GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Michigan Department of Education has released a breakdown of teacher effectiveness for schools across the state.
The list shows how Michigan teachers were rated based on a standard created by lawmakers in 2011. Teachers were evaluated at the end of the last school year, and given a rating of "Highly Effective," "Effective," "Minimally Effective," or "Ineffective."
== Read the effectiveness list in its entirety (xls) ==
But the value of these ratings is in doubt because each district was allowed to use its own criteria in rating its teachers.
"The ratings that you are seeing right now are not, I think, anything of value at this point in time," said Jenison Public Schools Superintendent Tom Tenbrink. "In Jenison, we hold the bar really, really high for our teachers, so we had very few teachers rated "highly effective" in this first evaluation cycle, where some other districts ranked their teachers "Highly Effective" based sometimes on the same criteria."
More than 90% of Jenison teachers were rated as "Effective." In Cedar Springs Schools, more than 90% were rated as "Highly Effective."
"Its like if you are in one teacher's classroom and you need to get a 100% to get an A, or you could be in another teacher's classroom to get 90% and its still an A," Tenbrink explained to 24 Hour News 8.
Statewide, 22.34% of teachers were rated "Highly Effective" by their districts. 74.74% were rated "Effective." Less than 1% of teachers were rated "Ineffective." Districts say it is important to remember that these ratings were done at the end of the last school year and some teachers are no longer in the same schools or even with the district.
The law stipulates that districts must notify parents whose children are placed in a classroom with a teacher who has been ranked as "Ineffective" for two consecutive years. Teachers rated as "Ineffective" three years in a row must be terminated.
The Michigan Department of Education says there are more than 800 different rating systems being used by Michigan school districts.
Right now, the law says that all of those systems need to be based "in significant part" on student growth and achievement. Next year, student growth and achievement will count for 25% of a teacher's rating. That goes up to 40% in the 2014-2015 school year and 50% in the 2015-2016 year.
The state is working to define "student growth and achievement" for school districts and to create a common evaluation model, but Tenbrink is concerned it will focus too much on student test scores.
"We want our 'Highly Effective' teachers working with some of our struggling students, which is going to cause them to be in a situation where maybe they aren't going to have the highest test scores but they are going to make the biggest improvement for every student according to their ability," said Tenbrink.
The information released by the Michigan Department of education breaks down the number of teachers given each rating in each school. For information about individual teachers, the state recommends you contact your local school district.
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