State Board of Education Approves New Teacher Evaluations

Apr 3, 2014

The state board of education approved a new evaluation system for teachers and principals Thursday. The system will be fully implemented next year. However, most Georgia schools have been piloting the new evaluations already.

The system has been somewhat controversial. Students’ test scores comprise at least half of teachers’ evaluations. Before the board vote, retired professor Cita Cook urged a cautious approach.

Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

“50% for high-stakes testing is too much,” she said. “I just want to encourage you to apply this in a way that can really work. So that in another two years, you’re not faced with a totally new system.”

The system was created through Georgia’s federal Race to the Top grant. State education officials fell behind federal deadlines while developing the program. But board vice chair Mike Royal said the state needed time to craft an effective model.

“This is going to be a work in progress and I’m proud that we withheld it for the time we did because this is what’s right for Georgia teachers and Georgia classrooms,” Royal said. “We told the federal government, ‘No, we’re not ready.’ And that was the right thing to do.”

Every board member present voted for the new system.

Georgia’s previous evaluation system classified teachers as either “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” based on classroom observations. Under the new system educators will receive one of four ratings: Exemplary, Proficient, Needs Development or Ineffective.