A Senate bill would suspend teacher evaluations for the current school year

End-of-year teacher evaluations would be suspended for the 2021-22 school year, under a invoice introduced in the Michigan Senate last week by Sen. Dayna Polehanki, (D-Livonia). She was immediately referred to the Education and Career Readiness Committee.

“Certainly during this pandemic, these teachers shouldn’t be evaluated so meaningfully on students’ academic growth,” Polehanki said.

Current law bases 40% of the end-of-year assessment on student growth.

“Choosing teachers to fire or recall based to a very large extent on student growth during a pandemic is simply unfair,” Polehanki said.

“It’s hard to measure teaching standards when nothing in the past two years has been standardized for our teachers,” Polehanki said.

Polehanki said student performance was negatively affected by breaks in in-person learning for durations that varied by school district and by student mental health issues related to the pandemic.

“Because of the teacher shortage, because the teachers had to quarantine themselves,” Polehanki said. “A lot of students didn’t have continuity of teaching with their assigned teachers.”

The senses. Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo) and Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) joined nine Democratic senators to co-sponsor Polehanki’s bill.

The Michigan Education Association supports the bill, according to its spokesperson Thomas Morgan.

“We support the suspension of assessments because they are based on unreliable data that has been made even less reliable by the stop-start nature of the past two years,” Morgan said.

Morgan said he hopes that during the hiatus, state lawmakers will work on an entirely new evaluation system: “a system that is more positive and encourages the professional growth of educators, as opposed to fear and punishment. “.

Morgan said this was particularly important in the face of severe teacher shortages.

Norman D. Briggs