HISD board passes new teacher evaluation policy

January 14, 2010 7:02:07 PM PST
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education passed a new policy that will tie student test scores to teacher evaluations. It was passed 8-0 on the first try Thursday night. One more vote is required which will occur at the next board meeting in February.

There are already 33 factors that can be considered in teacher evaluations. The passing of Thursday's vote would add one more for a total of 34.

The board also elected new officers Thursday. District VI Trustee Greg Meyers was unanimously elected the new Board President. District IV Trustee Paula M. Harris was chosen as First Vice President. District VIII Trustee Diana Dávila was elected by the board as Second Vice President. District II Trustee Carol Mims Galloway was chosen as Secretary. District I Trustee Anna Eastman, who is new to the board, was elected as Assistant Secretary.

Our report earlier Thursday

We're following a developing story that many teachers and parents in our area are paying close attention to right now.

Some big issues will be decided Thursday night at HISD's school board meeting. Among them are whether a teacher's job should be on the line if test scores don't improve.

Teachers are getting in front of the school board to tell them how they feel about the new teacher evaluation plan. Many say it's humilitating.

The opposition at the board meeting was considerable as several teachers gave the board an earful.

"Test are important to chart the progress of the students and for us teachers to learn where we are strong and where we need extra work, but they're not being used in that regard. They're no longer used as evaluations , but as weapons," said one teacher.

The opposition is over a new contract term for teachers to follow, saying their employment will be based on standardized test scores. Teachers are already renewed based on classroom performance, bringing about harsh criticism from the national president of the American Federation of Teachers Union who stated, "Just as kids should not be judged solely on the results of one standardized test, neither should teachers."

The new HISD superintendent agrees but adds what he considers a disturbing fact - If only 36 teachers were fired lasts year, then why are nearly half of HISD's students, about 100,000 students, reading below grade level?

"I've not met a parent since I've been in HISD, I've not met a teachersince I've been in HISD that didn't want their child in a teacher's classroom that year after year had a child regressing coming in and going backwards academically," said new HISD Superintendent Terry Grier.

Dr. Grier has a new school board and he wants to push the agenda forward. The school board is expected to vote on it Thursday night. We'll continue to follow this developing story.