October 15th is the deadline for Georgia to turn in its revised Race To The Top proposal for teacher evaluations. The federal government had threatened to pull 33 million dollars in funding after the state changed its proposal.
To keep the Race To The Top funds, Georgia must get federal administrators to sign off on the changes to how teachers are evaluated.
The state initially called for student surveys to be a factor. During a pilot project, teachers complained that children in kindergarten through second grade were too young to give accurate accounts of their teacher’s performance.
Avis King, Deputy Superintendent of School Improvement, says the federal Race to the Top administrators have allowed the state to drop those surveys.
“We really didn’t have sufficient evidence to really demonstrate how that survey component using the K through 2 would
be that effective for us. So we will not be using it next year.”she says.
Under the new proposal, rather than evaluate their teachers on ten standards, older students would comment on four professional standards.
King says “Sometimes the students didn’t see those things that would happen. Like professionalism, that would be really hard for a student to comment on. But a student could comment on ‘My teacher knows a lot about what she is teaching.’ Or ‘My teacher is ready to teach every day.’ They could give some responses to that.”
And the state is now proposing that student surveys will be used as a point of discussion in teacher evaluations, rather than a stand-along component.
If the feds approve the changes, Davis says they could begin implementing the new teacher evaluation in a few weeks.