APS Superintendent Wants Teacher Evaluation Revisited
Change in system needed, but it requires fairness as well as accountability.
July 17, 2012
Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks has told the state Public Education Department that its proposed teacher evaluation rule doesn’t fit the need for fairness and clarity along with accountability. He has written directly to the PED’s Office of General Counsel to express his concerns.
“I believe we need a new teacher evaluation system for a number of reasons, and teachers I’ve spoken to welcome a fair rating of their work,” APS Superintendent Winston Brooks said. “However, all of us expect to be held accountable in a fair, meaningful and transparent system. The system proposed by the PED doesn’t, in my opinion, cover all the bases.”
In his letter to PED, Brooks expressed his gratitude that APS has been able to give input on the proposed system. He agreed—as he did during the 2012 Legislative session—that the current pass/fail evaluation of teachers and administrators is outdated and a system of five rating categories should be implemented.
He also said, however, that he would like to see a new system implemented “thoughtfully.” He noted that as part of a grant, Rio Grande High and Ernie Pyle Middle School piloted voluntary teacher evaluation systems during the past year—the only schools in the state to do so. Brooks would like PED to take a look at the results before putting its own system in place.
“Our teachers are ready to be held accountable to parents and the community,” Brooks said, “but they have great concerns about an evaluation model that puts so much weight on a test score and intangible factors they cannot control.”
Other concerns include PED’s provision on observers who will evaluate teachers. Brooks said the burden shouldn’t be placed entirely on principals because they have so many other duties to perform, but that additional external observers must be licensed administrators. The state’s proposal allows anyone who completes a training session to sign an evaluation that becomes part of a teacher’s file. This becomes a problem if, for example, a math teacher is evaluated by someone who has no experience teaching math.
He also said that any new system must mesh with the current state statute requiring evaluations to align with the three-tier teacher licensure system so that districts are complying with PED requirements and state law. In addition, student achievement data used to evaluate teachers must be uniform for districts across the state and evaluation results must be easily explainable by districts, principals and teachers.