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Editorial: Teacher evals a reality

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In a sign of the times, an Associated Press story in Friday’s Journal reported that Colorado school administrators have been training this summer on how to evaluate teachers as our northern neighbor prepares to implement standardized evaluations statewide.

Its taken three years of development and pilot testing, but starting this year all 178 Colorado school districts will rate teachers for their effectiveness. Low rankings could lead to loss of tenure and other job actions.

And a full 50 percent of the Colorado rating will be based on student test scores. The rest will hinge on more subjective measures such as performance evaluations and student surveys.

New Mexico’s Public Education Department also has been working on implementing a teacher evaluation system this summer with workshops throughout the state. Improved teacher evaluations were mandated in the state’s waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act granted by the U.S. Department of Education. State education chief Hanna Skandera is implementing by administrative rule an evaluation system in development since 2011 after two failed attempts to get the Legislature to put it into law. It also weights student test scores at 50 percent.

The changes in teacher evaluations in Colorado, New Mexico and elsewhere are another sign of the growing recognition nationwide of the need to measure value in the U.S. education system. It would be better for students and teachers if the teacher unions and the many administrators dedicated to the status quo would try to get on board and offer positive input rather than doing their best to derail the reform effort.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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