Education News

Change Coming To Teacher Evaluations In Houston

At its meeting last night, the board for the Houston Independent School District approved a change to how teachers are evaluated. That change has the teachers union concerned.


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Every year teachers in Houston get evaluated. Principals or other administrators look at their instruction, their professional behavior and their students’ performance.

But this year other people can chime in.

“Now it can be done on hearsay.”

That’s Andrew Dewey. He’s vice president of the Houston Federation of Teachers.

“A student can come home and complain to a parent and say so and so said this — hearsay. And then the parent can double hearsay it by complaining to the appraiser. And all of a sudden this system based on observation is now corrupted by outside hearsay.”

Dewey says evaluators should be trained. 

But he says now that third party could be anyone. 

And they could potentially use the evaluation system to damage a teacher if they don’t like them.

Superintendent Terry Grier says that’s not the intent at all.

“Not only do our students know who our best teachers are, so parents know who they are and so do other teachers.”

Grier says technically it’s been the policy for all employee evaluations for the last four years. This just makes it officially part of the teacher evaluation.

“I didn’t want a principal who’s in charge of a school not to be able to contribute to an appraisal that might be done by an assistant principal.”

The board of trustees approved the change with a four-to-two vote.

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