COLUMBUS, Ohio - Beginning in September, Ohio schools will have more discretion in how they evaluate their teachers, with the passage of substitute House Bill 362, authored to give schools geared towards science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) a designation equivalent to community schools, and to make changes to the way teacher evaluations are performed in Ohio.
“The state of Ohio has a long and proud history of supporting local control of primary and secondary education,” State Rep. Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) said. “Providing local districts multiple tools and the flexibility to use them as they think best is a common sense approach to ensure quality educational opportunities for every student.”
Beginning this school year, Ohio boards of education may choose to evaluate a teacher who has received a rating of “accomplished,” every three years, so long as the teacher’s student academic growth measure for the most recent year available is average or higher, according to the Ohio Department of Education.
Teachers receiving ratings of “skilled” may be evaluated every two years, ODE said, and in any year a teacher hasn’t been formally evaluated as a result of receiving a rating of “accomplished” or “skilled”, a credentialed evaluator will conduct at least one observation and interview with the teacher.
Boards do not have to evaluate teachers who have been on leave for at least 50 percent of the school year, or for teachers who have submitted their notice of retirement as of Dec. 1 of the current school year.
Boards of education may choose to continue the same teacher evaluations that have been required in previous years, as well, though.
According to Buchy, for the 2014-2015 school year, school districts in Ohio will be able to decide to continue to use the existing framework, which measures teacher performance and student progress at 50 percent each, or use the alternative framework, which weights teacher performance and student progress at 42.5 percent each, with the additional 15 percent drawn from options such as student surveys, peer review, student portfolios, or other items approved by the Ohio Department of Education.
“The previous law was simply too much of a burden, not only on teachers, but also on the administration,” Ohio Rep. Tim Derickson (R-Hanover Twp) told the Journal-News in Hamilton, Ohio. “They simply don’t need a formal evaluation each year. This bill allows teachers more time to do what they want to do, and that is to teach the kids. And this will allow our administrators to manage and administer in our schools.”
This flexibility will give school administrators flexibility, which will help “focus their limited time and resources where it is most needed,” Buchy added.