The Texas Education Agency has rolled out its new statewide system of evaluating teachers, and the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers is blasting it as 'obsessed with standardized testing,' 1200 WOAI news reports.
The new system is required as a mandate for Texas to get out from under the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. 80% of the teacher evaluation process focuses on planning, instruction, the learning environment, and professional responsibilities.
But AFT President Rob D'Amico says the fact that 20% relies of the outcome of standardized testing leads to serious problems, and, at a time, when parents, teachers and students are 'rebelling agaisnt overtesting,' the state is 'doubling down' on focusing attention on tests.
"It has been found faulty in research nationwide," D'Amico said. "Even if it's just 20%, it is a misuse of those standards."
D'Amico called the continued use of testing as a metric for teacher evaluations 'a destructive course' for Texas education.'
He points out that teachers in Houston are already suing over a similar use of standardized test scores for teacher evaluation there.
"Those teaches have seen their evaluations swing dramatically from year to year," he said.
D'Amico says the AFT supports 'proven methods of evaluation' which 'gauge a teacher's performance with multiple measures that more accurately reflect the teacher's ability to inspire learning in students." But he says scores on standardized, fill in the oval with a Number Two pencil tests do none of that.
"We need relief from overtesting," he said. "We don't need an added burden of evaluation based on test scores."
The AFT says the reliance on test scores to evaluate teachers is in violation of the Texas Education Code, indicating that a lawsuit is possible to block the proposals, which are set to kick in in two years.