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NJ Puts New Teacher Evaluation System Into Practice

By Julie Daurio, WBGO News
September 4, 2013

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New Jersey’s public schools open this week, and teachers are facing tougher evaluations than ever before.

A new statewide system will grade teachers not only on their performance but on their students' as well. The evaluation will take into account classroom observations and student performance on standardized tests as well as a number of "student growth objectives" that measure a student's progress over the course of the year.

Some education professionals are concerned that the state is rushing the new evaluation system into practice. Joe Delgrosso is the President of the Newark Teachers Union. He says that the new system will only work if the evaluations are used as a tool to improve education practices—not as an excuse to fire teachers.

“If we just look at the punitive part of it, it won’t work, and if we try to hurry it along, it’s not going to work. We have to understand that part of the process is that where a teacher is partially effective, that we understand that we can make that teacher effective.”

The new system will rate teachers on a four-point scale, from “ineffective” to “highly effective.” Those with the lowest rating will lose their tenure—and possibly their jobs.

NPR

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