News 12 at 11o'clock / Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- In any given classroom may be future nurses, engineers or lawyers. No matter how they get there, the ones who help mold their future are the teachers.
It's usually the teachers giving out the grades, but who is holding them accountable? A new pilot program for 26 Georgia school districts will change the way they're graded.
"It's not intended to do something to teachers, but something collaboratively done with teachers," said Richmond County Executive Director for Student Services Carol Rountree.
Rountree is talking about a new program called Teacher Keys. It's a new way some schools in Richmond County will be grading your children's teachers.
"It did not have a component specifically tied to student achievement," said Rountree about the old way.
Starting in January, the improvements your students make in class determine whether the teacher makes the grade.
"The ultimate goal is that we can make the experience an optimal experience," Rountree said.
In this system, your teacher and principals will be graded by someone coming into the class announced and unannounced. Then come the student surveys that are tailored to the subject and student. Test scores will also contribute to the teachers' evaluations.
Dr. Rountree said the survey "is not a very generic form where you just say 'I like my teacher' 'my teacher is great because'..."
These 26 districts are the ones who signed up to receive the Race to the Top grant. In this pilot program, though, Richmond County and 25 other districts in Georgia will be the ones learning a lesson.
"It's to learn more about how is it different? Why is it being done? What's the end product going to be like? Are you really going to make learning better for students?" Rountree said.
It's a new program with many questions but just one goal.
Richmond County says it will start these new evaluations with five schools in January.
Then, the state will phase in the remaining school districts. The plan is to have everyone under this program by 2014.
Some critics say it is hard to track which teachers are responsible for a student's progress. Also, there are teachers like chorus and psychology that don't rely on testing. Officials say they are working out measures and stress nothing is concrete as this is a pilot program.