|Michigan may test teacher reviews|
|The Detroit news|
By: Jennifer Chambers
|April 03, 2012|
|Agency crafting new evaluation system to offer regular reports|
Detroit— A year-long pilot program to test a new statewide teacher evaluation system may be among the recommendations from a temporary state agency created to propose a new model.
Members of the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness met Monday in Detroit to discuss the research they`ve done since December to craft a state evaluation tool for teachers, a state evaluation tool for school administrators and a student growth and assessment tool.
Council member Deborah Ball, dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan, helped chair the public meeting held at the Skillman Foundation.
The council has an April 30 deadline to report to the state Legislature on its work, but Ball said there is a lot still to do and the council has two years to offer complete recommendations.
"The (April) deadline — clearly it`s not a reasonable task," said Ball, adding the council will continue its work this summer and through next year. "Our goal is to keep the process moving."
Ball said the council will update lawmakers with regular reports, the first on April 30. That report is expected to recommend all the components of a new teacher evaluation system and the process for districts to apply for waivers from the new tool.
Officials from 344 public school districts and charter schools have filed requests with the council for exemptions because they have local evaluation systems. The council will decide which school districts may be exempt from the new model. Michigan has 848 school districts, which include public schools and charter school academies.
The council has met twice a week since January. Council program director Cori Mehan said research has revealed that six states used pilot programs to test their new model and took two to three years to fully implement the tools statewide. Those states are New Jersey, Washington, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland and Rhode Island.
Michigan lawmakers last year approved widespread education reform, including a mandate that a teacher evaluation system be in place for the 2013-14 school year.
Last year, lawmakers approved changes to the state`s teacher tenure system, making it easier to remove ineffective teachers. The legislation makes teacher performance rather than seniority the key factor in awarding tenure and deciding layoffs. It also outlines criteria districts would use to evaluate teachers.
Starting in 2013-14, districts will be required to use student growth and assessment data as 25 percent of each evaluation, rising to 40 percent in 2014-15 and 50 percent in 2015-16, state education officials said.
"Michigan doesn`t want to rush to put something in place that is damaging. Building a strong evaluation system is key to improving schools," Ball said.
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