Focus narrows on evaluations of school staff

Evaluations key to education improvements, careers, experts say

Evaluating teachers’ performance would be a key component for district administrators deciding which teachers would be laid off, under provisions of a bill the Missouri Senate debated last week.

“Whenever it is necessary to decrease the number of teachers because of insufficient funds or a substantial decrease of pupil population within the school district,” the proposed law says, “effective teacher performance shall be the deciding criterion” and not the current law of last-hired, first-fired.

The Senate must give that bill a final vote before it can be sent to the House for further debate.

Meanwhile, Mid-Missourians have been following the discussion of teacher and principal evaluations at the Blair Oaks R-2 District, where the board last week affirmed it plans to release a principal at the end of this year, because she failed “to complete performance-based teacher evaluations in accordance with Board policy and expectations.”

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Karla Eslinger, the state Elementary and Secondary Education department’s assistant commissioner for education quality, noted last week state law requires public school districts to make, and maintain, teacher records including evaluations.

Among its provisions, the state law’s Chapter 168 reads ....

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