150 MCS Teachers Subject To Firing With New Evaluation Model

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(Memphis) Keith Williams with the Memphis Education Association is frustrated that Memphis City Schools is using the Teacher Effectiveness model as a basis, not for building teachers up, but for firing them.

Williams said that's not what the evaluative system was set up to do, “To support teachers and enhance the teaching and learning process. That is the underlining objective of the teaching effectiveness system, to strengthen teachers, not to dismiss teachers.”

However, Memphis City Schools can let teachers go based on how effective they are in the classroom.

A score measures them in five categories:

  • Student Growth: 35%
  • Student Achievement: 15%
  • Observation of Practice: 40%
  • Student Perceptions: 5%
  • Teacher Content Knowledge: 5%

Teachers are given four evaluations a year and scored:

  • TEM 5: Significantly Above Average
  • TEM 4: Above Expectations
  • TEM 3: Meets Expectations
  • TEM 2: Below Expectations
  • TEM 1: Significantly Below Expectations

Of the 6,800 teachers in Memphis City Schools, 20 percent are considered ineffective. Based on the data gathered, principals have recommended 150 teachers not return next year.

Williams argues it's the districts responsibility to grow a teacher and not make such sweeping cuts.

“I can't say the whole year that this child never got better, therefore it is the child's fault, no that's the teachers fault,” said Williams. “If the teacher never got better, that's the instructional leaders fault.”

Memphis City schools say they've helped teachers improve.

An MCS survey reports 70 percent of teachers said the observation process helped them. Williams says the district needs to take this first year implementation slowly.

“Memphis City should take a step back, take a deep breath and use some sense of logic, reasoning and fidelity with which to implement something this crucial on the lives of children and teachers in this district,” said Williams.

Only 41 of the 60 teachers recommended for firing last year, were actually let go.