TEA is calling for the number of evaluations and the scores necessary for tenure to be decreased.
Under current legislation, a teacher must perform “above” or “significantly above” expectations in order to be considered for tenure. The TEA is asking the law be changed to make teachers who meet expectations on the evaluation system eligible for tenure.
“They (teachers) want 4’s (above expectations) and 5’s (significantly above expectations) which are the highest scores possible, even though they have been told that it is highly unlikely they will receive a 5. That in itself is a testament to the quality and high standards our teachers hold for themselves and their profession. However, I think all of us, teachers and administrators, will agree our time could be better utilized by addressing the needs of the students rather than worrying about a flawed evaluations process,” BCEA President Barbara Harrison said on behalf of the organization.
Other suggestions include having this school year count as a pilot for the evaluation system. This would keep any low scores this year from having a negative effect on a teacher. The state education association also wants the growth component for teachers who do not have Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System in their subject to be based on specific data for the teacher rather than the school’s TVAAS score.
The local association agrees with TEA the number of evaluations should be based on a teacher’s experience level.
“The evaluations process should serve to help identify teachers who may need assistance as they continue to refine their expertise in the field of education,” Harrison said.
Harrison also said, “If there is any disagreement about the evaluation, a second evaluation should be scheduled to provide an opportunity for a more accurate depiction of a teacher’s professional capabilities before the administrator makes a final decision regarding the teachers classroom proficiency.”
The local and state teacher associations are not asking for a new system to be used, they simply want to improve on what has already been chosen by the General Assembly.
“We (BCEA) hope this time, legislators will listen to educators as we provide needed input to improve the process. There are several things that need to be put in place to improve the TEAM model. The Bradley County Education Association concurs with TEA President Gera Summerford’s agenda to fix the annual evaluation system,” Harrison said.
TEA and BCEA also agree the evaluation process needs to allow teachers and administrators to have more dialogue about data collected during observations.
“The Bradley County Education Association supports all items in President Summerford’s recommendations,” Harrison said. “Because we realize ... the TEAM model is flawed, it would be best for teachers and administrators to have this year serve as a pilot/practice year. This will allow for meaningful conversation between teachers and evaluators about what should be occurring, and what the system expectations are.”