Legislators, Please Fix Evaluations

One HUGE thing we could really do to help our students, schools, teachers, and administrators is to finally address teacher evaluations by fixing the ridiculous SB191 that is still in place.

Hopefully, you’ve read our previous articles – http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/coaching-and-mentoring-vs-checklists/

and

SJK Testimony for SB19-247

The only people who seem to support this atrocity seem to be closely associated with DFER and, surprise, everyone giving testimony even this year has no children and do not work in schools to see the detriment this law has caused.

Below is another testimony that was given by a teacher. Make sure to talk to your legislators this summer and tell them that you are demanding a fix when they go back to the Capitol in January.

Thank you Madam Chair.  My name is Angela Anderson, and I am a social studies teacher at Bear Creek High School and one of the 38,000 members of the Colorado Education  Association speaking on behalf of myself in support Senate Bill 19-247.

Over the last several weeks as I planned this testimony, I thought I would talk to you about the problems created by evaluating every educator every year.   Like the year that an observation was documented that never actually happened because my evaluator had too much on his plate.  

However the last two days changed that.  Instead, I want to focus on the role of standardized testing in our evaluations.  

Yesterday, schools across the metro area were cancelled due to a threat.  On Tuesday, many schools were on lockout.  Yet CMAS continued.  

Today my own students returned to school to CMAS testing.  Why?  Because as a state we have said that standardized tests are that important.   

Standardized tests are part of educator evaluations and school and district ratings.  We have to carry on with them.  

What should today have looked like?  A day where we prioritized the mental health of our students and told them YOU are more important than a test.  Be clear – I am not criticizing schools or districts.  This is happening across the metro area because it is a systemic problem stemming from the State of Colorado’s obsession with test scores.  

Today is also a clear example of how students, who, due to factors I cannot control as their teacher, will likely not do their best on tests. We know many issues can have a negative impact on student performance:  Did the student have a stable place to sleep last night?  Did they have breakfast this morning?  Are they sick?  Did they have a rough morning?  

But stepping back into school after almost 20 school districts shut down due to a threat to student safety, wondering not if, but when, this will happen again. I imagine that has to have a great impact on their performance.  And their scores will be factored into my evaluation for at least the next year. Does that seem right?  And does it seem right that we tell our students these tests are this important? 

In addition, the most important work I do is not evaluated by a test score.   When I think about my most important accomplishments, I think about the student who took my AP Econ class because I convinced her she could.  She found that she could do college level work and now is in her second year of community college.  

Or the average high school student who was also an officer in a club which I sponsor who credits me with helping develop his leadership skills.  He went on to receive CU Denver’s President’s Diversity and Student Advocate of the Year Awards.  He is now a law student at Boulder.

Neither of these students scored high on assessments.  But they are all doing amazing in life.  I know I was a part of that.  Yet neither of these successes nor countless others are measured by my evaluation.  

Other states are getting the picture.  Most recently, Maine and Wyoming have pulled test scores from educator evaluations.  We should be doing the same.  This bill is a good first step in that process.  

Please support changing the evaluation system so that prioritize students and educators over test scores and punitive evaluations.  

Thank you for your time today.