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Texas Education Commissioner Requests Extension For Rollout Of New Teacher Evaluations

US Department of Education

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has asked the U.S. Department of Education allow the state to delay a full rollout of a new teacher evaluation system and teacher's associations are applauding Williams' action.

As per agreement with that allows Texas to opt out of sections of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Williams was to design a teacher evaluation pilot program, test it using voluntary school districts, and then rollout the program after a year. 

"We’re thinking after this pilot runs that we may need to tweak the system some and that may mean rule changes that we could do or statutory changes that the legislature could do, but we wouldn’t have enough of the pilot under our belt to know what changes were needed,” said Debbie Ratcliffe with the Texas Education Agency.

That request to delay a full rollout has the support from some teacher associations in the state. But even with those delays, Jennifer Canaday with the Association of Texas Professional Educators said they still have serious concerns about a section of the evaluation that uses student standardized test scores.

"The evaluation that incorporates the student standardized test scores will only apply to teachers of certain subjects and grade; obviously only those in which there is a state standardized test,” Canaday said.

For those subjects, each school district will have to come up with a different way to evaluate teachers regarding student performance. But Canaday said adding another year could give the state enough time to find a universal measure.