We Have Effective Staff, No Surprise

CDE sent a news release a few days ago about teacher effectiveness ratings.  We’ve all heard the false rhetoric about unions and districts harboring terrible and unqualified teachers year after year and yet the data shows us exactly what we see in the headline of the press release –

“Educator performance reports show majority of Colorado educators are effective or higher”


Text from the press release included below:

“A total of 88 percent of Colorado teachers received an overall rating of “effective” or “highly effective” according to the metrics released today, while 83 percent of Colorado principals also had similarly high ratings. About 4 percent of teachers received ratings of “partially effective” or less and nearly 8 percent of teachers in Colorado did not receive a rating.”

* Educators were not rated either because the educator was new or a rating was not submitted.

Most in the industry will tell you that individuals who shouldn’t be teaching are regularly counseled out of the profession by both teacher associations and districts as well as peers. We’re spending a lot of time and money on SB191 being implemented in districts to grade staff while the problem is less than 4% and is being addressed constantly.

Sure, if your child is in a class with someone who is in the 4% category, it’s going to be a big deal that you see firsthand and you’ll probably be in touch with your principal. However, chances are, your principal already knows about the problem and is active in addressing it.

Perhaps there is still a better way to positively impact our classrooms than SB191 as an unfunded mandate, as noted by many who testified for more appropriate changes to this legislation originally introduced by Senator Michael Johnston who is now running for Governor. The only district who had staff in support of the legislation last session was Denver, where administrators of 500 count enrollment noted having enough funding to have two assistant principals. That kind of funding support doesn’t exist in other districts.

In fact, everyone else in the room just wanted a step back of evaluating teachers using student test scores to form 50% of an evaluation.

If 96% of students in a classroom were performing well and showing growth repeatedly, would you continue to review the same materials with them or would you spend your time and resources helping the 4% who were not performing well?

Spreadsheets and checklists are great things but maybe there’s a better way.