Education Letter to the Editor

District HR Teams Need More Support

August 29, 2017 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Education Week’s inside look at a sampling of some states’ teacher-evaluation ratings (“Principals Are Loath to Give Their Teachers Bad Ratings,” July 13, 2017) raises questions about the data and some observations about districts’ capacity to properly evaluate teaching.

Only 24 states are included in the sample. Nor is there differentiation between tenured and nontenured teachers. This is incomplete in creating a national picture. In my work as a school district human-resource administrator and examiner, I have read thousands of teacher-evaluation documents. Most “developing or needs improvement” final evaluation ratings are given to nontenured teachers, who may be released without fanfare or cost. When tenured teachers receive a “needs improvement” rating, it is often followed by grievances or accusations against the evaluator of some prohibited practice. There are few terminations.

Many districts without full-time human-resource administrators assign sensitive oversight of evaluations to untrained administrators. This leaves many evaluators in schools without central-office coaching and support when evaluation complexities develop. Evaluation forms and timing are often tremendously burdensome on evaluators, who must rush through classroom visits and forms just to meet protocols and deadlines. Most evaluators do not hold teaching credentials aligned with the credentials of those being evaluated, creating validity and reliability issues, which are rarely studied.

This leads us to the essential question about evaluating teachers: In what way do evaluation systems help the district meet its goals and develop its staff? A good example of a long-term successful evaluation process is the peer-assisted review in Toledo, Ohio. That process engages tenured teachers in evaluating peers and mentoring them for success or for separation. This is a model worth replicating for our profession.

Thomas P. Johnson

Senior Consultant

HR Associates

Harwich Port, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the August 30, 2017 edition of Education Week as District HR Teams Need More Support


School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: July 13, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read