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Teacher Evaluation System Remains A Source Of Contention

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Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera defended New Mexico’s new teacher evaluation system on Monday before lawmakers. She told the Legislative Education Study Committee that her department is working on fixing technical glitches in the system, but that there is no need to alter how teacher evaluations are calculated. As of now, 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation is based on how students perform on standardized tests.

Skandera's comments came as no surprise to school labor unions. Charles Goodmacher is with National Education Association New Mexico. He says it’s unfortunate that Skandera is not tossing out last year’s evaluations even though many are riddled with errors.

“For instance, in some cases the wrong students' tests were assigned to teachers who had never seen those students,” Goodmacher said. “There were also teachers that were given data for completely different schools.”

Lawmakers gathered feedback over the last 6 months from superintendents and teachers about how the new system is working. Many expressed concern that student achievement is not an accurate measurement of a teacher’s effectiveness. 

An NEA lawsuit filed against the Public Education Department is awaiting an initial hearing.



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