Michigan needs to establish a common teacher evaluation system

By cori

My brother recently had a heart attack and then my brother in-law had the same issue a couple of months later. One lives in Arizona and the other Minnesota, but to listen to them talk about their experience it was if the same doctor was treating them – EKGs, echocardiograms and stress tests were all common procedures they experienced. Yet, in education, we continue to believe different educator evaluation procedures for every local district will yield the same successful results for the people we love the most – our children.

As a parent, I fervently hoped my children would get "good" teachers as they moved through the school experience. I was never sure, unless I heard by word of mouth from another parent, if a teacher was "good." I never really knew what "good" meant. No data were made available to me about a particular teacher, nor did any school leader talk to me about what processes would be used to ensure success for my child.

As a high school teacher, my experience was similar. Many teachers were "good" or "not good" based on how well they managed the classroom, whether they turned their paper work in on time and whether or not they complained too much.

When I became a principal, what I needed was a much more tangible and coherent way to evaluate how my teachers were performing in order to support success across classrooms, and to hold them accountable for using the standard practices we know move student achievement forward. As an education profession, we have come a long way and are better equipped to use best practices in the classroom and explain to community members the what, how and why of what we do to ensure student success. But, in Michigan, the implementation of these best practices has been uneven among districts and individual schools.

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