Evaluation controversy arises with schools' merger - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Evaluation controversy arises with schools' merger

(WMC-TV) - New controversy is surfacing in the Memphis and Shelby County school merger battle that could put some teachers out of work.

Memphis and Shelby County schools currently use different teacher evaluation techniques. That has the Memphis Education Association (MEA) president worried that Memphis teachers could lose out when the schools merge in August.

"We're under the gun with this evaluation system," said Keith Williams, Memphis Education Association. "The district early on said they would adopt the Memphis City Schools model, but we believe radical changes have been made to it and we're at the table now about that, trying to make sure we can all live with this new teacher evaluation system."

The difference comes down to one component in the interview process that ultimately determines if a teacher is up to snuff in the Teacher Effectiveness Measure or TEM score.

"These are your observation scores that leads to your TEM score that can lead to a human capital decision about employment," explained Williams.

In Shelby County, the teachers do not know their score before their interview. In Memphis, teacher candidates go into the interview knowing their score.

"In Memphis city, you're allowed to conference with the observer about your scores and have a dialog and there may be some things they didn't see that you did so the scores are flexible," said Williams.

If the merged school system adopts the Shelby County model, teachers will no longer have the opportunity to see their scores before they interview.

"That's a big change to us," Williams said. "We've always been able to go in and defend our practice or to make clear things that may be understood in the post conference."

Teacher evaluations are not on Tuesday's agenda. The school board has until August to come up with a standard.

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