In December, Governor Rick Snyder signed new legislation on teacher evaluations that improves upon a much-maligned 2011 law that was hastily passed in an unsuccessful attempt to qualify for federal Race to the Top funds. The previous law was criticized for including specific evaluation requirements with little guidance for individual school districts on how to achieve them. The hope is that the new evaluation law will guide districts toward implementing evaluation practices that yield meaningful data that will assist in the professional development of teachers. Here are several highlights of the new law, which will take full effect during the 2018-2019 school year after a one-year transition period:
·60% of teacher evaluations will be based on an evaluation tool of the district’s choice
·20% of teacher evaluations will be based on student growth as measured by state assessments
·20% of the teacher evaluations will be based on student growth as measured by local assessment
·Two classroom observations per year for all teachers, except for those rated effective or highly effective the previous two years
·The state will recommend four favored evaluation tools to districts and provide training on them
·The state will also recommend best practices for assessing student growth locally
With the state providing more local control over teacher evaluation processes, as well as funding for training on best practices in the area of teacher evaluation, this law promises to be a vast improvement over its predecessor.