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DOE says nearly all evaluated teachers rate high

  • Educators ask lawmakers for additional money to lighten workloads linked to reforms

Roughly 98 percent of Hawaii public school teachers were rated as either highly effective or effective in their jobs for the 2013-14 academic year, under the state’s new teacher evaluation system, according to data released Tuesday.

The evaluations, known as the Educator Effectiveness System, were a source of angst among teachers because they eventually will tie student surveys and test scores to a teacher’s rating and eligibility for pay raises.

As part of teachers’ 2013-17 labor contract, the state and teachers union agreed to the high-stakes evaluations, with half of a teacher’s rating based on student growth and learning, and the other half on teacher practice, rated in part by classroom observations and student surveys.

The Department of Education released preliminary evaluation results earlier this summer, but Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe presented a final report Tuesday to the Board of Education’s Human Resources Committee. Nozoe said 1,800 teachers “knocked it out of the park.”

Out of 11,300 teachers who were evaluated under EES, 1,800 teachers (16 percent) were rated as highly effective last year. Another 9,300 (81.7 percent) received an effective rating, while 248 teachers (2.1 percent) were rated as marginal and 25 teachers (0.2 percent) were deemed unsatisfactory.

Starting this school year, only teachers rated as highly effective or effective will be eligible for pay raises and tenure the year after the rating. Teachers rated as marginal will be given an opportunity to improve, while unsatisfactory teachers can be terminated.

“One of the things we hear people complain about is that … student growth is going to overwhelm the rest of the evaluation, and just because these students did poorly on a test we’re going to get rid of this teacher,” Jim Williams, chairman of the BOE Human Resources Committee, said. “This whole thing only resulted in 25 teachers being rated unsatisfactory. Of course we would like none to be, but when you look at the whole universe of 11,300 teachers, that’s a very small number of teachers.”

He added, “The other flip side to that is it speaks very highly of our teachers. Somewhere around 97, 98 percent of our teachers are effective or highly effective, and that’s what we want. I think they need to be applauded and recognized, but I think also it kind of shows that some of the fear that people had about how this would turn out were really unfounded.”

For newly hired teachers, last year’s ratings did have personnel consequences. As a result, two new hires were terminated for unsatisfactory ratings, Nozoe said.

The teachers’ union and DOE have since agreed to 18 changes to the EES to essentially cut in half the workload required to prepare for and perform the annual reviews starting this school year.

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