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ISTA: Stand for Children's teacher evaluation study flawed and misguided


Today, Stand for Children released a study of teacher evaluation models in Indiana. The study was conducted by Bellwether Education Partners. Both Stand and Bellwether are heavily funded by corporate education "reform" groups Gates Foundation and Walton Family Foundation.


On the outset, this appears to be a set of conclusions looking for a “study.”


The research is faulty and essentially starts with a conclusion it seeks to prove. The report provides essentially no methodology as to how the districts were sampled and selected.


Some of the districts cited were under previous contracts and so their inclusion in this study is erroneous since one of Stand’s major conclusions is that the districts were out of compliance. Districts could not have been out of compliance with the law if they were in fact not required to be in compliance for the 2012-13 year under the existing contract.


We also question why one of the three objectives of the study was to address how the change in leadership at DOE impacted implementation of the teacher evaluation model. The intent is clearly to find yet another way to criticize Superintendent Ritz for failed policies implemented under the Tony Bennett Administration.


Stand for Children is fueling an agenda pushed by State Representative Bob Behning who earlier had questioned why teacher effectiveness ratings were not directly in line with student standardized test score data. In April, Behning told WISH-TV: “Maybe…take away some local control.  But try and develop a model that everyone believes works to truly reflect the quality of a teacher.”


It appears as though Stand for Children wants a direct correlation between student test scores and teacher evaluation results, too. Reading between the lines, the report will likely be used as a catalyst to get the ball rolling for a state mandated uniform percentage for student growth data for the 2015 legislative session. Stay tuned.


We shouldn’t be surprised that the vast majority of teachers are good at their craft. The vast majority of all professionals are good at their craft. It is always the small exception that either need improvement or need to be counseled out.  


Stand and other education “reform” groups need to quit trying to draw a direct line from a student’s single set of test scores to a teacher’s comprehensive evaluation. It makes no sense. It is overly simplistic. It is not defensible. It is unfair.


Stand for Children and Rep. Behning should focus on TRYING TO HELP HOOSIER CHILDREN instead of trying to HURT TEACHERS. The public has had their fill of this nonsense.