The Idaho State Board of Education released its first review of the state’s teacher evaluation process since taking over responsibility for the evaluations, sharing the results of their review with a joint session of the legislative education committees. 180 administrators covering 77 districts were included in the review of 2015-16 evaluations, which was conducted by a panel of 18 people with direct ties to education. The review found that 49% of the evaluations were in full compliance with state standards, with another 15% in partial compliance. 36% were not in compliance.
In addition to providing a statistical breakout, the State Board and the review panel cited these conclusions:
- There was clear evidence of good faith effort on the part of administrators
- There was not a common understanding of the state requirements
- Administrators did not get (or comprehend) clear direction from the state
- Administrators expressed a desire for additional training
While still not at a fully acceptable level, the evaluation process showed significant improvement from the review of 2014-15 evaluations conducted on behalf of the State Department of Education, which previously had oversight of the process. The State Board and the review panel also shared the following recommendations.
- Clarify expectations for the evaluations, especially concerning pupil service staff
- Additional training for administrators
- Develop a checklist of requirements and an evaluation template
- Establish a plan and a timeline for districts not currently in compliance
- Set up an evaluation clearinghouse for the sharing of best practices
- Emphasize that all 22 elements of the evaluation tool (Charlotte Danielson model) are to be included
In a question and answer period following the presentation by Blake Youde from the State Board of Education, legislators complimented the work of the review panel, and also expressed some concerns. Among those concerns were (from different legislators) both a lack of standardization and a lack of room for objectivity. There were also comments about using the Danielson method as the evaluation tool, when it was designed as guide for professional practice. And multiple legislators expressed concern that too much time and effort was being poured into evaluations rather than focusing on student growth and outcomes. “I’m worried that we might be creating an evaluation and portfolio death-spiral,” said Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett).
Students Rally for Public Education on Capitol Steps
Hundreds of high school and college students, along with other activists, rallied on the steps of the Capitol building Thursday. Their signs and their message were clear—support public schools and make sure that all children have access to a quality education. There was also a strong sentiment in opposition to the recent confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has been a staunch supporter of vouchers and “school choice”, which can syphon resources away from public schools. Student leaders made it clear that their opinions were not directed at their teachers or the Boise School District. Boise television station KTVB has a story on the rally.
JFAC Sets 3% Merit Raises for State Employees
In a unanimous vote, the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee approved 35 merit-based raises for all permanent state employees. That figure is in line with recommendations by the governor and the Change in Employee Compensation Committee. Read more from Betsy Russel of the Spokesman Review.