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More school districts raise concerns over new teacher evaluations

Updated: 06/18/2014 5:57 PM | Created: 06/18/2014 5:55 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

More school districts are coming forward with concerns about the state's new teacher evaluation system, saying the results may not be entirely accurate.

The Pojoaque, Los Alamos and Moriarty-Edgewood school districts testified before a legislative committee yesterday. The districts said they found dozens of data errors that resulted in some teachers getting lower scores than they deserved.

We asked the superintendent of the Moriarty-Edgewood School District, Tom Sullivan, to grade the state's new teacher evaluation system.

"I think it has potential,” he said. “As far as the kinks that need to be ironed out I wouldn't give it more than a C at this point."

Sullivan said his district found data errors on 40 teacher evaluations the state released last month. That's 26 percent of his teachers. Initially, 86 percent of his teachers were rated “effective” or above, but after the data is corrected he thinks it’ll be more than 90 percent.

“I think there were some hurt feelings and some professional harm done,” he said.

So where did the data errors come from?

“I think with the number of errors it's certainly fair to assume there were some at each end,” he said. “I don't know if trying to affix blame on whose end is very productive. I would just like an acknowledgement that it was premature to release data that hadn't been reviewed more thoroughly."

The state wasn’t quick to point the finger either.

"I don't think it's appropriate to say who's at fault,” said Hanna Skandera, Secretary of Education. “I will say the data comes from the districts and we look to them to get accurate data and the evaluations are dependent on accurate data from our districts."

She said 11 school districts have come forward after finding data errors. She said data was thoroughly reviewed before it was released, but the state will work with those districts moving forward.

"Districts want to get this right and we want to get this right so we're going to help them get there."

This was the first year the new evaluation system was used. Statewide, about 76 percent of teachers scored "effective” or better.

But that number may change as corrections to the initial data are made.


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