New evaluation system overlooks school counselors

Capital News Service
LANSING — A new law creating a statewide teacher evaluation system was a win for many educators because it limits the effect of standardized tests, but it left out a group of important players — school counselors. Although counselors have expanded their role in schools, many find it difficult to receive an appropriate progress report, which is essential to continued improvement, according to the Michigan School Counselor Association (MSCA). Shawn Bultsma, MSCA director of headquarters in Grand Rapids, said he worked as a school counselor for 10 years and administration assessed him with ill-fitting teacher evaluations. It started in 1995 when he was in New Jersey. “I was evaluated with a teacher’s evaluation that took, probably, 50 percent of ‘the variables do not apply,’” Bultsma said.