Gutman: A common sense way to evaluate teachers
When it comes to educating our kids and preparing them for college and a career, effective teachers and administrators can make all the difference in the world. Thoughtful evaluation of teachers and administrators is an important part of helping teachers teach and administrators lead. It allows us to recognize and reward the best educators and identify and support those who are struggling.
Senate Bill 103, introduced by State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, lays out a framework for common sense, fair and critical evaluations for educators.
Senate Bill 103 recognizes that local schools are best-positioned to craft evaluation tools. Here at Walled Lake Consolidated School District, we established a collaborative team of teachers and administrators to consistently review and improve the process of teacher evaluation. This committee reviews data and makes modifications to our evaluation tool to better capture the complexity of teaching, and to increase the rigor of the tool. As in Walled Lake, districts across the state have successfully utilized research-based evaluation tools in innovative ways and this legislation will allow them to continue to do so.
During debates on teacher evaluation legislation last year, bills were introduced which would have set aside millions of dollars from the School Aid Fund, dedicated solely to educator evaluation.
Rather than divert money that should go to our classrooms and kids, Senate Bill 103 lets local districts decide the best way to allocate funds so kids can truly learn, succeed and compete for jobs.
Student testing is currently in a state of flux and uncertainty with changes at both the state and federal levels. Senate Bill 103 recognizes that the testing landscape is changing dramatically and delays full implementation of evaluation requirements until the 2018-2019 school year, giving local schools time to adjust. It also gives the state time to determine if the assessments are valid and consistent year to year.
To prepare our kids for college and a career, we must ensure that educators — from principals to first-year teachers to those who have spent decades in the classroom — are evaluated in a fair and transparent manner. Meaningful feedback allows teachers and administrators to improve, advance professionally, and build on their skills.
We owe it to our kids; we owe it to taxpayers.
Kenneth Gutman is superintendent of Walled Lake Consolidated Schools.