Del. Officials Say Principals Aren't Being Tough Enough On Teach - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Del. Officials Say Principals Aren't Being Tough Enough On Teachers

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Dr. Stephanie Smith - Seaford School District Dr. Stephanie Smith - Seaford School District

DELAWARE - Only one percent of educators in the first state are rated ineffective in the new teacher evaluation system instituted last year. This might seem like a good thing, but it's apparently not when compared to student achievement.

"About 65% are meeting target, about 70% are proficient and only about 20% of our students are college ready. There's fundamentally a disconnect between that and 99% of our teachers being rated effective and highly effective," Chief Officer of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit in the Delaware Department of Education Christopher Ruszkowski said.  

It's the first time ever Delaware has released figures that show a huge disconnect between student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

State officials say school leaders aren't being tough enough when they evaluate teachers. They say principals need to give honest feedback, and weed out low-performing teachers. But administrators are hesitant given the new system, which adds a student growth and achievement component to teacher evaluations.

"Before, teachers didn't have a student growth piece that was actually calculated into their evaluation. So last year being a new year of using component five, which is the new factor of student achievement, I think that districts were reluctant or perhaps even questioned what goals could be set. It was a learning process for everyone," Spokesperson for the Seaford School District Dr. Stephanie Smith said.

What do parents think? Vonny Byrd of Laurel, Del. doesn't blame teachers. She says the root of the problem is classroom size.

"You can't be an effective teacher if you have too many kids in your class that you're responsible for teaching. I know for Laurel a couple years ago, they cut teachers. Now they're building a new high school. How are you going to staff a building if you just a few years ago you cut most of your faculty?" she said.

The fix? The Department of Education says improvements must be district-wide. Teachers need to improve their practices, principals need to keep their teachers accountable and provide support , and the district needs to provide the training and oversight that administrators need.

"I think there are multiple layers of responsibility here. Multiple layers of folks need to have a look at what they're doing," Ruszkowski said.

DDOE goes on to say that along with data transparency (letting people know about the problem) the state is working on offering more training throughout the year and giving districts and schools individualized reports and feedback on how they can do better.

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