Indiana

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Legislators Question Effectiveness Of New Teacher Evaluation Law

Legislators discuss Indiana's new teacher evaluation law, which goes into effect this school year.

From Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith.

Indiana school corporations are required to submit new teacher evaluation programs to the state Department of Education by next month, but some legislators expressed their concerns about the law at an education study committee hearing Tuesday.

The IDOE piloted its teacher evaluation model, called RISE, in several school corporations last year. Schools don’t have to use that model. They can modify it, use other models or develop their own. But state law sets basic requirements that all evaluation models must follow, such as a minimum number of evaluations and a four-category ratings system.

Terre Haute Democratic Senator Tim Skinner says he’s worried about what the state can do if evaluations aren’t effective.

“So if a school gets a letter grade of a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ and the administration has evaluated most of those teachers as highly effective, how do you react to that?” Skinner asked Tuesday.

Assistant state superintendent Dale Chu says the IDOE doesn’t have the power to approve the plans — state law only requires it to collect them.

“There’s a fear that, in that situation, we just wouldn’t approve the plan,” says Chu. “Well, again, that’s never been the intent. There is no provision for us to be approving or not approving plans.”

Chu says there are potential accreditation consequences for schools that blatantly ignore the state’s basic teacher evaluation plan requirements.

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