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Teacher evaluation may need a referee to settle final outcomes

Teachers need a smooth ride to receive appropriate evaluation
Teachers need a smooth ride to receive appropriate evaluation
Photo by Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

Well after the coin flip to the start of an NFL game, the referee has a certified group of officials that control the action on the field, and there is even a replay official to make sure any disputes end up with the correct result. But, in the field of education and teacher evaluation, it seems there are many different ways to come to a final conclusion. There is a price to pay to hire individuals in the evaluation process for the advancement of teacher quality.

The Pittsburgh City Schools are in a dilemma over teacher ratings and the grading scale to determine what category of proficiency the teacher has received for their yearly score. Part of the problem is a funding crisis that has hit Pennsylvania schools, especially in the public school sector. In the past, the Gates Foundation has distributed funds, but there is a problem about accountability, and that will now depend on the teachers if the grant will be available in the coming years.

Similar to gridiron action, there has been a conflict between the Gates Foundation, unions and the Empowering Effective Teachers initiative. As the funds dwindle through the years and the district's share of the cost for the teacher evaluation process, the need for a referee will be required to find a answer that is based on equity and fairness.

There is concern over the point total that teachers are evaluated, which includes observation, student survey and test scores. Who is going to make that decision? What qualities are deemed successful? An even better question is how they compare with other schools within the state and on a national level. The bottom line is development and improvement of the teachers.

Teacher evaluation in Pennsylvania uses a model with a rubric that grades the teachers 85% for in-class evaluation and 15 % on newly developed data on performance. Other factors include test scores and graduation rates, but how proficient are those people who will be deciding the final evaluation score. This is when a referee will have to gather the other officials and make a final decision. In whose direction will the decision favor, who will be the benefactors and what will be the evaluation outcome?

In the case for education, who is the referee and officials, and what do they really view? Are they armed with data that will provide the correct evaluation, and there is heaps of money on the line to make it accountable?

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