Following up on a previous post about “Houston Teachers Suing over their District’s EVAAS Use,” an opinion piece released this summer via The Houston Chronicle about the realities of another teacher in Houston working for 15 years in the district, highlights some of the same and a few more of the unfortunate details, including details about those who are reportedly choosing, now, not to teach in the district.
The authors write, “the tool that the Houston Independent School District school board had hoped would keep its best teachers in the classroom is actually sending great teachers running,” and here are some reasons why:
The one teacher highlighted in this piece, “holds a mathematics degree from the University of Houston, has taught all levels of high school mathematics for 15 years…and has repeatedly pursued assignments in high-needs schools with large Latino populations. While administrators, parents and peers have consistently rated him as a highly effective teacher, his EVAAS scores have varied wildly. While at [one district high school], he earned one of the highest EVAAS scores and year-end bonuses possible. Two years ago, teaching the same subject at [another high school] he received a below-average EVAAS score.” This teacher decided to leave the high-needs school in which his students’ performance apparently “biased” his results. He explained, “I can’t afford to be heroic. I want to be in the toughest schools, but the EVAAS model interprets my students’ challenges as my personal [and professional] failure.” For this teacher the ‘unintended consequences meant leaving the students who needed him most.”
Likewise, there seems to be anecdotal evidence that the EVAAS model may be preventing other reportedly “great” teachers from entering the district as well. Although in the article no “hard” numbers are provided, the authors report that “Instructors for teaching certification programs report that their students [i.e., future teachers] are increasingly looking for jobs outside of HISD.” This makes sense, as well, as HISD has been looking for more teachers out of the state, specifically in North Carolina where teacher salaries are among the lowest (read more about this here).
Overall, the authors conclude that “[o]ver the coming months, [the district’s board of] trustees [must] decide whether HISD will continue to evaluate teachers with flawed and unreliable models [i.e., the EVAAS in particular]….”
“Like [with] the seven highly regarded HISD teachers who have filed a lawsuit against the district, the community must call upon the school board to send EVAAS packing. [Houston’s] children deserve no less,” nor do any other districts’ children for that matter.