Don’t Gut Teacher Evaluations in RI
A longer version of this appears on the Providence Journal’s website.
It’s what we call “evaluation season” at Ed Trust, which always seems to elicit a collective groan among managers at all the extra work that employee evaluations involve. But we do that work — and we do it thoughtfully and comprehensively — because our employees want the formal feedback that they need to get ever better at what they do and because we think they deserve it.
Unfortunately, if a bill in Rhode Island passes the state legislature, teachers in that state won’t get the annual feedback they need to improve their craft. Instead, most would have to wait three or even four years for formal feedback on their teaching.
Already state leaders have worked with local leaders and teachers unions to radically reduce the burdens of the annual evaluation process and give districts considerably more discretion. But Rhode Island’s House bill 7096 would end annual feedback altogether, depriving teachers of what they need to improve and harming children in the process.
The bill, which passed the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee last week, is now waiting for the Senate Education to take it up. On behalf of the most vulnerable children — the ones most dependent on good teaching — I hope Rhode Island legislators don’t gut such an instrumental piece to developing and sustaining effective teachers.