Nearly 100 Memphis Teachers Face Firing

(Memphis) Teachers who likely would rather be focusing on their students are now worried about their jobs.

Ninety-seven Memphis city school teaching jobs are in jeopardy. They are finding out under a new evaluation model, they didn’t measure up.

“Teachers are just having some trepidations about their future and what they should do,” says Keith Williams who heads up the Memphis teachers union, the Memphis Education Association.

He says the state evaluation model  is flawed, with  70% of the teachers evaluated by student TCAP scores when  they don’t even teach students who take the TCAP.

“In this district 70% of the teachers don’t have individual scores, they must take the score of the school building in which they work,” says Williams.

It’s why union leaders are calling for a completely new evaluation system. One based on individual student growth instead of state mandated standards.

Special Education Teacher Tamera Malone is part of Teach Plus, a voice for teachers who want a say.

“Yes we have this evaluation tool, we know there are certain expectations.We know there is an accountability piece and also a piece for us to improve,but we want to
make sure we have the resources to make sure we are improving in the classroom,” said Malone.

Teach Plus recently gave the school district a list of things teachers want to see, a fair evaluation process, individual feedback and professional development.

“The more teachers feel this work resonates with them, they are comfortable with it, the greater the results for our students,” says Lisa Watts with Teach Plus.

Many of the 97 teachers who face losing their jobs can still appeal and have tenure hearings.
That number doesn’t include 166 teachers who have been excessed this year, meaning they are not guaranteed to have a position when school starts in the fall.