An Ohio law that changes how administrators will evaluate teachers would reward educators considered high-performing by eliminating yearly formal evaluations.
Gov. John Kasich signed into law earlier this month House Bill 362, which among other things, will allow teachers who receive an “accomplished” rating to be formally evaluated once every three years, and those that receive a “skilled” rating to be evaluated once every two years.
But all “accomplished” and “skilled” teachers will still be required to have regular annual observations and conferences with administrators.
The new standards will take effect in September.
“The previous law was simply too much of a burden, not only on the teachers but also on the administration,” said Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Hanover Twp. “They simply don’t need a formal evaluation each year. This bill allows teachers more time to do what they want to do, and that is to teach the kids. And this will allow our administrators to manage and administer in our schools.”
Derickson and Rep. Gary Scherer, R-Circleville, were the joint-sponsors of the bill, which was initially addressed STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education for community and charted nonpublic schools. When the legislation went to the Ohio Senate, the new teacher evaluation language was added. The House concurred with the Senate’s changes on June 3 and Kasich signed the bill on June 12.
As a part of the Race to the Top Grant, the Middletown City School District piloted the new evaluation process during the 2013-2014 school year, said Carolyn Mack, Middletown’s director of Professional Development and Gifted.
She said each building principal conducted two formal evaluations and four walk-throughs for every teacher. The district used the Middletown Model, iObservation tool to manage the process. The district used the shared attribution for student growth measure.
“The change in the legislation allows the district to provide support to the teachers and more time for the administrators to monitor growth of staff and provide tool to improve student achievement,” Mack said.
As the changes were expected, “the new potential changes did not take us by surprise,” said Roger Martin, Fairfield City Schools assistant superintendent. He said the district administrators will work to have the new evaluation language in place before the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
“Our current language regarding member evaluation is in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding between the (Fairfield City School Board) and the Fairfield Classroom Teachers Association,” he said.
Martin said representatives from the board and the teachers’ union will work this summer to draft any needed changes to the memorandum of understanding, and any proposed changes will need to be approved by both the entities.
Hamilton City Schools spokeswoman Joni Copas said, “Our district is looking into the options available, but have not made a decision at this point, given how new the changes are.”
The Journal-News contacted some of the teacher union presidents, but was unable to reach anyone for comment.
The Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and Ohio Association of School Business Officials, in a joint statement, supported the new law that made revisions to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.
Officials with the three state education associations said the changes will allow districts increased flexibility in conducting the formal teacher evaluations.
“While we understand the importance of conducting teacher evaluations on an annual basis, we have been hearing from many districts across the state with regard to the increased administrative burdens being placed on them in fulfilling the (Ohio Teacher Evaluation System) requirements,” said Damon Asbury, OSBA director of legislative services.
“The changes made by the legislation will allow for more flexibility without jeopardizing the effectiveness of the teacher evaluation system,” said Thomas Ash, BASA director of governmental relations.
By Michael D. PitmanJournal-News, Hamilton, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)
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