Student test scores will play a bigger role in Georgia teacher evals
Hoping to attract and keep top teachers in public schools, Georgia is changing the way educators are hired, paid and rated through a new evaluation system with far greater emphasis on student performance.
The changes are spurred by the $400 million Race to the Top grant, a program introduced by the Obama administration to jump-start school reform nationwide. Georgia won the grant in August; in return it pledged to rethink public school policy, including creating a new evaluation system for all teachers. For subjects where students take standardized tests, 50 percent of the teacher’s performance would be based on their test scores. School leaders will also be judged by test scores when the new model rolls out in 26 districts this fall.
“We strongly believe that the most important thing in a student’s education is the quality of the teacher in the classroom,” said Erin Hames, who will oversee the plan’s implementation as a deputy chief of staff for Gov.-elect Nathan Deal. “The heart of education improvement in Georgia has to be focused on the classroom and classroom teachers.”
It looks like maybe, just maybe, the state will take the bull by the horns and implement policies that will force school districts to put their money in the classroom. Hopefully, these new RTTT rules will encourage DCSS to rebalance where they are spending education dollars—away from administrators and directly in support of students and teachers.