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Wednesday
Jan302019

Stewart Bill Overhauls Teacher Evaluation to Support Professional Development

SB 247 Eliminates Onerous Sick-leave & Test Score Components of Existing Process

Sen. Mimi Stewart’s bill to overhaul the state’s teacher evaluation system by focusing on professional development passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

“As a retired educator, I know that professional development—not punishment—is what teachers need to succeed,” Stewart said. “And when teachers succeed, our kids succeed.”

SB 247 calls on the Public Education Department to develop--in consultation with educators and other stakeholders--by July 1, 2019, a new evaluation system based on instructional quality (which will be 50 percent of the evaluation); student feedback; student learning growth; and professional responsibility and development. Schools will need to implement the finalized evaluation system by October 2019

The bill further requires annual teacher evaluations for all new teachers and for those experienced teachers who have received poor evaluations. Experienced teachers who have received high marks on their evaluations will be re-evaluated every three years with an evaluation check-in each year.

“The best thing we can do is to let good teachers teach and let principals help struggling teachers succeed,” Stewart said. “The evaluation framework set up by SB 247 creates an environment in which educators can focus on teaching kids and improving schools—not filling out unnecessary evaluation paperwork.”

The current teacher evaluation system includes measures that educators consider punitive or not an effective tool for measuring teacher success. SB 247 cuts those provisions, including penalizing teachers who miss school due to illness and tying reviews to misguided standardized test scores.

“Lifting teachers up—not using baseless measures to cut them down—will help improve teacher performance and student success,” Stewart said. “In the classroom, we use evaluations to assess where students are and to help them move forward. By applying that same approach to teacher evaluations, we can be sure that we are getting the best look at teacher performance.”

SB 247 now moves to the Senate Public Affairs Committee for Consideration.

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A retired teacher, Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart has served two years as chair of the Legislative Education Study Committee. Prior to becoming a state Senator, Stewart served 20 years in the New Mexico House of Representatives, where she chaired the Education Committee. Stewart lives in Albuquerque. Learn more at www.mimistewart.org and follow her on Twitter @Sen_MimiStewart and on Instagram @mimistewart9.