Wednesday, February 21, 2018

AV #176 - Priority for our next governor - teaching: revisit, revise SB 191

Teaching - what if a key “reform,” SB 191, undermines trust?

A key word missing from the state report on the teacher shortage

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Ernest Hemingway

When we take our eyes off the Olympics in South Korea and look north, one word repeatedly comes to mind. Trust – or a lack of.  Bad faith. Suspicion. “Should we trust North Korea?”[i]  “North Korea: In Deterrence We Trust.”[ii]  Pope Francis: We must rebuild trust in North Korea, Syria.”[iii]  We fear Kim Jong-un, but have doubts about our President too: “Americans Don’t Trust Trump On North Korea.”[iv]

But why go so far away, and imagine what if? a nuclear war? – to emphasize how central trust is.  It is part of our lives, every day.  In friendships, family, marriage.  And, of course, in the workplace.

For teachers, in the school.  

What if a lack of trust, for teachers, is at the heart of our struggles to recruit and retain great people to be in our classrooms?

Will gubernatorial candidates speak to how SB 191 undermines trust in the teaching profession?

The campaign has begun, so prepare for the familiar promises: “We aim to put a quality teacher in every classroom."  As for specifics?  Candidates who do their homework, aware of the recent attention to the teacher shortage in pockets of Colorado and in several content areas, will study the recent report, Colorado' s Teacher Shortages: Attracting and Retaining Excellent Educators[v], produced by the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE).  It includes “options for legislative consideration.”

Such reports wish to be practical—I see 4 strategic goals, 12 objectives, and 33 strategies in this one—so I almost understand why it fails to explore the intangibles that may be a more basic reason the teaching profession is in peril.  Like trust and respect.  Neither word appears in its 16-page report, so I feel compelled to focus on them, and in doing to so, to ask our next governor and policymakers to give Senate Bill 191—known as the “Educator Effectiveness law,” a major review.  If its heavy emphasis on evaluation is based on a lack of trust, and if this is one cause for our teacher shortage, let’s revisit it. 

Why t-r-u-s-t?  Two reasons:
1.       Among the frequent buzzwords in education policy are “transparency” and “accountability,” and both include elements of trust and faith.  But “trust” is the word we use in personal relationships, and what goes on between a teacher and his or her administrator is personal.  State policy is unlikely to acknowledge how complex and fraught with emotion this relationship can be.  You never taught my subject, or my age level, and now you walk in here to judge me?
2.       “Avoid fancy words – Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able.”    
      From The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White

Three cheers for accountability, but not this way

CDHE’s report edges close to issues of trust on several occasions:
·         OPTIONS FOR LEGISLATIVE CONSIDERATION • Promote the value of the teaching profession and encourage all others to do so
·         Strategic Goal #1, OBJECTIVE 3: Improve Teacher Working Conditions
·         Strategic Goal #4, OBJECTIVE 1: Increase Positive Perceptions and Messaging Around Teaching as a Career

What if SB 191—not in its intention, but in its implementation—has devalued the teaching profession (why hire me if you don’t trust me?) and worsened teaching conditions (why so much time required to try to prove to my administrator I am doing my job?).  What if it has made it harder for teachers to sell the next generation on the rewards of this career?  Increase positive perceptions”—but how, when the excessive evaluation in SB 191 seems to reflect a lack of faith in our competence?

AV#68 – A skeptic on SB 191 takes a closer look (Sept. 2010)
AV#74A - Teacher evaluation: Hiring, trust -- and cheering on the best (Jan. 2011)
AV#84 – The new quarterback and new teachers – and an account from a teacher who just resigned (Nov. 2011)
AV#113 -  Uncomfortable Questions: Implementing SB 191 - Year One (May 2014)
AV#145 -Teacher Leadership & Collaboration: DPS develops a better way to evaluate and support teachers (March 2016)
AV#153 - After three years of teaching –
Insights, frustrations, & questions about “the profession” – if it is one (Oct. 2016)
I questioned SB 191 early on and in six newsletters since 2010 (see box).  Yes, I feel justified in my fears and warnings. I won’t repeat myself here (excerpts at the back), but I am glad to present a range of voices—see Addendum A—that make the best case for reassessing SB 191: a study released last month; quotes from Bill and Melinda Gates, major funders of teacher evaluation policies; comments from Coloradans, including Rob Stein, superintendent of Roaring Fork, and Van Schoales, chief executive officer of A Plus Colorado; from others as well.  

Addendum B shows that many states have modified elements of their evaluation laws. 

Addendum C quotes from David Osborne’s Reinventing America’s Schools, a must read for Colorado educators and policymakers.  His focus is the huge change in school governance in Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C.  When he looks at teacher evaluation, his point is entirely consistent with his broader theme: schools, not districts (or the state), should control day-to-day operations.
“… state systems should not be used to hold teachers accountable for performance.  States and districts should hold schools accountable and let the schools figure out how to evaluate their teachers and hold them accountable.”[vi]   

To address our teacher shortage, state leaders can learn from CDHE’s report.  But the first response from policymakers is often: what more can we do?  Another new bill? Before we take the report’s 33 strategies and pass more laws, let’s first ask: are there unintended consequences from the 2010 law that we need to undo?  Its message to teachers—many feel—is this: you’re on thin ice, we’re watching you, you better put together those videos and portfolios to PROVE you deserve to be here—because, heck, why should we trust you?  So now let’s go through our 18-page rubric[vii] to see if you measure up.   

It is time to revisit and repair SB 191. 


Did new evaluations and weaker tenure make fewer people want to become teachers?
A new study says yes[viii]
Chalkbeat, by Matt Barnum, Jan. 30, 2018  (Bold mine throughout)

When the Obama administration and states across the country embraced tougher evaluation and tenure rules for teachers, critics offered a familiar refrain: weakening teachers’ job security could make the profession less attractive and ultimately backfire.
Now a new study is among the first to suggest that this concern has become a reality, showing that after states put in place new evaluation and tenure rules, the number of new teaching licenses issued dropped substantially — a finding that researchers said suggests fewer people were interested in the job.
“We find consistent evidence that both implementing high-stakes evaluation reforms and repealing tenure reduced teacher labor supply,” concludes the paper, which controlled for a number of factors that might have affected the pool of teachers….
Matt Kraft, a Brown University professor and one of the study’s authors, said he thought changes to prevailing teacher evaluation systems were necessary, but warned they may have caused as much harm as good.  “In our effort to move towards a better direction, were the costs larger than the benefits? That’s quite possible,” he said…

No matter how they sliced the data, they said, the results held: after states adopted reforms, the number of new teaching licenses — that is, people eligible to teach in public schools — dropped substantially.

The magnitude was fairly substantial: a decline of about 15 percent for both evaluation and tenure reforms.

Although the study is in line with popular wisdom, it actually marks a shift from previous research ..., which has found little evidence that school accountability reforms like No Child Left Behind made teachers as a whole more dissatisfied or likely to quit.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – on efforts around teacher evaluation[ix]

   When Vicki Phillips stepped down late in 2015 as the head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she said she was proud of the way “we have worked to put teachers in the center of everything.”  
   However, “Phillips said the foundation does have a bit of a mea culpa when it comes to teacher evaluation. (Bill Gates himself took to the newspaper pages to make a similar point back in 2013.) 
   "In the best of all worlds, everyone would have loved it if [the Measures of Effective Teaching study] had come out in time to inform all the changes and policies around teacher evaluation, so people didn't jump too quickly and overemphasize one component over another....  And as that happened and other things happened, people would think the Gates Foundation is only about evaluation of teachers, when we were, all along, about meaningful improvement and actionable feedback.”                                                                                             

Bill & Melinda Gates, annual letter – The 10 Toughest Questions We Get (Feb. 13, 2018)[x]
    “We have also worked with districts across the country to help them improve the quality of teaching. This effort helped educators understand how to observe teachers, rate their performance fairly, and give them feedback they can act on. But we haven’t seen the large impact we had hoped for. For any new approach to take off, you need three things. First you have to run a pilot project showing that the approach works. Then the work has to sustain itself. Finally, the approach has to spread to other places.
    “How did our teacher effectiveness work do on these three tests? Its effect on students’ learning was mixed, in part because the pilot feedback systems were implemented differently in each place. The new systems were maintained in some places, such as Memphis, but not in others. And although most educators agree that teachers deserve more-useful feedback, not enough districts are making the necessary investments and systemic changes to deliver it.”

U.S. Secretary of Education John King
Rethink Teacher-Evaluation Systems if They're Not Working, John King Says[xi]    -  
Education Week, by Alyson Klein, Jan. 21, 2016 

     “The Every Student Succeeds Act presents states, districts, and educators with a chance for a ‘fresh start’ and ‘much needed do-over’ on the very testy issue of teacher evaluation through student outcomes, acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King said at a town hall meeting for teachers ….
     “King said: ‘A discussion that began with shared interests and shared values—the importance of learning and growth for all our children—ended up with a lot of teachers feeling attacked and blamed. Teachers were not always adequately engaged by policymakers in the development of new systems. And when they disagreed with evaluation systems, it appeared to pit them against those who they cherished most—their students. That was no one's desire.’ He said states should be prepared to rethink their evaluation systems if they're not really helping teachers get better.”    
Heard at the town hall meeting in Limon,
 one of 13 sessions hosted by CDHE and CDE to gather community input (Aug. 18, 2017)

   “At some point somebody at CDE needs to say it’s a dumb law and we’ll implement it to the minimal degree.”
   One individual spoke of his wife now teaching a class of 34 students. “The actual day-to-day job is what kids see; [we say] we need to improve the working conditions, but ….”  “[We must] allow more local control of the teacher evaluation…”  He spoke derisively of the state’s model rubric, with “over 300 items to be checked off….”  

Six years in, Colorado teacher evaluation program has changed the performance conversation[xii]
Colorado Public Radio, by Allison Sherry, May 30, 2017

   “Rob Stein, the superintendent of the Roaring Fork School District, said the entire process is time consuming and unhelpful in improving education at his schools. Stein originally favored the idea years ago and even helped pass it at the legislature.
   “‘They went after this very complicated system,’ he said. ‘And it’s turned it into this sick game where you end up having a conversation about how you get the points instead of let me just give you, like a coach on a field, let me give you a few pointers to help you improve and try that out.’”

(from) How We Got Colorado's Teacher-Evaluation Reform Wrong[xiii]
Colorado's missteps on teacher evaluation is a cautionary tale for other states
Education Week, Commentary, April 5, 2017
by Van Schoales, chief executive office of A Plus Colorado  

   “Implementation did not live up to the promises.
   “Colorado Department of Education data released in February show that the distribution of teacher effectiveness in the state looks much as it did before passage of the bill. Eighty-eight percent of Colorado teachers were rated effective or highly effective, 4 percent were partially effective, 7.8 percent of teachers were not rated, and less than 1 percent were deemed ineffective. In other words, we leveraged everything we could and not only didn’t advance teacher effectiveness, we created a massive bureaucracy and alienated many in the field.

  “We wanted a new system to help professionalize teaching and address the real disparities in teacher quality. Instead, we got an 18-page state rubric and 345-page user guide for teacher evaluation….
   “The new teacher-evaluation laws in Colorado and now 40 other states seem a classic example of putting policy ahead of practice. Great in theory, but unrealistic when it comes to implementation. The laws were constructed around a particular set of assumptions about school district capacity and commitment. We underestimated the propensity of districts to morph ‘innovations’ into existing practice and treat the new evaluation laws as just one more compliance requirement. We also failed to understand the political and district costs of tying such laws to federal incentives, particularly given a strong ethos of local control in many school districts, like most of those in Colorado.

   “As a longtime educator and education advocate, I got caught up in the hubris. I helped construct and strongly supported the teacher-evaluation law but didn’t anticipate how the state education department and school districts would turn the law into practice….
   “I believe the intention was right, but it was wrong to force everyone in a state to have one ‘best’ evaluation system.”

(from) Policies, Not Administrators, to Blame for Teacher-Evaluation System[xiv]
Education Week, Letter to the Editor, June 1, 2016
by Al Ramirez, Professor, College of Education, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

    “The problem is not with school administrators. The problem is with the system—specifically, the policies that create and drive the teacher-evaluation system.
    “My graduate students and I have conducted surveys, interviews, and focus groups with school administrators in my research into teacher-evaluation systems, and the message is very clear. Because of the limited time, resources, and school-based policies, there are often few resources left to address mediocre teaching, much less ineffective teaching.
    “Thanks to ‘Race to the Bottom,’ my state of Colorado has made several teacher-evaluation policy changes that have made matters worse, such as a more-than-20-page model evaluation form for administrators to use and the decision to factor student test scores into final teacher ratings.
    “Our research clearly shows that the uppermost problem school principals have with the teacher-development process is available time. From my perspective as a former school administrator and current education leadership professor, school administrators clearly know how to ‘differentiate great teaching from that which is merely good, or perhaps even mediocre.’ The problem is that the policies that create the system are misguided.”

Education mandate puts arbitrary pressure on teachers
The Denver Post, by Meredith C. Carroll, Sept. 23, 2013

    “Throw in the fact that SB 191 adds yet another pair of eyes on teachers in the form of an evaluator — in addition to a classroom full of pint-size or adolescent supervisors, plus those kids’ parents, a principal, superintendent, board of education and a parent-teacher association — and there’s just enough cooks in the kitchen to all but ensure an overcrowded, disjointed and distasteful meal.
    “With more bosses than ever and more ways to fail than succeed, it’s no wonder why the 2013 TELL Colorado survey found a 12.5 percent decrease in teachers who believe that ‘the teacher evaluation process improves teachers’ instructional strategies.’”

Teacher 'Demoralized' by Evaluation Framework[xv]
Education Week, by Colleen Rogers of St. John, Ind., Letter to the Editor, Jan. 10, 2017

   “This November, I quit my teaching job to protest being subjected to cycles of evaluation under a rubric and evaluation framework inspired by Charlotte Danielson ("It's Time to Rethink Teacher Evaluation," April 20, 2016). …
   “The district assessed teaching staff using Danielson's framework, and I was shocked at what a demoralizing experience it was. I couldn't bear to participate in and witness the beating-down that every teacher in the building was subjected to: the Pinterest-inspired scrapbooks we made for each "Danielson domain," the hours of pre- and post-conferencing, the observations, and our elusive attempts to decipher how our ratings even remotely coincided with what had been observed in our classrooms….
    “I could not believe the system under which nontenured teachers were being reviewed, and I feel that this system—and others like it—are the exact reason so many of our talented young teachers quit.”

Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems: Executive Summary[xvi]
A Perspective from Exemplary Teachers
Published by Education Testing Services, July 2017

    “As states reconsider their current evaluation systems, stakeholders are offering their views about what revisions should be made to existing measures and processes. This paper offers a unique perspective to these conversations by capturing and synthesizing the views of some of America’s exemplary teachers: State Teachers of the Year (STOYs) and STOY finalists from every part of the country (hereafter referred to as STOYs).”

[The recommendations in this paper are worth a look, but here I include what these exceptional teachers had to say in a survey.  The results are not harshly critical of the evaluation systems in their state; at the same time, neither do they offer a ringing endorsement of them. PH]

“State Teachers of the Year Responses to Survey and Focus Group Questions"

    “Responses were collected through a survey of STOYs and focus group discussions with a subset of survey respondents. A total of 266 valid survey responses were collected, and 29 respondents participated in the focus groups (sample details are available in the full report). From the survey we found that:
Forty-two percent (42%) of respondents perceived their evaluation system as focused primarily on ‘getting a score or rating’ rather than on professional growth.
• Respondents were least confident (less than 20%) in the fairness of the use of standardized test scores and school-wide averages based on those scores as a component of their evaluation.
• Classroom observations were judged to be fair by 63% of survey respondents.
• Student learning objectives or other local assessment data was perceived as fair by 43% of respondents.
Only 29% of respondents with recent classroom experience indicated that they received timely and relevant feedback that helps them meet the needs of students.
• Fewer than half of respondents (49%) indicated that their observers were well-trained in conducting classroom observations.
• Forty-four percent (44%) of respondents believed evaluators could meaningfully assess their teaching practice.
• Forty-six percent (46%) of respondents thought evaluators could provide useful feedback on their teaching practice.”

Addendum B - Other states back off on their teacher evaluation laws

Test-score growth plays lesser role in six states
Education Week, by Liana Loewus, Nov. 14, 2017

Bolstered by new research and federal incentives, experts decided about a decade ago that better teacher evaluation was the path to better student achievement. A flood of states started toughening their teacher-evaluation systems, and many of them did it by incorporating student-test scores into educators' ratings.

And while those policies are still in place in a majority of states, there are signs the tide is turning: Over the past two years, a handful of states have begun reversing mandates on using student-growth measures—and standardized-test scores, in particular—to gauge teacher quality.

“New Jersey teachers will be evaluated by their supervisors in three 20-minute sessions a year under new rules approved Wednesday that significantly reduce the amount of time principals must spend observing classrooms.” (, Jan. 4, 2017)
Six states—Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oklahoma—have now dropped requirements that evaluations include student-growth measures and begun letting districts decide what elements to include in assessing teachers, according to analyses from the Education Commission of the States and the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Connecticut, Nevada, and Utah passed policies that require some evidence of student learning but prohibit using state standardized-test scores for that purpose. Florida kept student-growth measures but now lets districts choose how they're calculated.

Those are all "signals [states] are backing away from the inclusion of student-growth or value-added measures," said Stephanie Aragon, a policy analyst for ECS.


ESSA Offers Reprieve

But with the 2015 passage of ESSA, states almost immediately got a reprieve.

The bipartisan law put teacher evaluation back in states' hands—in essence renouncing the Obama administration's push for strict test-based accountability.

While six states dropped requirements around using student-growth in evaluations, they did so in different ways.

Some, like Arkansas and Kentucky, did so through state legislation. In fact, the National Conference of State Legislators has tracked bills in 10 states that proposed such changes.

"We are just now starting to see the effects of ESSA on state legislation, and we don't anticipate seeing the majority of it till next legislative session," said Exstrom of NCSL.

A few other states, including Alaska, Connecticut, and North Carolina, passed policies backing away from student-growth requirements in teacher evaluations through their state boards of education.
Just as beforenearly all teachers continued to get positive ratings, even in states that overhauled their evaluation systems, a recent study showed. (New Mexico, where nearly 1 in 4 teachers were rated "ineffective," is an outlier.) That's largely because principal observations still make up the bulk of the evaluations nationwide—and principals almost never give bad reviews.
"There was some thought that if you [toughen evaluation systems], a whole bunch of teachers out there will be able to demonstrate they aren't able to do their job," said Exstrom. "I think that just hasn't come to light. ... It hasn't caused the big traumatic effects some thought would happen." In fact, many states are more concerned with teacher shortages than they are with evaluation policies, she said.

"Probably the more Democratic victories you see in state legislatures and governorships, the more likely you are to see teacher-evaluation reforms rolled back to one extent or another," said McGuinn. "What the electoral results are in states and at the national level in 2018—certainly, it matters."

Addendum C

(from) Reinventing America’s Schools - Creating a 21st Century Education System

by David Osborne

   “Many assume that we should hold individual teachers accountable for student learning, but in reality it is far more effective to hold schools accountable.  Since President Obama’s Race to the Top competition made teacher evaluation systems based in part on academic growth a central requirement of winning, most states have mandated them. Making teachers accountable for the success of their student sis laudable goal, but it hasn’t worked very well. In state after state, less than 1 percent of teachers continue to be rated ‘unsatisfactory.’…
   “Top down mandates simply aren’t very effective. Often school personnel jump through hoops to comply with rules without truly embracing their purpose. …
   “Neerav Kingsland, the former head of New Schools for New Orleans, points out that roughly 4 percent of charter schools close each year and 7 percent are closed during formal evaluations, whereas only 2 percent of teachers are terminated every year and less than 1 percent are rated in the lowest category. Why? Human nature.
Charter schools are valued by outside entities that are separated by governance structures. Teachers are evaluated by their bosses, who work with them every day. As a manager, I get it. It’s very difficult to give extremely low ratings to employees, especially those you don’t plan on firing. It’s still hard, but less difficult, to review the performance of an entire organization that exists at arm’s length from you.
This is one reason among many that legislative mandated accountability is best implemented at the organizational level rather than at the employee level. Quite simply, it is more congruent with human nature.
  “Data, logic, and experience all suggest that states and districts should hold schools accountable for performance and let them figure out how to hold their teachers accountable.”
[Osborne then gives several reasons -see page 233, including this one:]
   “… teacher quality is important, but mandating penalties and rewards for individual teachers risks undermining their morale.  Indeed, it appears that evaluation mandates did just that: according to a MetLife survey of teachers, between 2008 and 2012 the percentage of teachers ‘very satisfied’ with their jobs fell from 62 to 39, the lowest level in a quarter of a century.”   (pages 232-33)


Excerpts from Another View – Concerns about SB 191, beginning in 2010

From AV #68 (2010)
A principal’s evaluation of me gets personal.  It involves relationships and trust. And my job. Please don’t tell me the bill is about how important a good teacher is, if it doesn’t treat me as important. Moreover, who among us wants legislation that enters the day-to-day life of our organization? Isn’t how we support and evaluate our employees better left to each workplace—in our case, to each school?   

“If teachers are given more autonomy and held ultimately accountable for the work of their student—in itself a gratifying compliment—they will perform to the best of their imaginative ability.  Equally important, the career of teacher will become more attractive than it is now.  Talented people seek jobs that entrust them with important things.”
Ted Sizer, Horace’s Compromise

A new teacher especially needs support, needs to believe that the administration and colleagues are there to help him or her be successful.  The issue is as basic as this: Do you trust me? When you hired me didn’t you think I could be good at this?  Or are these first two years all about critiquing my flaws and making me question if I’m in the right career?


From AV #74A (Jan. 2011)
“I think hiring is the most important thing I do."
Chris Gibbons, principal West Denver Prep charter school

If Colorado fails to implement SB 191 wisely, I believe it will be one more roadblock to attracting bright, committed folks to teach in public schools. 

The new attention given to teacher evaluation may put the cart before the horse.  Improving who enters the profession will pay far more dividends down the road than how we evaluate that six or fifteen-year veteran.  If we want people with the intellect, skills, and values that will make a powerful difference for students for many years to come, we need to expand—not tighten—the alternative licensure path, and we need schools of education to undergo huge changes—or go out of business
(I wrote of the “extensive application process” when I was hired at a good private school in New York.)
Once hired, there was a level of trust and respect that told me: you’re one of us. Yes, I was observed and evaluated.  It was not a job forever—I wasn’t vetted for a life-time job on the Supreme Court!  But I never felt that the real “judgment stage” had now begun.

Once SB 191 is in place, will teachers entering our public schools be given this vote of confidence?  Or will it seem that the evaluation process is based on mistrustwe really aren’t sure about you, we can’t assume we have hired well, so we now need to supervise and micromanage in a way that –well, sorry if you find this demeaning, but this is what the law demands! 
Let’s not create a system that assumes we hire with considerable indifference and then get serious about measuring if we have good folks in our classrooms.  We will not attract good new teachers to public education if our first message is: we do not trust you!
Let’s make sure we don’t turn better teacher evaluation into unneeded exercises of micromanagement based on mistrust.  For if we do, we might drive a number of today’s best young teachers away—and off to teach in private schools.


From AV #84 (Nov. 2011)
As we begin to roll out SB 191, the Educator Effectiveness Act—with its dubious faith in the power of teacher evaluations by folks who are often anything but “instructional leaders,” and see how Denver’s LEAP (Leading Effective Academic Progress) is piloted in over 120 DPS schools this year, I return to my warning of last year.  Hearing two “evaluation” stories this fall—both deeply troubling—makes me believe the point bears repeating, now with greater urgency.  A warning, then—perhaps not about SB-191—but about unfair and even harsh ways some school leaders may well “implement” the new law, unless we take great care. 


From AV #113 (May 2014)
I asked 22 questions related to SB 191, including these:
·      What impact is the new focus on increased teacher evaluation having on the status of teaching?
·      Retention - why teachers stay or leave:  Is the new focus on increased evaluation causing some teachers to leave the profession? Any evidence to date? If so, why?
·      Has SB 191 become a factor in teachers not taking jobs in low-performing schools and/ or with “low-achieving” students?
·      Does the greater time spent on teacher evaluation make teachers feel more—or less–trusted? Does it make them feel more–or less–professional?
·      Do teachers say it feels intrusive, a sign of less trust in them as professionals? 
After this first “practice” year with SB 191, are Colorado principals and other evaluators saying that the new approach has indeed “raised the bar” for teachers to receive higher ratings? 

When will Colorado districts make the information available as to what percentage are scoring at each of the ratings—highly effective, effective, partially effective, and ineffective?  When we see these results, will it really look like progress from where we were in 2009? 

[Feb 2018 UPDATE: See figures in Van Schoales’ Commentary for Education Week -Addendum A. “Less than 1 percent were deemed ineffective”]


From AV #153 (Oct. 2016) - Interview with a Colorado teacher who left teaching after three years. [UPDATE: I am happy to report she is now teaching again, in Ohio, in a high-performing charter 


That does nothing. I did not grow professionally by it. I thought that (teacher evaluation process) was the worst joke.  I don’t understand how this was supposed to help me.
My evaluation went like this: I’m sitting at a desk – my principal has her back to me as she types answers on the evaluation check sheet—she’s asking what I do and she takes 30-40 minutes to fill it out.  That’s it! It’s just paperwork.  (The principal, she said, acknowledged how little value this had for her as well.)
My rating was fine. And yes, the principal observed my classes, but it’s not like I grew at all from it.  She didn’t evaluate me; she rated me.  She does not have the time to really evaluate and help us improve. (The principal was often out of the building at meetings called by the district, she told me.)  
I needed someone so badly to come in, to be in my class …
The evaluation system was so complicated. I didn’t even complete some of what they asked (“Show what you are doing to ….”). I would rather spend 10 minutes looking at the data on my kids….
PH – I explained some of the story behind SB 191 (The Educator Effectiveness Bill) to her.
It’s not constructive.   It was so frustrating (that) this is what (my year of teaching) boils down to – a 30-minute session with the principal (with her back to me) filling out a form!



[vi] Reinventing America’s Schools- Creating a 21st Century Education System, by David Osborne, Bloomsbury, New York, 2017, p. 250.