Teachers to be evaluated again - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Teachers to be evaluated again

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Teachers in 26 Georgia school systems, including Dougherty County, will face new evaluations in the upcoming school year. The changes are a result of the more than $400 million the state will get in federal Race to the Top funds.

The money is tied to school reform and new evaluations for teachers that have a direct tie to student test scores It's raising concerns among state educators.

Several Dougherty County administrators were in Atlanta just last month to continue discussion about Dougherty County Race to the Top grant fund. They're still uncertain how this new system of evaluation will affect their teachers and school staff.

In Dougherty County schools, it's not unusual for teachers to be evaluated. In fact, principals are consistently in classrooms. "They review teachers performances every week. They have to be in some teachers class observing their teaching methods and content and how they're doing," said School System Public Information Officer R. D. Harter. 

What's caused reservations among educators is tying students' test scores to their pay and performance.

"We don't have a problem with accountability in education, but this measure has yet to be developed," said Harter.

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators is fine with making student test scores a part of the evaluations, but they've raised concerns about talk of 50% based on a students achievement.

State officials are still trying to decide which growth model they'll use here in Georgia and educators say there's a lot to factor in.

"It's well known socioeconomic class contributes greatly to a students achievement in academics," said Harter.

Teachers in systems where the socioeconomic levels are lower worry they'll have a harder time make the grade for performance achievement. Schools say they'll be working closely with the state to understand this new evaluation process that will start this fall and continue over the next three years.

Issues have bee raised over how to evaluate 70% of Georgia teachers who instruct non-tested classes like physical education and kindergarten.

Under the proposal, after three years, teachers whose students don't show enough academic growth would not be re-certified.

All of the changes will need to be approved by the Professional Standards Commission which oversees Georgia's teacher certifications.

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