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WYSO's coverage of the 2011 Election

New Teacher Evaluation Standards On The Way

It not even been a week since voters overturned Senate Bill 5 - the law that would have limited the bargaining rights of public employees. But for teachers, one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of that legislation is still on its way. Ida Lieszkovszky of StateImpact Ohio has this report.A new, standardized method for evaluating teachers would have been included Senate Bill 5.

But, it’s also part of an older law from 2009. It’s built into the federal Race to the Top funding and it was included in this year’s state budget. So SB 5’s trouncing at the polls isn’t going to derail the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System.

That’s a framework for schools to assess teacher performance. About half of the review will be based on subjective evaluations, such as principal or peer reviews and parent input. The other half will be based on student performance. 

But the State Board of Education still has to vote on the plan before it can be implemented. Board member Mary Rose Oakar says she still has concerns, including just how student progress is measured and what will be done to keep principals from playing favorites. 

“It is being heralded as the new wave in improving our system. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do evaluations, but it has to be fair. It has to be fair and thought-through,” says Oakar.

The board will vote on the plan at its December meeting, then set up a six- month pilot period. Schools participating in Race to the Top will have to start using the system in the fall.

The rest of Ohio’s public school districts—excluding charter schools—have until 2013 to implement the new evaluation system. 

*StateImpact Ohio is an education reporting collaboration of NPR and Ohio public radio stations WCPN, WKSU and WOSU.