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Senate moves to revise teacher evaluations

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Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, prepares before a Senate floor session last month. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — A proposal to overhaul New Mexico’s teacher evaluation system won approval 37-0 in the state Senate on Thursday and now heads to the House.

The legislation, Senate Bill 247, would set broad parameters for evaluations and allow the state Public Education Department to fill in the details.

Teachers would be evaluated by trained observers, student learning growth and feedback from students.

Supporters said the proposal is intended to be less punitive and focus more on professional development than the current system. Under the proposal, teachers who don’t get better would face increasingly intensive intervention.

“This bill is really focused on helping teachers improve,” said Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart, an Albuquerque Democrat and sponsor of the bill.

The bill had bipartisan support.

“This is going to boost the morale of our teachers,” Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, said. “I think the big thing we need to do is appreciate our teachers, but at the same time hold them accountable.”

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