Thu., June 9, 2011 4:29pm (EDT)

Teacher Evaluations Get A Face-Lift
By Maura Walz
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Half of teachers’ evaluations will depend on how well their students perform on state tests.  After two years, teachers with top evaluations will get bonuses, while low-ranked teachers could lose their jobs. (Photo Courtesy of: Stockvault)
Half of teachers’ evaluations will depend on how well their students perform on state tests. After two years, teachers with top evaluations will get bonuses, while low-ranked teachers could lose their jobs. (Photo Courtesy of: Stockvault)
The State Board of Education voted today to spend more than $750 thousand dollars in federal money on consultants to overhaul how Georgia’s teachers are evaluated. The new evaluations will fulfill a pledge the state made in its Race to the Top application.

The consultants will design the new evaluations this summer and pilot them in 26 school districts beginning this fall. They’ll be led by James Stronge of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Stronge says the first task is to pare down the current list of complex evaluation standards into a system that’s easier to use. Then his team will train principals and staff and get feedback on how the system works.

Stronge: "Is it practical? Is it fair to teachers? Is it sensible in terms of the amount of time that principals can devote to good evaluations? Does it ultimately promote student learning?"

Board members acknowledge the new evaluations will be controversial. Half of teachers’ evaluations will depend on how well their students perform on state tests. After two years, teachers with top evaluations will get bonuses, while low-ranked teachers could lose their jobs.

*This morning the Board of Education also voted unanimously to approve two charter schools that were at risk of closing. The Georgia Cyber Academy and Odyssey School in Newnan had been approved by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which the state Supreme Court struck down last month. Today’s vote means the schools will become state special schools, which are still legal. The other 14 charter schools affected by the Court decision have also applied to become state special schools. The Board will consider their applications in a special session at the end of the month.