State seeks volunteers for evaluation review committee

State education leaders are looking for volunteers to review the state’s teacher evaluation process.

Ybarra first week
Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra

The Professional Evaluation Review Committee will be responsible for discussing the best teacher evaluation procedures and systems, identifying the criteria for auditing a sample of evaluations, in connection with the Legislature’s $125 million teacher salary and accountability career ladder, and crafting recommendations to the State Board of Education and the Legislature.

Earlier this month, Idaho Education News analyzed teacher evaluation data from school districts and charter schools. Thirty-two districts and 12 charters gave every teacher identical grades for 2013-14. Additionally, retiring New Plymouth superintendent Ryan Kerby, who serves on the Legislature’s House Education Committee, told Ed News that his district purposely assigned identical overall scores to all 59 teachers because, “Our school district, quite unanimously, did not figure the state needs to know all that individual teacher data.”

Evaluations are important because they were attached to the $125 million career ladder and are one criteria used to determine how teachers move up the ladder — and earn higher pay.

After Ed News’ evaluations story was published, Tim Corder, special assistant to Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, said the investigation highlights many of the concerns Ybarra has about evaluations being used as an accountability tool.

The career ladder law requires an independent review of a sampling of evaluations. The State Department of Education has been assigned to determine how administrators performing those evaluations utilize state standards based on the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching.

Lisa Colón, the State Department of Education’s director of teacher certification and professional standards, will head the committee. Its schedule, including the date of the first meeting, has not been set, a State Department of Education spokesman said Thursday.

The department is encouraging members of the Idaho Education Association, Idaho Association of School Administrators and Idaho School Boards Association to apply for committee spots, along with teachers, parents, business leaders, taxpayers, school administrators and college and university representatives.

The application deadline is July 3. For more information, email Colón or call her at (208) 332-6886.

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