There's No Shortage of Lawmakers Wanting to Change Tennessee Teacher Evaluations

Feb 2, 2012

Lawmakers from both parties appear eager to make changes to Tennessee’s teacher evaluation system.

The system puts a heavy emphasis on student test scores. The new system was put in place as state leaders secured millions of dollars in funding from the federal “Race to the Top” program. The Tennessean newspaper reports nearly 20 bills have been filed by lawmakers to alter the evaluation system, despite calls from Governor Bill Haslam to leave it alone for now.

Some Democrats have filed measures that would make this a trial year for the evaluation system, which many educators have called unfair and time-consuming. Other bills would allow teachers rated as average the opportunity for tenure, instead of limiting it to those with the highest ratings.

A plan put forth by Republican lawmakers would set aside $ 40 million dollars for bonuses to top-scoring teachers.

Governor Haslam wants the current system to remain in place until a task force studies it and offers recommendations in June.