HISD Board To Vote On New Teacher Evaluation Standards

The board of the Houston Independent School District will vote this evening on a new way to evaluate teachers. This would replace standards the state developed 20-years-ago. The district claims the new evaluation criteria will provide better feedback to improve teacher performance. But the teachers' union says the standards haven't been thoroughly tested. David Pitman reports.

The district calls it the Effective Teachers Initiative.  It would be the new standard by which HISD’s 12,000 teachers are judged.  Instead of relying on one brief classroom visit by the principal, the new system would use multiple classroom observations.  HISD’s Jason Spencer says it would also take into account student test scores.

“Under the current system, 99 percent of teachers receive a favorable rating.  In a district where 70,000 of our students are not reading on grade level, that leaves some room for improvement.”

The new criteria would take effect this fall.  The Houston Federation of Teachers says wouldn’t leave enough time to train the evaluators, or the ones being evaluated.  Union President Gayle Fallon says instead of a permanent, wholesale change, the new standards should be a pilot program.

“Compare the results to prior results.  Check for validity and reliability.  Get the kinks out of it, before it’s a high-stakes issue.”

The HISD says it developed the new standards with the input of thousands of teachers and hundreds of parents.  But the teachers’ union claims much of that input didn’t make into the final product.  The union says if the HISD board approves the Effective Teachers Initiative, the union will file a legal challenge on the grounds that they were not developed in accordance with state rules.


David Pitman

David Pitman

Host, Morning Edition

Hi there. I’m glad you found me. Let me take a moment to answer some of the questions you might have about me and my job. I have worked as Morning Edition Host and reporter at News 88.7 since August of 2009. Previously, I hosted Morning Edition at WMFE in...

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