Huffman Wants Lawmakers to Tweak Teacher Evaluations

WPLN’s Blake Farmer contributed to this report.

The controversial teacher evaluation system in its second year could soon change for thousands of Tennessee’s public school teachers. State education officials say the system can be unfair for art teachers and librarians.

State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman speakers to members of the Senate Education committee. WPLN/Blake Farmer

State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman speakers to members of the Senate Education committee. WPLN/Blake Farmer

More than half of the state’s public school teachers are in subjects that lack a standardized test; that’s thousands of educators in areas from music to PE. Many are frustrated because instead a third of their evaluation comes from on their school’s overall test scores, which they can do relatively little to help.

There’s been talk of developing tests for those subjects. But Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says the department wants to avoid testing too much:

“We have a basic rule of thumb, which is we’re only going to have assessments when we think they are right for the student. So we’re not going to give assessments in order to assess the teachers.”

Huffman says instead a bigger part of the evaluations could come from classroom observations.

The state Department of Education is also proposing legislation to let teacher evaluations factor in test scores from special education students.

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