More Scrutiny: Do teachers fear new evaluations?
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - 5th grade teacher Judy Bartley is a veteran educator in the Marana District so she's used to adjusting her curriculum and teaching methods to meet state mandates.
But her intitial reaction to teachers facing more scrutiny in the classooms -- "The assessment piece was scary. I'll admit because whoa, gosh, our first thought was then let me pick my students and how's it going to affect us," said Bartley.
Nicole Cozad-Pearce is a Marana High School teacher and president of the Marana Education Association. Her job is to know the pulse of the District's teachers.KGUn9 Reporter Valerie Cavazos asked Pearce, "Was there a lot of concern from the teachers?" She replied, "I believe initially whenever this is a new policy that brings about a change, there is some concern."
But she said many of those fears faded after the District reacted immediately when the law -- Senate Bill 1040 -- was passed in Arizona in 2010. "So the teacher evaluation conversations started right away, where some districts are now starting the conversation," she said.
Many teachers nationwide contend that it's unfair to use test scores to evaluate them because there are many factors out of their way. But Pearce said the Marana District sees it another way. "Our focus is on effective teaching and effective teaching strategies. So I feel sorry for districts that use the tool to get rid of bad teachers instead of using it as a tool to help improve assessment and instruction and student achievement," said Pearce.
A focus, Bartley said, she now understands. "To me, it's more than just my principal is coming in to evaluate me. It's I want to know what he sees and I want to know what I'm doing where I can improve my teaching. What I'm doing well that will have the greatest impact on my students and their learning," she said.
Not all districts are rolling out their new teacher evaluation systems this school year. Some districts, like Flowing Wells, have requested waivers to give them another year to work on their plans.