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Knox Superintendent testifies in favor of evaluations

6:44 PM, Nov 2, 2011   |    comments
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Knox County's Superintendent and Tennessee's Teacher of the Year have a message for the state's lawmakers.

"This morning I come before you as an educator to assure you that the Tennessee General Assembly did the right thing with regard to teacher evaluation," said Dr. Jim McIntyre.

He and Byron Booker testified before the House Education Committee Wednesday morning to endorse the new "Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model" or TEAM evaluations.

It calls for teachers to be observed multiple times each year.

Booker is a teacher and evaluator at Central High School.

"TEAM is directly responsible for improved planning, instruction, and daily assessment at my high school. Within the first month of implementation," said Booker, who was recently named Tennessee's Teacher of the Year.

Teachers receive scores ranging from one to five. A three means a teacher is "meeting expectations." But just what that means has some lawmakers concerned.

"I think there's been a lot of controversy over what a three is, what a four is, what a five is," said Rep. Jim Coley (R., Bartlett), who is also a teacher.

Others cited complaints from teachers in their districts about the time the new system takes.

"I have one principal who said it takes her 60 percent of her day to do these evaluations," said Rep. Joe Pitts (D., Clarksville)

While McIntyre and Booker each support the evaluations, they agree there is room for improvement. Specifically, reducing the number of evaluations for veteran teachers from four per year down to two. The idea was introduced by Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman Tuesday.

"I think that would be beneficial, it would be helpful. It doesn't diminish our ability to make sure that we're observing in classroom instruction and collecting evidence and working within this great observation tool," McIntyre said. "But it does allow our principals and lead teachers, our evaluators, more time to get it right in those observations they do do."

McIntyre will hold a town hall with teachers to discuss the TEAM evaluations Tuesday November 15 at Bearden High School from 5-7PM.

The text of McIntyre's and Booker's full testimony can be viewed here.

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