The Classroom Teacher, summer 2014

The move to revise Texas' Professional Development and Appraisal System or PDAS, was initiated by TEA in 2011, purportedly as a result of stakeholder feedback. But how student performance would be defined and included did not become clear until Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to receive an NCLB waiver in fall 2013. 

At the same time that the commissioner was negotiating the waiver with the federal agency, TEA convened a statewide Teacher Steering Committee composed of Texas’ regional teachers of the year, several higher education representatives and administrators, and a representative of TCTA (the only educator association staffer on the committee).

The committee was asked to give input on the NCLB waiver-required teacher evaluation system guidelines that TEA was required to submit to the U.S. Department of Education by May 2014.

However, given the parameters set by the NCLB waiver agreement, the Teacher Steering Committee was able to give only general input. And because the waiver agreement required that student growth for the majority of teachers be measured using student learning objectives, portfolios, and/or district pre-and-post tests, the committee spent most of its time informing the development of the new system’s observation instrument. 

Although TCTA participated on the Teacher Steering Committee, TCTA strongly opposes the U.S. Department of Education’s heavy-handed dictates that the evaluation guidelines include student performance on state standardized tests as the measure to evaluate teachers, and the requirement that student growth must be determined at the individual teacher level rather than at the group or campus level.

See:

TCTA asks TEA and legislators to delay new teacher evaluation system

Problems with Texas' potential new teacher evaluation system

Overview of the proposed evaluation system

What's next for the proposed evaluation system?