Teacher evaluation talks begin

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. - Michigan is moving into "unchartered territory" as school districts begin to evaluate teachers and administrators in new ways under the state's Race to the Top legislation, a school administrator told The (Dearborn) Press and Guide.

Superintendent Laurine VanValkenburg of Crestwood School District told The Press and Guide that she expects student performance on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program and Michigan Merit Exam to make up 40 to 60 percent of the new evaluation process, but that other measures will be determined through collective bargaining between teachers unions and school districts.

Those agreements then must be made public, she told The Press and Guide. One question is how best to measure the effectiveness of counselors or teachers in elective areas that are not directly measured by standardized tests, such as art or music, she said, The Press and Guide reported.

The state Legislature adopted five key education reform measures intended to make Michigan eligible for federal grant money, The Press and Guide reported, among them changes in the evaluation procedures, state intervention in low-performing schools and alternative routes to teacher certification.

Right now, Crestwood evaluates non-tenured teachers annually and tenured teachers every other year, VanValkenburg told The Press and Guide.

The (Dearborn) Press and Guide, "Race to top creates new issues for districts," Feb. 16, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Teacher Quality Primer: Using Value-Added Assessment to Define Teacher Quality," June 30, 2008