Bill looks to relax teacher evaluations
As the state struggles to recruit and retain teachers, a bill by Assemblywoman Brittney Miller (D-Las Vegas) would allow certain teachers who have been rated as effective or highly effective for two consecutive years to take one year off of evaluation.
Teachers are required to have meetings with their administrators before and after an evaluation and prepare materials such as student data for those meetings. The bill would instead allow a teacher to request to be observed, which would entail administrators coming into a teacher’s classroom and giving them feedback in a less formal process.
During a Monday Senate Education Committee meeting, Miller said the goal of AB269 is to reward effective and highly effective post-probationary teachers who have already completed their first three years of licensed teaching. Miller also proposed an amendment that would exclude teachers who are rated effective or highly effective, but score low on the instructional portion of the evaluation.
“Such an approach not only helps to mitigate their substantial workload, but also shows our teachers that we value and appreciate the good work they are doing in their classrooms,” said Miller, who has previously attempted to amend teacher evaluation policies. “Most importantly, teachers are professionals, and they do not need this evaluation to stay on top of their game or to deliver the best instruction they possibly can.”
The current evaluation system, known as the Nevada Educator Performance Framework, was created under former Gov. Brian Sandoval. In its original form, it aimed to make it easier to fire underperforming teachers.
Under the bill, teachers would be able to request to be evaluated during their observation cycle. The bill prohibits administrators “threatening, intimating, coercing, compelling or requiring” teachers to take part in an observation or evaluation.
If the bill is approved, these provisions would be made retroactive to include evaluations received in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.
The bill would also remove language that requires student data to be part of teacher evaluation. Miller and supporters of the bill said that data doesn’t reflect the effectiveness of a teacher and in some cases aren't gathered appropriately.
“When you're under so much stress, even removing one thing can give you room to breathe,” said Clark County teacher and National Education Association of Southern Nevada President Vicki Kreidel. “We desperately need educators to stay in our state.”
The Clark County School District (CCSD), the Nevada Association of School Superintendents and the state Teacher and Leaders Council, a group created by lawmakers in 2011 that advises the State Board of Education on educator evaluation practices, opposed the bill.
Mary Pierzynski, a lobbyist for the Nevada Association of School Superintendents, said the evaluation is designed to help improve instruction in the classroom and student achievement.
A CCSD representative said while the district is not in support of removing student data entirely from the teacher evaluation process, it’s open to conversation on how those metrics could be adjusted in the future.
Editor’s Note: This story appears in Behind the Bar, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2023 legislative session. Sign up for the newsletter here.
This story was updated on May 2, 2023 at 8:17 a.m. to correct the spelling of Assemblywoman Brittney Miller's first name.