D.C. Public Schools teacher evaluations being changed

Under the new standards, teachers in D.C. who receive good evaluations may be observed less.

(AP, WJLA) — District of Columbia Public Schools officials are making the first significant change to the teacher evaluation process introduced by former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Under the Impact evaluation, teachers are observed five times each year and rated on a scale of 1 to 4, which is "highly effective." The Washington Examiner reports that teachers who earn a 3.5 average on their first two evaluations this fall and who received "highly effective" ratings the past two years will have the option of waiving the three remaining observations this year.

Scott Thompson, director of teacher effectiveness strategy, says it seems high-performing teachers didn't need to be observed as often.

Mark Simon, the former head of the Montgomery County teacher's union, said on News Talk with Bruce DePuyt on NewsChannel 8 Tuesday morning that the move is a "baby step" in the right direction.

"The D.C. teacher evaluation system is a work in progress," Simon said. "This was a step in the right direction for providing more intensive support."

Simon says that master educators in D.C., who conduct teacher evaluations, sometimes have 85-100 teachers to evaluate as compared to about 15-20 each in Montgomery County.

Washington Teachers' Union President Nathan Saunders says teachers will appreciate the change. He says he wants to gain more professional development for teachers.