Today, the NJ Department of Education released evaluation data from 2014-15 showing that over 98.4 percent of teachers in New Jersey were rated effective or highly effective. While those results are very encouraging and worth highlighting, NJEA also remains concerned about fundamental problems with the evaluation system, including the use of standardized test scores. The weight given to those scores was tripled in August, a change that will be reflected in the current year’s evaluations.
NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer released this statement today:
“The teacher evaluation data released today confirms what students and parents across the state already know: New Jersey’s schools are filled with talented, hard-working teachers who take their jobs seriously and excel at what they do. Of course, we already knew that was true because New Jersey’s schools are among the very best in the nation. Their success is a direct result of the teachers and other school employees who work hard every day to give our students the education they deserve. The evaluation system didn’t cause that success; it only offers one more bit of evidence that our schools remain successful.
“It is unfortunate, then, that New Jersey’s evaluation system continues to cause undue stress to teachers and students alike. By using test score data in evaluation, the Department of Education has created a climate of pressure and fear around testing that hurts everyone in our schools. Instead of recognizing that and working to mitigate it, the Department of Education actually tripled the weight given to test scores for the current year, ensuring that the negative effects will be even greater going forward.
“Thousands of New Jersey families have already chosen to reject the state’s test-centric approach to education by refusing to allow their children to participate in PARCC. The state should recognize that we don’t need high-stress, high-stakes tests and evaluations to get great results. We need to respect educators, support students and ensure that our schools have the resources they need to maintain and grow their success.”