State to hand out corrected teacher evaluations

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Several teachers weren’t happy to find out their evaluations were wrong. The state Public Education Department said they’re working with school districts to fix those evaluations, and will have the correct ones finished before the school year starts.

Multiple teachers around the state have called their evaluations unfair. Monday, the Secretary of Public Education told KRQE News 13 despite some problems, the evaluations are the most accurate assessments of teachers around the state schools have seen.

Districts reported several teacher evaluations were flawed.

“A lot of that data was incorrect, and people got punished for taking leave like FMLA leave that they’re entitled to by law,” said Ellen Bernstein, President of the Albuquerque Teacher Federation.

Albuquerque Public Schools said a big problem with it’s teacher evaluations, was that family medical leave wasn’t included in excused absences.

Districts around the state have also reported problems. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Rio Rancho Schools estimate up to 50 percent of it’s evaluations are flawed, Truth or Consequences about 40 percent, and in the Moriarty-Edgewood district, about 25 percent.

But it’s a problem Secretary of Public Education, Hanna Skandera, said happened because the districts provided the wrong data, and PED is working with them to fix it.

“The data that we receive from our districts is data they give us, we use that data, we don’t change data when people give it to us,” explained Skandera. “Are we going to work out some bumps in the road? Absolutely, this is a bump in the road, we’re going to work with our districts and partner with them to get it right.”

Absences, among other factors like classroom observation, student surveys, and test scores make up a teacher’s evaluation.

“For the first time ever, we have more than just an opinion going into an evaluation – that was what our old system was, an opinion,” Skandera said.

She added, the new system is more comprehensive, and gives schools a better idea of where improvements are needed.

“Just one year ago we had 99.8 percent of our teachers getting the exact same evaluation, they met competency, and when I think about that, I have to ask, was that accurate? were we ok with that?” said Skandera.

Still, many teachers still claim there should be a better way. “Now this has many more components, but just because it has more components doesn’t make those components a real assessment of a teacher’s ability, nor does it make it accurate or fair,” Bernstein explained.

The Education Secretary said the incorrect evaluations will not have an impact teacher’s pay or the school grades the state hands out every year. That’s because the PED said they will be corrected before this school year, potentially within the next couple weeks.

Bernstein said one of the biggest complaints from teachers is that they don’t understand how exactly they’re being graded or what their score is based on. She said some teachers have requested answers from the PED.

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