Childers objects to teacher license change
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Staff Writer
Sep 15, 2013 | 1349 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Recent changes to teacher licensure have some educators concerned.

The approved changes will take effect in 2015.

The Tennessee Board of Education has made changes to streamline the licensure process and tie renewal to student growth scores. These scores, called Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System or TVAAS scores, are determined based on a complex formula and students’ end-of year test scores.

Former president of the Bradley County Association of Professional Educators Tim Childers said he was not in favor of the changes.

“The state Board of Education has ruled that it is now possible to not simply fire a teacher for being ineffective; now, they are able to strip the teacher's license and end a teacher's career even though they may have been evaluated as an effective teacher according to the evaluation models in place. I find their decision to be unacceptable,” Childers said.

Childers said the state’s new evaluation system was designed to limit the impact TVAAS scores had on a teacher’s final score to 35 percent of the total evaluation.

“TVAAS is a measure of growth for a student from one year to the next. Using an extremely complex statistical model, we predict where a student should [perform] on the next round of TCAP tests after the model has removed such factors as race, sex, socio-economic status, etc. The theory is that TVAAS is only impacted by one factor: the effectiveness of the teacher,” Childers said.

Childers said he was concerned about hinging a teachers on student growth scores.

“There is much more to being an effective teacher than TVAAS results. The evaluation conducted by administrators and lead teachers is supposed to be the most strongly favored of the various ways teachers are evaluated,” Childers said.

“The new law states that a teacher that scores 1 on TVAAS for two out of three consecutive years will lose his or her license. But, a teacher can still be ranked a 3 overall even with a 1 on TVAAS.”

The number of years a professional teacher’s license will be good for will also be changing in 2015.

“Initial licenses will be valid for three years, with one renewal possible based on performance. Professional licenses will be valid for six years and are renewable based on performance,” the Tennessee Department of Education website said.

The process will be streamlined to require less paperwork and time on the part of the teacher.

According to the Tennessee Department of Education, teachers who are meeting the requirements will be able to renew their licenses automatically.