Bill offers chance at change to teacher evaluations

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By Haley Kluge
The Holt Journal

A bill in the Michigan Senate would have the potential to restructure teacher and administrator evaluations in schools. Proposed by State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, Senate Bill 103 is in discussion.Currently, teachers are primarily judged on two main guidelines – classroom evaluations made by administrators and student growth based on test improvement.

If the bill is approved, teacher evaluations would continue to revolve around student growth data, but would drop from the current 50 percent to 25 percent during 2017-18. It would increase to 45 percent in 2018-19.

“My son came home and he says ‘I Teacher Evaluationsdon’t think it’s fair that Mr. Cronkite is being judged on how the kids are taking these tests,’” Holt mother Tara Ragauss-Page said. “He goes ‘Look at this kid, that kid gets in trouble every day, he’s never paying attention, he’s never doing what he’s supposed to do. That’s not Mr. Cronkite’s fault. He’s worried for Mr. Cronkite because of this random kid in the classroom.

With Michigan’s switch from the MEAP to the Michigan Student Educational Program or M-STEP program, standardized testing has become an increased debate.

According to Holt Superintendent Johnny Scott, the percentage of teacher evaluations based around M-STEP scores is still “fuzzy.” A teacher’s evaluation can determine the fate of a teacher within a district.

“We know Mr. Cronkite is doing a great job and doing the best he can,” Tara Ragauss-Page said. “But I can’t tell him that that kid is or is not going to impact Mr. Cronkite’s evaluation. The pressure that it’s putting on 10-year-olds that they’re worried about their teacher’s job for a stupid test.

The bill provides no training to administrators, and reallocates the current $14.8 million for teacher evaluation standards.

“The district has its own model that it uses for evaluations that is not the same as every other district,” said Holt parent and office of educational assessment and accountability employee Phillip Chase. “Dr. King has probably chosen the best model for Holt teachers to use.”

The bill is currently in discussion by the Senate Education Committee.

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