Today, Governor Susana Martinez directed the Public Education Department to move forward with the formulation and implementation of a new teacher and principal evaluation system in New Mexico. The new evaluation system will ensure that student learning and academic growth are key factors in how teachers and principals are evaluated.
"It‟s incredibly important that we‟re able to identify those teachers and principals who are contributing most to the academic success of their students, so that we can reward them for the impact they are having on our kids. And it‟s equally important for us to be able to provide support and professional development to those teachers who are struggling," said Governor Martinez. "If we believe that our students go to school in order to learn, then a good evaluation system should incorporate student achievement in its analysis of our teachers and principals. And if we believe that some of our best teachers are those who take students from two grades behind to one grade ahead, then we must honor and recognize student growth as part of the process. None of this is happening now, and that‟s why this education reform is so necessary."
As part of granting New Mexico a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the U.S. Department of Education required the state to develop the framework for a new evaluation system before the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
Maintaining the waiver is critical because it allows New Mexico to use an A-F grading system to give parents and community leaders a more accurate and helpful picture of whether schools are achieving or lagging, allowing for the targeting of interventions in schools that are struggling the most. As a result of the waiver, the often confusing constraints of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurements no longer apply in New Mexico. Under the old system, nearly 87% of New Mexico schools were simply labeled as failing -- with little to no indication of growth or progress among schools, or the ability to point to where the highest level of intervention was needed. "As one of only 11 states to receive this waiver, New Mexico is finally a leader in education reform," continued Governor Martinez. "And the implementation of a true teacher-principal evaluation system is a bipartisan effort that has received wide support not only in New Mexico, but also from the Obama Administration, which has signaled that this is one of the most important education reforms we can enact for our children."
Currently, New Mexico teachers are evaluated under a system that simply labels them as either "meets competency‟ or "does not meet competency,‟ and does little to account for student growth and achievement in the classroom. Recent studies reveal over 90% of the state‟s teachers are deemed to be meeting competency while New Mexico‟s student achievement continues to lag near the bottom of national rankings. In September 2011, President Obama‟s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, described New Mexico‟s evaluation system as "broken."
"Recognizing teachers and principals based on how well students learn is the right thing to do for New Mexico," said PED Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera. "Today in our state, our teachers are judged on a pass-fail system that doesn‟t focus on students. We know student achievement is important and we need to reward those who excel at it."
During the past legislative session, a bill to establish a new teacher and principal evaluation system (HB 249) garnered wide bipartisan support, passing the House of Representatives by a vote of 57-9, with representatives from labor and business organizations in favor of it. The state‟s new evaluation system will incorporate many of the measures that were a part of this legislative proposal, and will build upon the work of the Governor‟s Effective Teacher Task Force, which was comprised of a wide group of stakeholders with over 100 years of teaching experience and held over 10 public meetings during a three-month period in 2011.
Facts about New Mexico's New Teacher-Principal Evaluation System Many of the parameters of the new system are contained in the recommendations from the Governor‟s Effective Teaching Task Force and House Bill 249 from the most recent legislative session. The new evaluation will encompass these factors:
Base 50% of each evaluation on three years‟ worth of student achievement, as measured by the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment and other achievement measures selected by districts.
Measure teachers and principals not on a pass/fail program, but instead within 1 of 5 different categories: Exemplary, Highly Effective, Effective, Minimally Effective and Ineffective.
Work within New Mexico‟s current three-tier licensure system, but allow effective teachers and principals to move through the system faster based upon performance in the classroom.
Provide strategic interventions for teachers and principals who are rated minimally effective or ineffective.
Provide strong professional development for all teachers, targeted to particular needs that are identified by the evaluation system.
Timeline for New Mexico's New Teacher-Principal Evaluations System May 2012 -- Develop statutory rules to implement the new evaluation system, including public hearings and input from a stakeholder committee.
Summer 2012 -- Finalize rules for the new evaluation system.
Summer-Fall 2012 -- Begin professional development under the new evaluation system.
August 2012-June 2013 -- Implement pilot projects for the new evaluation system.
August 2012-August 2013 - In collaboration with districts, ensure that end-of-course assessments
for non-tested subjects and grades are in place.
2013-2014 School Year -- Fully implement the evaluation system.