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Idaho’s new teacher evaluations remain on schedule

The feds are allowing Idaho and other states to delay the launch of new teacher evaluation systems — ones tied to student performance.

But Idaho doesn’t plan to roll back its timetable, and this means the new evaluations could be in place in 2013-14.

Duncan
Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Idaho and other states that have received waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act do not need to launch new evaluation systems until 2016-17, a one-year extension. States with waivers are nearly evenly split on whether to take the federal government up on its offer, according to Education Week.

In Idaho, school districts are expected to use the new evaluation system in 2013-14. But that isn’t certain.

“We have received some comments that have suggested allowing school districts pilot these evaluation models in the 2013-14 school year,” said Melissa McGrath, a spokeswoman for Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. “We are open to that.”

That decision will be up to the State Board of Education, which will consider the evaluation system this fall.

Efforts to revamp Idaho’s teacher and administrator evaluations date back to 2011, and Luna’s Students Come First initiative. When voters rejected the three laws last November, the state put together a task force to look at the evaluation issue. The task force made its recommendations to the State Board in April.

“Both under Students Come First and now under these new recommendations, the components of academic achievement considered in a teacher’s evaluation are up to the local school district to decide,” McGrath said Monday. “They must use the statewide assessment in part, but it does not have to make up the entire consideration of student achievement in a teacher or administrator’s evaluation. The task force was comfortable with this going forward as the state transitions to higher academic standards because it gives local school districts considerable flexibility.”

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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