Teacher Evaluation and Merit Pay Up For Debate

Debate will begin Wednesday in a joint meeting of the state House and Senate education committees on the issue of Michigan’s teacher evaluation system. At the center of the debate is a report (PDF) issued earlier this year by the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness, which outlines proposed evaluation strategies for districts.

I’ll once again applaud Michigan’s practical restraint in tackling the overhaul of teacher evaluation. Though some lawmakers have attempted a hard-line approach, tying teacher pay to test scores has not yet been implemented as a false panacea as has been the case in other states. My home state, for example, took the idea and ran with it, despite criticism from the architect of the evaluation model. Time will tell of the unintended consequences of placing so much at stake on so few points of measurement.

By contrast, Michigan has seemingly embraced the evaluation changes with an honest motivation of improving student achievement. As long as the legislators continue to listen in good faith to the concerns of educators, we may stay avoid disastrous outcomes.

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