In a recent article, under the direction of Governor Chris Christie, the New Jersey Department of Education is releasing the results of teacher evaluations that are in part based on student test performance. The teacher assessment was limited to about 15% of the teachers who were responsible for the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) grades 4 to 8. The new teacher evaluation results are confidential and will not be released to the public which makes the purpose of teacher evaluation suspect because there is no transparency which leaves to much room for the perpetual tradition of classroom racism (Pertcrism).
The new teacher evaluation process began with the TEACHNJ Act. The TEACHNJ Act (“TEACHNJ”) is the bipartisan tenure reform approved unanimously by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Christie on August 6, 2012. The goal of the law is to “raise student achievement by improving instruction through the adoption of evaluations that provide specific feedback to educators, inform the provision of aligned professional development, and inform personnel decisions.” At its core, TEACHNJ reforms the processes of earning and maintaining tenure by improving evaluations and opportunities for professional growth. Specifically:
- Tenure decisions are now based on multiple measures of student achievement and teacher practice as measured by new evaluation procedures.
- Lengthy and costly tenure hearings are shorter, focused on process only, and less expensive.
- Educator feedback and development is more individualized and focused on students.
The TEACHNJ legislation applies to “teaching staff” who currently work in New Jersey public schools with the exception of charter schools, which are not addressed in the law.
Teaching staff, as defined by the law, includes individuals in the positions of:
- Principal (other than administrative principal)
- Assistant principal (AP)/vice-principal (VP)
- Assistant superintendent
- All school nurses including school nurse supervisors, head school nurses, chief school nurses, school nurse coordinators, and any other nurse performing school nursing services
- School athletic trainer
- Other employees required to hold appropriate certificates issued by the board of examiners.
The law increases additional support and development provided to all teaching staff members.
During their first year of teaching, all novice teachers are paired with an experienced teacher to serve as a mentor. Mentors are expected to observe the novice teacher and share feedback, model strong practice, and provide confidential support and guidance. During this first year of mentoring, novice teachers receive an evaluation, but evaluation results are not linked to tenure decisions. To the greatest extent possible, mentoring activities should be developed in consultation with the School Improvement Panel. Such activities should be responsive to the unique needs of different teachers in different instructional settings as identified by evaluation structures.
Ongoing Professional Development (PD) / Individual PD Plans
Above and beyond the targeted feedback received through the new evaluation system, all teaching staff members receive ongoing professional development (PD) and an individual PD plan to support student achievement. Like mentoring, PD activities should, where possible, be developed in consultation with the School Improvement Panel (ScIP) to ensure that the results of evaluation inform instructional development.
Corrective Action Plan (CAP)
Any teaching staff member who is rated Ineffective or Partially Effective on their evaluation receive additional support through a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). The teaching staff member works with their supervisor to create a plan of professional development that is designed to correct the needs identified in their evaluation. The CAP includes timelines for corrective action, and clearly delineates responsibilities of the teaching staff member versus the district in implementing the plan.
The major difference in what they have attempted to accomplish in the past is that they have streamed lined, on a state level, the expectations for meeting tenure and have included student test perfromance as part of the tenure process. The major fallacy is that student achievement compromises a measly 30% of the teachers evaluation.
The performance of the student is the final product and should account for at least 80 % of the teachers evaluation.
When students complete any of the NJASK assessments they are scored as partially proficient, proficient, or advanced proficient. A student is considered proficient with a raw score of at least 200. An advanced proficient student has a raw score of 250. A proficient rating requires a least an 80% success rate on the NJASK.
We have set the expectations for students very high and teacher expectations on teacher evaluations should be as high if not higher.
In schools where historically underserved students fail miserably, the higher teacher evaluation expectations will offset the negative impact of classroom racism (Cloomism). It is only fair to say that at least 80% of a teacher evaluation should comprise of student achievement on the state standardized assessments.
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