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Posted at 04:40 PM ET, 10/18/2011

Maryland teachers to discuss new evaluations

This story has been updated.

Maryland teachers will have a chance to talk to top state education officials this weekend about controversial new evaluations under development, during the annual convention for the Maryland State Education Association.

Ought to be an interesting discussion.

The evaluations that are already being tested in seven jurisdictions, including Prince George’s County, are part of the state’s $250 million Race to the Top grant.

They make half of a teacher’s review — and ultimately pay and tenure decisions — contingent on student growth, including test scores in the subjects that have standardized state tests.

Since many teachers think test scores are an over-simplified and misleading measure of success, this has been a sore point for the unions. Twenty-two of the 24 unions representing Maryland jurisdictions opposed the Race to the Top application in large part because of this. And the Montgomery County Board of Education along with the Frederick County Board of Education also took a stand against it.

Montgomery County already has a nationally recognized teacher evaluation system that includes test scores but also incorporates a lot of training and mentoring. It’s been a successful model that the union and school leaders have been willing to fight to maintain.

But with the new evaluations in motion - it’s unclear how it will all shake out.

Many of the unions that opposed the evaluations in theory are now working with their local school districts to work on the practical details now, said Adam Mendelson, a spokesman for the Maryland State Education Association.

The union, which represents 71,000 public school educators across Maryland, is an affiliate of the National Education Association, the largest professional union in the country.

The convention is being held Friday and Saturday in Ocean City. Here’s a link to the agenda.

By  |  04:40 PM ET, 10/18/2011

 
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