Educator Associations speak out against new teacher evaluation system


SAN ANTONIO -- The state's largest educator association filed a petition with the Texas Commissioner of Education, legally challenging his recent adoption of rules creating a new state-recommended teacher appraisal system.

The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) says Commissioner Mike Morath's rules for the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System, or T-Tess, violates state laws.

The new state system lays out four different options for school districts to measure student growth, including state test scores, student learning objectives, a student's portfolio, and a test the district chooses.

The Association of Texas Professional Educators doesn't agree with the new system, and believes teachers shouldn't be evaluated on how well their students do on standardized tests.

"Now they may be one of the better teachers in the whole system, but they look bad on paper because of this evaluation with the number of children that did not pass a particular test," said Byron Hildebrand, the State Treasurer for ATPE.

While Hildrebrand's group has filed a petition with the Education Commissioner, the Texas State Teacher's Association has filed a lawsuit saying in part, "Commissioner Morath's appraisal system clearly violates state law because he doesn't have the authority to substitute a

confusing test-based statistical formula for the work teachers and students actually do in classroom," said TSTA President Noel Candelaria.

A spokesperson for the TEA provided News 4 San Antonio with the following statement:

In designing the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS), TEA relied heavily on input from teachers across the state who wanted meaningful feedback to strengthen classroom instruction. No school district is required to utilize T-TESS. More importantly, the use of student test scores is not a required element of either T-TESS or a locally developed appraisal system. The Commissioner's rules clearly note that school districts are free to use other measures of student growth. TEA looks forward to defending this new educator support system which - through the help of teachers - is ultimately designed to improve student outcomes.

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