Evaluation changes likely for current school year

This week, the Michigan legislature is likely to advance a bill to alter evaluations for teachers and school administrators for the current school year. Senate Bills 122 and 202 (Horn, R) would severely restrict the use of data on student learning in educator evaluations for the current school year.

This would change Michigan’s current evaluation system, passed four years ago with near-unanimous support. At the time, a wide range of education advocacy organizations praised the evaluation system as being focused on improving the quality of classroom instruction.

As the legislature continues to consider the issue of educator evaluations, The Education Trust-Midwest encourages lawmakers to focus on ways to strengthen the system that we have, and make continuous improvement the primary goal of evaluations:

  • Future conversations on evaluations should begin with connecting feedback based on observations and data to high-quality professional development and career advancement.
  • Evaluators should be well-trained to observe and provide thoughtful, actionable feedback in a regular and prompt manner.
  • To the extent that locally-developed student growth data will continue to be used, parameters should be set to ensure that local assessments are valid and reliable measures of grade-level expectations, are rigorous in nature, and that growth models are technically sound and fair to educators.

There is absolutely no substitute for effective teaching and high-quality instruction. Michigan has already made important strides by adopting research-based evaluation systems for educators. Moving forward, policymakers should begin with the question of whether a proposed change will benefit students, by improving educator effectiveness and strengthening classroom instruction.

Superintendent search continues

The Michigan Board of Education moved closer to hiring a Superintendent of Public Instruction this week as it began public interviews with the five candidates vying for the job. A final round of interviews is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7. The next Superintendent is expected to start by mid-summer.

On Monday, the Board of Education interviewed Brenda Cassellius, former Minnesota Commissioner of Education, and G. Eric Thomas, chief turnaround officer at the Georgia Board of Education.

Interviews will continue on Wednesday, April 24 with interviews of Michael Rice, superintendent of Kalamazoo Public School, Randy Liepa, superintendent of Wayne RESA, and Jeanice Kerr Swift, superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Capital Update

House Education Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m. this morning in room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda: Senate Bills 122 and 202 (Horn, R), to limit the use of data on student learning in educator evaluations. The Education Trust-Midwest opposes these bills.

Tweet of the Week

@ednavigate: More "When we do not equip our children academically, we are not failing to prepare them for a test. We are failing to prepare them for real life." #testing #NAEP