Snyder signs law setting teacher evaluation standards

David Eggert
Associated Press

Lansing — Michigan teachers and school administrators will work within a new evaluation system based partly on students’ improvement on standardized tests under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The remainder of an annual evaluation will center primarily on educators’ performance as measured by a scoring tool chosen from a state list or developed locally, including a classroom observation component.

“Michigan has wonderful teachers, dedicated to helping all their students reach their full potential and become lifelong learners. This new law helps them grow as educators through improved feedback and evaluations,” Snyder said in a statement following a private bill-signing event.

The law won bipartisan support and backing from a range of education stakeholders. It is a follow-up to a 2011 law that overhauled teacher tenure rules but deferred decisions on establishing a statewide evaluation system.

The new measure requires school districts and charter schools, starting this school year, to base at least 25 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on assessment and student growth data, which is half of what would have been required under a previous law. The component will rise to 40 percent in 2018-19.

At least two classroom observations will have to be conducted of teachers not rated as effective or highly effective on their two most recent year-end evaluations. A district or charter will be unable to assign a student to be taught in the same subject area for two consecutive years by a teacher rated as ineffective two times in a row.

“School districts now have the necessary tools to identify their best educators, help struggling ones improve and ensure every classroom is staffed with the best teacher possible,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair. “This law creates accountability for our schools to deliver the best classroom learning environment possible.”