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Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 11:12am

Feds Question Teacher Evaluations

The U.S. Department of Education says Georgia is at high risk of losing $33 million dollars in Race To The Top funds. Federal officials are concerned over changes to the state’s teacher evaluation program.

When Georgia applied for federal Race To The Top funds, the state promised it would include student surveys as part of a teacher’s evaluation.

Now, nearly two years after receiving the grant, the state wants to eliminate student surveys in kindergarten, first, and second grades. Georgia also wants to change how the surveys are used in evaluating a teacher.

The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter this week to Governor Nathan Deal listing concerns that that strays too far from the original agreement.

Deputy Superintendent Teresa MacCartney says Georgia will deliver on its promises.

“This is just one specific area around the evaluation system. They have provided us conditions and we will meet those conditions.”

The state also promised to measure the achievement gap in the classroom as a way to evaluate teacher performance. Officials now say that is too small a sample to be fair and accurate.

MacCartney says this will not delay training in the new teacher evaluation system. The training is scheduled to start July 16th.

Liz Utrup with the U.S. Department of Education says "Georgia's work to strengthen teaching and school leadership lays out a bold vision and sets a high bar for taking this work to the next level. This is new work and the state has struggled with assessing and demonstrating how best to put this part of the plan into action. Despite this challenge, Georgia has made clear that they remain very committed to the work. The Department is confident that with additional time and focus dedicated to this area, the state can get back on track."

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