published Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Haslam backs plan to keep teacher evaluations secret

Should teacher evaluations be secret?

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam says he agrees with legislative moves to keep new state evaluations of individual public school teachers off limits to the parents and the rest of the public.

Legislation to do just that is already on its way to a Senate floor vote after being approved Wednesday by the House Education Subcommittee.

“I actually think it should” be kept confidential, Haslam said today. “The goal of evaluations is to have whoever’s being evaluated get as much help from that as they can. And my experience has been, if people know that evaluation is going to be public, they [evaluators] are going to be a little less honest with that.”

Moreover, Haslam argued, “we’re trying to encourage people to be teachers. So if I’m a 20-year-old thinking about teaching, and I’m saying, ‘Huh, every quarter, every half-year, whatever, my evaluation’s going to be out there in the paper, am I?’

“I mean, I’d ask of you – do you want to do that? Have your evaluations be in the paper twice a year? Or would that make you less likely to choose that profession?”

Frank Gibson, public policy director and a lobbyist for the Tennessee Press Association, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the move is unfair to parents, the public and the media.

“It's tragic that we have a new educational model establishing accountability and we make secret records on whether it is working or not,” he said.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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