Governor Phil Bredesen has called a special session of the legislature to change the way teachers are evaluated. The teachers union supports accountability but opposes the added emphasis on standardized test scores.
Governor Bredesen wants to put the state in a better position to win hundreds of millions of dollars in the Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top” grant program.
Teachers want that funding too and will be cooperative, says Earl Wiman. He’s president of the Tennessee Education Association. Wiman says teachers will not, however, support making their evaluations solely based on multiple choice tests.
“It would be immoral to judge an ELL teacher or a special ed teacher’s performance based on a standardized test score.”
Even in regular classrooms, Wiman says standardized tests shouldn’t make up the total sum of a teacher’s work since there are factors outside their control, like a student’s home life. He says teachers will support increased accountability, but only if student achievement is more than test scores.