SCORE’s Teacher-Evaluation Review an Earnest Undertaking: Haslam

Asking the state’s most vocal education reform advocates to assess its new teacher evaluation system was by no means “just a charade,” Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education is expected to release an analysis of the teacher evaluation system June 1, giving lawmakers a tool they can use to drive revisions to the state’s contentious new method for grading more than 64,000 teachers.

SCORE, conceived by former U.S. Senate GOP Majority Leader Bill Frist played a key part in establishing the teacher evaluation system and other changes, like lowering restrictions on charter schools.

“That wasn’t just a charade to have them, SCORE, go through them. I’m firmly committed to the evaluation process. And for it to work, we need to make certain that it’s the best that it can be,” said Haslam, who predicted suggestions about how to grade teachers in non-core subjects like history and music.

The governor took questions from reporters and an auditorium of more than 500 high school seniors belonging to the American Legion Auxiliary Volunteer Girls State assembly, a gathering of female students with academic and leadership potential. Among the students, questions about education were constant, including the evaluation system.

One teen said both her parents are teachers who are stressed about the new evaluation system, and asked the governor whether he could foresee making any changes to the process.

“When you put any new evaluation procedure in place, it raises lots of questions because you’re changing things,” Haslam responded. “We’ll decide from there how to tweak the system to make it better going forward.”