News Story

Almost Every Teacher and Administrator at Poor Performing Districts Rated 'Effective'

Flint Schools gives 94 percent of teachers and 99 percent of administrators good marks

In recent staff performance evaluations by the Flint Community School district, 94 percent of its teachers and 99 percent of administrators were rated as “effective” – the second highest rating a school employee can receive.

However, those ratings do not correlate with the academic progress of students in Flint schools, whose average performance during the same two year period reflect the district’s troubled history of poor outcomes. During the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, 62 percent of Flint schools placed in the lowest 10 percent on the state’s “Top-to-Bottom” academic rankings.

Even when student progress is adjusted for socioeconomic status, the district’s performance is little better.

According to ratings which do adjust for student backgrounds compiled by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, seven Flint schools earned "F" grades, 12 got "C" grades and only one merited an "A" based on data from 2009 to 2012.

The Mackinac Center’s high school and elementary/middle school report cards provide more detail.

Three years after a law was passed to reform how school districts evaluate teachers, there is evidence of a large disconnect between the academic performance of many Michigan public schools and assessments of their teachers’ effectiveness.

“It’s a travesty – the teacher evaluation system,” said Gary Naeyaert, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project. “You can’t have one-third of the kids not able to read and only 2 percent of the teachers as ineffective. It defies logic.”

Naeyaert said House Bill 5223 (for teachers) and House Bill 5224 (for administrators) would create a new system that would base up to 50 percent of the evaluation on academic growth of students. Part of the evaluations would also include classroom observations of teaching techniques. Both bills are in the Senate Education Committee.

Naeyaert said tying performance evaluations to student achievement will make it harder for districts to give teachers and administrators positive evaluations when the academic progress of students in the district’s schools paints a different picture.

School districts were required to report their ratings of teachers’ effectiveness in 2011-12 based on a state law that established four categories of effectiveness: highly effective, effective, minimally effective and ineffective.

Flint is far from being the only Michigan school district whose teacher evaluations don’t mesh with the overall academic performance of its students. Just nine miles down the road from Flint in Genesee County, evaluations of its teachers by the Beecher Community Schools give little indication that schools there are in the bottom tier of student academic progress.

Of 184 teacher evaluations covering two school years, there were 32 “highly effective” assessments and just five “ineffective” ones. The district issued 142 “effective” evaluations and five “minimally effective” ratings, according to the most recent data available to the public.

Yet none of the district’s four schools were rated above the bottom 16th percentile of public schools in the Michigan Department of Education’s rankings. The Mackinac Center gave the four Beecher schools 3 "F" grades and a "D" based on its socioeconomic-adjusted ratings.

Beecher administrators also were rated highly in the district’s evaluations. Six were assessed to be “highly effective,” seven “effective” and just two “minimally effective.”

The superintendents of the two districts did not respond to a request for comment.


See also:

Almost No Teachers in District's Low-Performing Schools Considered 'Ineffective'

Dozens of School Districts Consider All Teachers the Same

Less Than 1 Percent of Michigan Teachers Rated 'Ineffective'

Failing School Ranks Every Teacher and Principal 'Highly Effective'

Failing Schools Able to Mark Themselves Up to a Passing Grade

State Gives Failing Schools Perfect Grades For Paperwork

State Says Schools in 'Distress' Are Making 'Adequate Yearly Progress'

Seniority No Longer Supreme For Teacher Recalls