Ohio may change the way teachers are evaluated

The Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) could see significant changes if a bill recently introduced by State Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) becomes law.

Lehner, chair of the Senate Education Committee, spotlighted several changes proposed in Senate Bill 240:

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** Lehner said the bill would change the data used to measure teacher performance, “placing specific emphasis on ensuring a teacher’s success is not primarily determined by student test scores.”

** She said the bill would improve the timing of teacher observations and evaluations and update the current rubric by which teachers are graded.

** Lehner’s office said the bill provides a professional growth process for teachers who are rated as “accomplished” and “skilled.”

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“We should always be trying to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability in our public school system, and this bill gives us an opportunity to do that,” Lehner said in a press statement. “It is important to understand the goals of teacher evaluations. Ensuring that they provide more substantive, timely feedback will help us better reach those goals.”

The bill comes out of work done by the state’s Educator Standards Board, representing numerous education stakeholders. Dayton teachers union President David Romick touted the work of the that board, saying it had been an excellent process.

“I don’t see anything negative out of this bill – I’ve been behind the Educator Standards Board’s recommendations since they came out almost a year ago,” Romick said. “I think the big thing is that the student growth measures would be embedded in rest of evaluation.”

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Romick said he also applauded the end of the “shared attribution” system, in which all teachers in a group got the same growth score.

Lehner said she hopes the changes will be phased in over the next two school years if the bill passes.

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