Calcasieu teachers to be evaluated under new system

New teacher evaluations


It's a new 'value added model' that is geared toward holding teachers accountable for their performance.
"If we get an ineffective rating from either our principal or the scores that our students get as far as with the state test, then we become 'at will' employees and we don't have any legal standing whatsoever," said Teri Johnson.  
Johnson serves as the president for the Calcasieu Local Federation of Teachers and believes the system is not an accountable one. 
"It's difficult to grasp that our teachers in the public school system will now be using the value added model," said Johnson. "Fifty percent of their evaluation will be done by their administration -- their principal, the other 50 percent is on their student scores."
After being tested in about 24 schools over the past two years, the new system relies heavily on an administrator evaluation which Johnson thinks will eliminate people a lot quicker. 
"What I find distressful is that it opens up a lot of power struggles between the administration and the teachers," Johnson said. "If there is a person in the administration that doesn't like a teacher, this particular model makes it very easy to get rid of people."  
Getting rid of teachers is hardly the solution to the education dilemma facing the nation, she said. 
"We have to nurture. We have to train. We have to develop teachers from the ground up," Johnson said. 
That nurturing and training is what MOLO Middle School band instructor Tiffany Jones,says makes a successful teacher. She went through specialized training to be certified as a music teacher.
"I had to go through courses to get certified in an alternate way, meaning that I had to get a secondary education degree that supported all the music courses that I took in college," said Jones.  
Jones said the training differs from the coursework of private and charter school teachers. 
"Currently, at the charter school, you just have to have a four-year degree. It doesn't matter the specification," Jones said.   
For now, whether fair or not, Calcasieu teachers will have to abide by the new evaluations.
"It's going to be a little different for a lot of people mostly but we're going to have to adjust," Jones said. 
The Lake Charles Charter Academy could not be reached for comment. 

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