- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday announced several proposals for Tennessee teachers, including adjusting the way they’re evaluated and creating a Governor’s Teacher Cabinet in which educators could provide ideas.

The Republican governor gave his proposals at the annual conference of Learning Forward, an association devoted to advancing professional learning for student success.

Haslam received feedback from an academic standards review process, statewide meetings with educators, and an education summit in September. The ideas he presented came from those.

“We are working hard to listen to you because we place such a high value on what you are doing,” Haslam told educators at the conference.

Haslam said he also seeks to provide educators with more information and feedback on state assessments, and improve teacher communication and collaboration.

Currently, 35 percent of an educator’s evaluation is comprised of student achievement data.

One adjustment the governor wants to make is to have new state assessments in English and math count 10 percent of the overall evaluation in the first year of administration of the new tests in 2016, 20 percent the second year, and 35 percent in year three.

Jim Wrye, assistant executive director of the Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, said he appreciates the governor’s effort but still opposes using the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, or TVAAS scores, in the evaluation of teachers.

Wrye said value-added data do not measure all that is valued in education. He said it shouldn’t be relied upon because it could result in a tenured teacher receiving a bad evaluation, which could lead to termination.

“The statistical estimate that is valued-added scores is wholly unreliable for making decisions on teachers’ school effectiveness,” Wrye said.

However, he said he does favor some aspects of the governor’s proposals, such as releasing practice questions prior to administration of tests, and involving teachers in the review and selection of test questions.

“We need more transparency in testing, and we’re hoping that’s what the governor is leaning toward,” he said.

In the area of improved teacher communication and collaboration, Haslam is proposing a Governor’s Teacher Cabinet, which will consist of teachers nominated by local school districts from across the state.

The cabinet is expected to meet quarterly with the governor and the education commissioner to share information from the classroom, advise on policy considerations and provide a direct line of communication to their schools and communities.


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