Low Performing Teachers Retiring Faster

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman leads a roundtable discussion with teachers in 2011. Image courtesy TN Photo Services

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman leads a roundtable discussion with teachers in 2011. Image courtesy TN Photo Services

Public school teachers with the lowest scores in a new evaluation system appear more likely to retire. That’s according to early figures from the state’s Department of Education.

Nearly four percent of retiring teachers have the worst-possible scores.

And Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman sees an upside to the latest retirement numbers.

“They’re actually lower for teachers performing at a higher level, which is what I think we would have hoped and expected to see.”

Less than two percent of retirements are the highest achievers.

But overall, more educators are leaving the profession. The state pension system reports a 20-percent jump in retirements the year new evaluations became law. And departures remain elevated, with 2,600 retirements last year.

The Tennessee Education Association doesn’t see a direct correlation to the added scrutiny. But organization president Gera Summerford says there’s still plenty of concern in classrooms.

“Many teachers are not confident that the assessments they received last year in their evaluation adequately measure what they do with students every day.”

The Department of Education is considering changes, particularly for subjects lacking standardized tests.

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