New Oklahoma teacher evaluation system to begin test year

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: July 5, 2012
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Teachers will soon be getting their own grades, but some school administrators worry they don't have enough time or money to learn how to dole out those grades.

The 2012-13 school year is the test year for the new Teacher and Leader Effectiveness evaluation system, which grades teachers on everything from student progress to classroom management.

But as the first day of school closes in, administrators are frustrated that they don't have enough time or money to train their staff correctly.

“This is not a case of being opposed to this particular reform,” said Lisa Muller, assistant superintendent of curriculum for Jenks Public Schools. “It's a case of not having the time to implement it thoughtfully and well.”

Law changes evaluation system

A recent state law set out guidelines for a new evaluation system for teachers. Last summer, a Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Commission began working out the details for the system, eventually recommending an evaluation system to the state Board of Education.

In December, however, the board decided to allow school districts to choose from a list of approved systems they preferred for the 2012-13 school year, which would be considered a pilot year for the state.

Next year — the 2013-14 academic year — will be the first full year of implementation as required by law.

Most school districts selected a system known as the Tulsa model. The second most popular choice was the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model.

Now, teachers are typically given raises based on their education and years of employment.

Under the new models, teachers will be evaluated on student growth, classroom management and other factors. Other changes will include the manner in which teachers earn tenure and the practice of forcing districts to fire teachers who are rated as “ineffective” for two consecutive years.

High bids caused trouble

Districts had to choose a training model by April, but they couldn't find their own trainers because of state contract rules, said Alicia Currin-Moore, executive director of teacher and leader effectiveness for the state Education Department.

So everything was on hold until the bids came back.

When the bids came back too high — $4.3 million to fit into a $1.5 million slot — state officials negotiated for better deals, she said.

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