Maine Educator Effectiveness Council
By Susan Grondin
According to recently enacted LD 1858 An Act to Ensure Effective Teaching and School Leadership, school districts receiving targeted funds must adopt a teacher and principal evaluation system based on DOE guidelines by 2013-14, with full implementation by 2015. The Maine Educator Effectiveness Council (MEEC) is charged with “recommending the standards for implementing a system” and also serves as “one of the working groups for the ESEA (formerly NCLB) flexibility application effort.” MEEC consists of sixteen members, representing major stakeholder groups. The MEA is represented by John Soifer, Mary Paine, Susan Grondin, and Grace Leavitt, co-chair with Commissioner Stephen Bowen. MEA members also meet with the MEA stakeholders group, formed as the result of a new business item at the RA, to update individuals.
During our first six meetings we have focused on choosing the set(s) of practice standards by which teachers and principals are to be evaluated. As we deliberated over which model(s) to recommend (NBTPS, Danielson, InTASC, etc.), the committee did not discount the work of Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) school districts and, in fact, has gained valuable insights from these endeavors.
In upcoming meetings we will focus on the combination of measures of professional practice and student growth that will together result in a teacher’s overall evaluation score. In preliminary discussions, the teachers on the council have resisted the inclusion of factors deriving from formative assessment tools (i.e. student surveys) and of so-called value-added measures of teacher effectiveness.
Throughout our work, a prevailing question has followed us: Who will be included among the classes of ‘teachers’ and ‘principals’? Will the evaluation system be applicable to all certificate areas, such as guidance counselors? Will a curriculum coordinator be evaluated using teacher standards or principal standards? Concerning this and other elements of the systems, the teachers and principals on the council have been concerned with matters of capacity, training, and time, all of which will affect the quality and sustainability of any evaluation system.
So far, all members of MEEC have seemed interested in an evaluation system that will foster and retain highly qualified and effective educators. We encourage MEA members to access the DOE Website for information about our work and to observe our public meetings at the Capitol.