Commissioner Huffman To Propose Changes To Teacher Evaluations - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Commissioner Huffman To Propose Changes To Teacher Evaluations

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Changes could be on the way for the controversial teacher evaluation system. Tuesday, State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman told the Senate Education Committee that he will propose legislation that tweaks the evaluation process in an effort to make it fairer. The changes are a result of feedback provided by educators across the state.

"You have to understand, what we have done and what the Commissioner has done is we've changed the paradigm," Sen. Delores Gresham, R-Somerville, said when asked about the recommendations. "We've changed the paradigm. That's always uncomfortable. I'm sorry we cannot be (ranked) 46.  We cannot let our children fail."

Gresham said when making decisions, the committee will focus on the impact their decisions have on students.

Right now 35 percent of a teacher's overall evaluation comes from growth student's show in their test scores. For teachers in un-tested subjects, their school's average is factored-in, which many say is unfair. That's why Huffman will propose lowering that percentage, although he did not provide any more details.

What may seem like a minor change, could eventually impact teacher's salaries as districts move towards paying them based on their performance.

"We are only going to have assessments when we think they are right for the student," Huffman said. "So we're not going to give assessments in order to assess teachers."

Huffman also wants special education students test scores to be factored in when measuring growth. He has yet to present the legislation to lawmakers.

K12 Incorporated, the state funded virtual school, also gave the Senate Education Committee an update on Tuesday.

In its first year, the school came under fire after students test scores ranked amongst some of the worst in the state.

The results outraged some lawmakers, but representatives from the program faced far less hostility Tuesday.

"So I think it's too early to judge and too early to pull a plug on a program that we know at least anecdotally is succeeding," said Sen. Gresham.

The K12 curriculum allows students from kindergarten through eighth grade to take all of their classes online.

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