Idaho Lawmakers To Examine Teacher Evaluations During 2017 Session

Jan 4, 2017

When they convene next week, lawmakers in the Idaho Legislature plan to take a closer look at teacher evaluations.

For years, Idaho has required an annual evaluation to use as a tool for educators to improve their performance. In 2015, lawmakers decided to tie those evaluations to teacher raises. Called the Career Ladder, this initiative spends $250 million over five years to boost teacher pay. But to climb that ladder - teachers must meet certain performance benchmarks in order to earn a raise.

Now there are questions. Are teachers being accurately rated? Are legislators getting the right data? And does all of this translate to better education for public school children?

Helping us sort through this is Clark Corbin, who's been following the issue for Idaho Education News. In 2015, Corbin noticed that in more than a quarter of the school districts, every teacher received identical evaluation scores.

Now Corbin says teacher evaluations will be on the docket during the upcoming Idaho Legislative session. Lawmakers say they want to make sure they’re getting the proper evaluation data.

“Legislators will have decisions to make about increasing teacher pay and about the validity of the accountability system that’s tied to that,” says Corbin.

You can find more in-depth reporting on teacher evaluations and the Career Ladder in Idaho at Idaho Education News.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio