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Board Approves Evaluation Plan for La. Teachers

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The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education last week approved a plan to implement a new version of the state's controversial teacher-evaluation system by the 1994-95 academic year.

The plan, developed by three in-state consultants, calls for convening four separate panels to develop various parts of the program between now and the end of July.

The four panels would develop:

  • Teacher standards, to be known as the Louisiana Competencies of Effective Teaching. Of 35 members, 20 would be teachers.
  • Local procedures for conducting evaluations. Five of 17 members would be teachers.
  • Professional-development activities that would be incorporated into the program.
  • The evaluation instrument and scoring procedures.

Under the proposal, field testing of the scoring procedures and the training of assessors would begin next January, with actual teacher assessments beginning in October 1994.

The board did not, however, consider the length of time a teacher would be certified. Although Louisiana teachers now receive lifetime certification, the in-state panel backed renewable five-year certification.

The plan still must be approved by the legislature, which convenes March 30. Reacting to heated criticism of the previous evaluation system by state teachers' unions, lawmakers last year suspended the program until the 1992-93 academic year. Further delays will have to written into law.

While praising the board's actions, the unions still expressed concern that the board might endorse the removal of lifetime certification.

"They put in a time line that is reasonable, that is fair, [and that makes an] effort for the teachers to have ownership of the tool, of the process,'' said Linda Day, the president of the Louisiana Association of Educators.

"But we are still opposed to the loss of lifetime certification,'' she added.

Fred Skelton, the president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, said he is pleased that the plan calls for field testing before full implementation and that it includes a workable time line.

"The important thing is they've got a management plan,'' Mr. Skelton said.--M.P.

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