June 22, 2015

APS takes issue with 30 percent of its teacher evaluations

Photo Credit: albertogp123 via Compfight cc

New Mexico’s largest public school district wants the state to take a second look at nearly one-third of the evaluations the state conducted on its teachers.

Photo Credit: albertogp123 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: albertogp123 via Compfight cc

As of Friday, June 19, Albuquerque Public Schools submitted formal inquiries on behalf of 1,671 teachers to the state Public Education Department over problems with evaluations. That’s just over thirty percent of the 5,538 APS teachers who received state evaluations this year.

APS spokeswoman Johanna King was careful to explain that the district doesn’t necessarily believe that all 1,671 contested evaluations are wrong. She said some of the inquiries ask for clarifications or more information, while others question an entire evaluation’s validity.

“Some of them could be, ‘I don’t understand why,’ or, ‘What does that mean?’” King said.

It’s unclear how long the state’s Public Education Department will take to answer all of APS’ inquiries. Education Department spokesman Robert McEntyre did not return New Mexico Political Report’s phone calls or emails for this story.

In an interview conducted last month, APS Special Projects Director Carla Greene told New Mexico Political Report that the state would “probably” not answer until July at the earliest.

This year marked the second in which the state has been conducting annual teacher evaluations. In most cases, half of each New Mexico teacher’s evaluation is based on a controversial “value added model” of three years worth of student standardized test scores.

While critics say relying this much on standardized testing is unfair in itself, several teachers are reporting that their scores aren’t based on their own classroom tests, or even their own students.

A lawsuit filed by the Albuquerque Federation of Teachers against the state alleges “widespread errors” in the teacher evaluation process, including missing data, using wrong students and incorrect teacher absences.

Last week, a Santa Fe judge struck down the state’s motion to dismiss the suit, which currently sits in the First Judicial Court.

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  • Joey Peters

    Joey Peters has been a journalist for nearly a decade. Most recently, his reporting in New Mexico on closed government policies earned several accolades. Peters has also worked as a reporter in Washington DC and the Twin Cities. Contact him by phone at (505) 226-3197.