Since that plan was submitted, White has announced that the rating scale will be changed from a 5 level scale to a 4 level scale. Will that change the 10% factor? This brings up the following questions that may need to be asked of Supt. White at the teacher town hall meetings:
- Would it make sense to apply the 10% ineffective factor on a school-by-school basis since some schools are rated A and some are rated D and F?
- Since the teachers of non-tested subjects and grades will be evaluated using a somewhat different system, will the 10% “ineffective” group include only teachers of state tested subjects? Or will there be two categories of 10% ineffective rankings (one for state tested subjects and grades and another for non tested)?
- Will the teachers of non tested subjects and grades have an advantage since they and their principals will set their performance goals for the value added portion of their evaluation?
- Is it true that a formerly tenured teacher can now be terminated without a tenure hearing as soon as he/she receives an “ineffective” rating using the Act 54 evaluation? The new law states that a teacher loses tenure as soon as he/she gets an “ineffective” evaluation. Once you are non-tenured you become an “at will” employee, subject to dismissal with only a notice of such by your Superintendent.
- Isn't the new tenure hearing process really just a mockery of due process since the Superintendent and the Principal get to pick 2 out of 3 of the hearing officers?
In the document referred to above, White points out that one-third of Louisiana's public school students are performing below grade level. He then asserts that in the past too many teachers in Louisiana have received satisfactory ratings. In doing so he implies that teachers are primarily responsible for the sub par performance of the students in some schools.
The Act 54 evaluation system is supposed to determine the effectiveness of teachers in all types of schools. Consider a comparison of teachers teaching in high poverty schools with teachers teaching in academically selective magnet schools. Throughout the state, most high poverty schools and particularly alternative schools that work with difficult to teach students are rated "D" and "F". At the same time most selective magnet schools are rated "A". Does it make sense to expect that a large number of teachers working in alternative or extremely high poverty schools will get an "ineffective" rating and that many teachers in magnet schools will get a "highly effective rating"? Or is it fairer to decide ahead of time that 10% of the teachers in all schools should be rated ineffective? No matter what course our education Czar chooses the end result is highly arbitrary and potentially unfair. This whole teacher evaluation and school letter grading system stinks!
I urge all teachers who care about their profession to attend the town hall meetings in their areas. I do not believe it is appropriate to limit each school to only 3 teachers allowed to attend. These issues are of great concern to all teachers!