WUOT hosts "Making the Grade: Tennessee's Teacher Evaluations"
On the same day Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation that waives portions of the "No Child Left Behind Law" in Tennessee, local educators and community members discussed the state's own reform system that helped get that waiver.
Thursday night, University of Tennessee public radio station WUOT hosted a forum called "Making the Grade: Tennessee's Teacher Evaluations."
The discussion explored possible changes to the evaluation system, and its impact on East Tennessee schools.
Former Knox County special education teacher Joan Grim now conducts evaluations, and sees room for major improvements.
"It essentially functions more as a screening tool, instead of a system that gives teachers feedback, on how to reflect on and improve their practice," she said.
When the state first began the new evaluation system, it received a great deal of criticism. Since then, Governor Bill Haslam has called for an outside review.
The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) is conducting that review, and will present a report to Gov. Haslam on ways to improve the evaluation system.
Knox County Great Schools Partnership President Buzz Thomas is also on the Steering Committee for SCORE. He remains hopeful the evaluation system will be a success.
"Tennessee has set a high goal: We want to have the best school system in the Southeastern United States, and I believe this teacher evaluation system will help us get there," Thomas said.