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Teacher and Principal Evaluations A Legal and Practical Update Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 H & S School Law @KarenHaase


The Widget Effect  2009 Study conducted by The New Teacher Project  Surveyed 15,000 teachers and 1,300 principals in 12 school districts,  Conclusion: Schools treat teachers as interchangeable parts, rather than individual professionals

The Widget Effect  How evaluation systems reflect and codify the “Widget Effect” • All teachers are rated good or great. • Excellence goes unrecognized. • Professional development is inadequate. • No special attention to novices • Poor performance goes unaddressed

Gates Foundation MET Study  Three evaluation components predict teacher effectiveness • Multiple observations by trained observers based on clear expectations • Student perceptions • Multiple measures of student achievement  Assumed test scores equal achievement

NCLB Waivers and Evals  Feds require certain teacher and principal evaluation systems to grant NCLB waivers: • Cannot use Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory • Must use student assessment data • Must have a state-wide system  Washington state has lost waiver over teacher evaluation system (  Arizona, Kansas, and Oregon risk losing waivers over eval systems (  Nebraska state board considering applying for waiver (

NDE’s New Eval. System  NDE developing teacher and principal evaluation models  17 districts currently piloting  Plan is to have the models ready for statewide implementation in 2015  Classroom evaluations based on research of Charlotte Danielson and Robert Marzano

Nebraska Teacher Evaluation Model

Classroom Instructional Framework  Classroom Evaluations  Districts must use Danielson or Marazano  Eval. data transferred to NDE Framework

Classroom Instructional Framework  “Improvement Plan” required for “basic”  “Remediation Plan” required for “needs improvement” • NDE guidelines for linking evaluation to next professional development cycle.

Classroom Instructional Framework  Legal Issues • Driver v. Jefferson Twp Sch., 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 1379

• Rhoades v. South Platte Pub. Sch., (Duel Co. # CI 12-20)

• Imposes nonstatutory burdens on evaluators

Classroom Instructional Framework  Practical Issues • Time (Homework) • Could discourage honest evaluations • Hard to nonrenew after 1 year • Increasing probie workloads

Student Achievement Rating  Student Learning Objective  Eg: For the current school year, all of my students will make at least a full year’s progress on the DIBELS assessment. Of my 20 students, the 10 who scored at grade level on the pre-assessment, will achieve grade level or above scores in all tested areas; the seven students who require strategic intervention will be at grade level by the end of the year; the three students at “at risk/emerging” will move to the category of “low risk/established” on three of the four areas tested by DIBELS.

 NDE has a rubric

Student Achievement Rating  Legal Issues • New Mexico • New Jersey  Practical Issues • Time intensive • Transient populations

Professional Development Rating  Annual Individual Professional Development Plan  Developed between teacher & principal  NDE has a rubric

Professional Development Rating  Legal Issues • Failure to comply insubordination if plan is collaborative?  Practical Issues

• Time intensive • Pressure to mass produce

Local Factors Rating (optional)  Local Boards may add criteria  E.g. coaching, sponsorships, community, etc.

Local Factors Rating (optional)  Legal issues • Coaching is not teaching • AD qualified to “evaluate”  Practical Issues • Fit between local and state rubrics • Time

Summative Evaluation Components  Ratings for seven Effective Practices (transferred from Danielson/Marazano forms)  Rating for achieving student learning objectives.  Rating for meeting professional development goals.  Rating for local district factors (optional)  Overall performance rating.

The Courts (at least) Defer to Schools  Nebraska Supreme Court: There are few, if any, objective criteria for evaluating teacher performance or for determining what constitute just cause for terminating teaching contracts of tenured teachers. Each case must, therefore, be assessed on its own facts.  Courts don’t typically second guess


Teacher and Principal Evaluations A Legal and Practical Update Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 H & S School Law @KarenHaase

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