DOVER, DE – Delaware’s Department of Education has finalized its teacher evaluation plan for the coming school year. As a requirement for its federal “Race to the Top” money, student progress must be a component. Delaware claims that its standardized test scores will be a component for teachers of math and reading. What isn’t clear is if the scores will be a true evaluation component or simply bureaucratic “sleight of hand” as in Maryland.
Earlier we had reported that Virginia was implementing a plan in which student progress would be used for 40% of a teacher’s evaluation. We received comment that Maryland was using “student progress” for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation. Delaware’s plan appears similar.
There is one major difference between the Virginia approach and that undertaken in Maryland (and presumably Delaware). In Virginia, a poor evaluation could lead to a teacher’s contract not being renewed. In Maryland it will be only a theoretical possibility that a poor teacher will not have his or her contract renewed because of a lack of student progress.
It should be noted that “progress” is the key word here. Teachers of poor students should not be penalized because they didn’t turn their students into intellectual giants. However, parents (and the public) have a right to expect progress.