senator Randy Gardner, the original sponsor of SB 229, isn't thrilled about the changes to his bill.

 “We know there needs to be compromise,” he said. “The concern is, if the compromise goes so far it dilutes the original premise of the bill — to improve the teacher-evaluation process and respond to concerns of educators across Ohio.”

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