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Union unhappy with teacher evaluation scores

Created: 05/16/2014 6:46 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The grades for most New Mexico teachers are in, and Ellen Bernstein with the Albuquerque Teacher's Federation says teachers are not happy.

“If I thought this evaluation system was truly designed to evaluate teachers and help them I'd be singing its praises,” Bernstein said.

Data gathered for the first time by the Public Education Department show 76 percent of New Mexican teachers were deemed effective or better. Only 1.5 percent was considered exemplary.

That’s a big difference from last year’s old grading system, which found 99.8 percent of teachers were effective.

Education Chief Hanna Skandera says this new evaluation shows a lower score but the evaluation is progress.

“I believe it (old system) was broken this new system I believe it was a huge step in the right direction,” Skandera said.

More than 500 teachers in New Mexico still need to be evaluated.

Bernstein argues this study was prematurely released.

DEP officials argue it was just on time and there are school districts that still need to turn in their evaluations. The results were distributed Thursday night.

“There are far more excellent teachers out there than what they are claiming based on their deeply flawed system,” said Bernstein.

A spokesperson with Albuquerque Public Schools says they just received the data but there are few glitches, such as teachers listed in the wrong curriculums. 

Skandera says the numbers are accurate but there may be a couple of flaws considering it’s a new system.

A system critics say was fast-tracked for political reasons.

“Parents should have a sense of confidence and anticipation that in partnership we are supporting our teachers and supporting our kids,” Bernstien said.

The new grading system is based on test scores, teacher attendance, and classroom observation.

Skandera says this new system is both objective and subjective. She also points out the attention this new system has received from Washington,

“Educator evaluations are a critical component of supporting our principals, teachers and students. These systems can recognize excellent teachers and provide helpful feedback from multiple measures that educators could use to put every student on the path to success. Many states - like D.C., Florida, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey and Tennessee - have demonstrated tremendous leadership by moving forward on this work, and we will continue to look for ways to recognize and reward these efforts,” said Dorie Nolt, the Press Secretary of the US Department of Education.


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