Teacher Evaluation System Changes Receive Mixed Reviews


Teacher Evaluation System Changes Receive Mixed Reviews

By: Tarin Nix

Secretary of Public Education Hanna Skandera announced Tuesday, Aug. 4 changes to the teacher evaluation system that would drop testing scores for some teacher evaluations.  Although there are some changes, Skandera notes that our evaluation system will continue to rely heavily on students’ standardized test scores and supervisors’ observations of teachers in the classroom.

During Tuesday night’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez addressed the crowd and offered clarification of the current changes. According to Gutierrez, the news had been misleading and “seemed like test scores were no longer going to count and that is not the case.”  She went on to explain that although the new requirements state that group measures have been removed from new teachers in New Mexico for one year but as Gutierrez points out, “that’s not really a change because new teachers didn’t have new data attached for two years anyways.” Gutierrez’s final concern stemmed from new requirements around non-tested subject teachers like band, choir or art. Non-tested subject teachers will still have the value added measures that typically occurred over a three year collection period because they are connected to how well the school does, but Gutierrez’s concern is that this “already volatile score will now be based on one year instead of three and Superintendents have a little bit of concern about that.” 

American Federation of Teachers New Mexico (AFTNM) President Stephanie Ly released the following statement regarding changes to NM teacher evaluations saying it represents minimal effort from the Public Education Department to remedy the flawed system.

“Word of changes to the teacher evaluation system in New Mexico under Secretary Skandera and Governor Martinez should be welcome news, however, these recently announced changes represent only a superficial effort which leaves a vast majority of veteran educators still persecuted under the Public Education Department’s rule.

“These changes are akin to a shell game – meant to distract in the hopes that advocates for public education will relent and ignore the remaining PED policies. Secretary Skandera’s acknowledgement that previously used evaluation measures for new educators and those who do not teach core subjects “had literally no connection” to their eventual score is a stunning admission from an administration which has aggressively defended their imposed system to this point.

“It comes as no surprise that the PED is scrambling to amend and legitimize their sham of an evaluative process in the face of several lawsuits which are progressing through the New Mexico legal system. Professional educators know the current evaluation system is detrimental to our profession, our students and our communities, and have led to historic teacher shortages across our State. “If Secretary Skandera is truly concerned with doing the “right thing,” she needs to give relief to the thousands of educators across this state who are being harmed under her policy. Anything less is simply window dressing.”