The Department of Education has invited states and schools who were awarded a School Improvement Grant (SIG) to take some extra time to figure out the most crucial component: teacher evaluation. All of the schools and states eligible for the waiver are using the most popular, and arguably least rigorous, “transformational model” of school turnaround strategies. This model is the only one of the four turnaround choices that does not require removal of staff from key schools; rather, the emphasis is on extensive professional development for teachers, new school leadership, and longer school days. The key requirement, though, is the development of a new teacher evaluation system that takes student performance into account in personnel decisions.
Since many of the schools who received money in the first round of grants (for the 2010-11 school year) are trying to figure out teacher evaluations for the first time, the going has been slow and few met the goal of implementing them last year. The waivers would allow SIG schools to develop the evaluations this school year (2011-12) and pilot them the following year; the systems should then play a key role in personnel decisions by the 2013-14 school year.
SIG grants are only supposed to last for three years, but under the timetable outlined in the waiver, schools who received grants in the very first year would already be done with their grants by the time the new evaluation system is in place. “That could be problematic for folks trying to figure out if these models do what the department says they do (namely, help fix the very worst schools in the country),” observes Alyson Klein, Politics K-12 blogger.
To read more, visit http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2011/08/ed_offers_sig_schools_extra_ti.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CampaignK-12+%28Education+Week+Blog%3A+Politics+K-12%29