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New York City and Washington, DC have recently revised the teacher evaluations so as to hold teachers more accountable for their performance. The revisions are examples of nationwide efforts to better identify and reward highly effective teachers, and to dismiss those who are consistently ineffective.
In response to complaints that the current scale is overly broad, the teacher evaluation program in Washington, D.C. (IMPACT) will reclassify hundreds of teachers currently related “effective” as “developing,” putting their jobs at risk if they fail to improve. Previously, two-thirds of teachers have been rated “effective.” Approximately half of those will now get “developing” ratings, according to the Washington Post. The new category will affect those who were at the low end of the “effective” category, giving them three years to improve their rating or lose their job. Other revisions include less weight on yearly standardized student tests, more emphasis on classroom observations, and limiting performance-based salary increases to those working in high-poverty schools.
The new, tougher system in New York City, which began to take full effect last year, saw a decrease in the number of teachers who receive tenure by 42 percentage points, from 2007 to 2012, according to this New York Times article. The new system is meant to make tenure something teachers have to earn, and not an automatic benefit, as it used to be. Teachers are judged more critically by their principals, by their students’ test score improvements, contributions they make to their community, and classroom observations.