The Washington Post

Maryland teachers are asking for more time and training to meet the demands of new evaluation systems and education standards expected to be in place by the start of the next school year, according to a survey from the Maryland State Education Association.

Nearly two out of three teachers surveyed say they’re unprepared to teach students based on more rigorous Common Core State Standards. About 72 percent said they aren’t ready for new teacher and principal evaluation systems.

“We’re starting to hear more from teachers about what the gap is between ... abstractions and the reality of implementation,” said Betty Weller, president of the Maryland State Education Association, which represents about 50,000 of the state’s 85,000 teachers.

The results are from an online survey of 540 teachers conducted May 1-5. Although it was not a scientific survey, Weller said the responses reveal that teachers need more professional development before stepping into a classroom next year.

The detailed results of the survey will be presented Wednesday at a meeting of the Maryland Council for Educator Effectiveness.

Last week, the American Federation of Teachersreleased similar poll results. While 75 percent of teachers polled said they support Common Core, less than a third said they’ve received professional support from their districts to meet the standards.

Educators have called for moratoriums on standardized tests and delays in implementing new teacher and principal evaluation systems so they can focus on preparing for the Common Core. The standards, adopted by 45 states and the District, are aimed at creating more consistent and challenging expectations of what students nationwide should be able to know and do from kindergarten though high school.

With new teacher evaluations and learning standards simultaneously implemented, “it’s a massive amount of work when most teachers and principals go to work every day and try to do their regular jobs,” Weller said. “It’s the tsunami of education reform.”

The survey did not include teachers in Montgomery and Frederick counties. Because those counties didn’t sign up for grants from Race to the Top, they don’t have to follow the same rules for developing new evaluation systems. The survey also did not include Baltimore City, which the Maryland State Education Association does not represent.

Lynh Bui is a Prince George's County public safety reporter and former Montgomery County education reporter.

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