Lawmaker seeks to replace controversial teacher evaluation system

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Legislators will be back at the Roundhouse in two weeks. One of the proposals they will be looking at would do away with the controversial teacher evaluation system and come up with a new one.

Students get report cards, teachers get evaluations. But the current system to rate how effectively they’re teaching has sparked debate since its start in the 2013 school year.

“The current evaluation system is demoralizing, it’s inaccurate. Teachers cry because they feel it’s unfair,” said Ellen Bernstein, President of Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

The evaluation takes into account teacher attendance, preparedness and, in most cases, half of it is based on students’ standardized test scores.

Opponents argue weighing scores so heavily doesn’t accurately reflect how well a teacher is doing. So, Sen. Howie Morales is sponsoring a bill to create a council including teachers, principals, and administrators to develop a new system.

“To try and make sure that we can have a more balanced approach to evaluating teachers,” said Sen. Morales.

His bill actually passed the Senate and the House in 2013, but Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed it.

On Thursday, the Governor’s Office told KRQE News 13 the state evaluates teachers based on performance, just like every other profession, and doing so means recognizing the best teachers and getting help for those who are struggling.

The state’s Public Education Department agrees there’s no need to start over.

“Let’s make modifications. Let’s continue to listen to educators as we have since the beginning, but let’s continue to build momentum on the systems that have been built,” said Christopher Ruszkowski, PED Deputy Secretary.

The Albuquerque Teachers Union is suing PED. Until the case is resolved, a temporary injunction protects teachers from being penalized based on evaluations.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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