ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) announced Wednesday a pilot project to test a new method to assess teacher performance.

This story also appeared on the Capitol Beat News Service

The new program is called GaLEADS. Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, it will be trialed in 12 of his school districts in Georgia. Districts can apply to participate in the pilot.

Public Schools Superintendent Richard Woods said, “We are committed to treating teachers as professionals, for the benefit of our students, and to developing teacher evaluation models that will help them be successful throughout their careers. We are working on it,” said Richard Woods, State Superintendent of Schools.

“This pilot is a proof-of-concept opportunity that will allow us to work with school districts statewide to create a rating system designed for teacher development.”

The DOE recently published a report exploring the causes of teacher burnout in Georgia. The teacher says she faces unrealistic performance expectations, especially given the disruption to learning caused by her COVID pandemic.

“The desire to come out of the pandemic and ‘get back to normal’ is also accompanied by unrealistic expectations…does not give teachers the time, support, resources and compassion to meet students at their current level,” reports the book says.

The Georgia Professional Association of Education (PAGE) has agreed that the new pilot will help address teachers’ concerns about the grading system.

“PAGE is encouraged by the teacher evaluation pilot that was announced,” said Margaret Ciccarelli, the organization’s director of legislative services.

Data from a 2021 statewide survey found that 45% of educators feel that supervisor feedback in the current system does not help their teaching practices.

“A more effective Georgia educator evaluation system will better serve students by supporting teachers at all stages of their careers. We recognize that everyone’s needs are different,” she said.

Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Educators Association, has called for greater teacher involvement in revamping the state’s teacher evaluation program.

“Classroom teachers are professionals and should be the primary voices speaking about the needed support available to themselves and their peers,” she said. I look forward to working with the department to ensure that we are involved.”

Woods, a Republican, was first elected public school superintendent in 2014. He is running for his third term against Democrat Alisha Thomas Searcy.

Searcy hit back at Wednesday’s announcement of a new teacher evaluation program, saying it was an election gimmick and the timing was questionable.

“Why would the current state superintendent, nearly eight years in office, decide to make teacher evaluation a priority now, 69 days before the election?” asked Searcy. “This has been a concern for teachers for at least eight years.”

Mr Searcy said teachers should be involved in reviewing the teacher evaluation process.

“Educators, students, and parents need public school superintendents who are collaborator and seek teacher feedback,” she said.

This article is available through a news partnership with the Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation..

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