Md. May Change Way Teachers Are Evaluated

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The governor has appointed a council to change the way teachers in Maryland are evaluated and the council says it’s ready to put their new system to work.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains the State Board of Education will give the plan a test run in the fall.

Nothing says school like a report card and some teachers are worried about how they’ll be graded.  The Maryland Department of Education’s place in the race to the top for federal funding depends on reform.  Maryland teachers are about to be schooled on a new system that evaluates their performance largely on the performances of their students.

“It’s not a gotcha instrument.  It’s supposed to be an instrument to improve the craft of teaching and hopefully improve learning,” said Elizabeth Weller, Maryland State Education Association.

The evaluations are evenly split between teacher practices, such as lesson plans and classroom environment–which will be determined by the school principal—and student performance.  Thirty percent will be judged by the state and 20 percent by the school district.  Teachers will be rated as ineffective, effective or highly effective.

Every teacher on the panel voted against it.

“The teachers were upset,” said Weller.

Weller is the vice president of the Maryland State Education Association.  She says those teachers were not permitted to air their concerns.

“We were in the midst of the discussion and then a motion was made to accept the report as it was and when that motion passed, the discussion ended,” Weller said.

But the process is not over.  Seven districts will give it a trial run in the fall and more adjustments will be made.

“It is still a work in progress.  The intent of the document is to improve instruction in the state of Maryland,” Weller said.

It will be two years before the new system is finalized.

The seven pilot districts are Baltimore City and Baltimore County and St. Mary’s, Charles, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Prince George’s Counties.

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