TN DOE approves MCS Teacher Effectiveness Measure

With the approval of their new teacher effectiveness measure (TEM), MCS will initiate for the 2011-2012 school year a new and more rigorous process to evaluate the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. In prior years, teacher evaluations have been a formality with more than 99% of teachers receiving satisfactory teacher performance ratings. This evaluation status quo has effectively been killed with the passing of MCS’ new TEM.

Evaluations will now be more professionally collected and analyzed. In addition, teacher evaluations will now be used to inform decisions regarding leadership, compensation, tenure and dismissal.

This is a very important and exciting step towards insuring the right people are teaching our city’s children.

See the press release below:

MEMPHIS, Tenn., June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In a move that solidifies Memphis City Schools’ position as a leader in urban education reform, today the Tennessee State Board of Education unanimously approved the statewide use of the MCS Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM), a groundbreaking method of evaluating teachers. The Board’s decision allows districts throughout Tennessee to use Memphis‘ system for assessing teachers and significantly advances the district’s $110+ million reform agenda.

The TEM is a cornerstone of MCS’ effort to radically transform the city’s public schools, increasing student achievement by improving the effectiveness of its teachers. While many other models of effective teaching rely largely on test scores, the TEM takes a more holistic view of teacher performance. Created by Memphis educators in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the TEM considers teacher content knowledge and the perceptions of stakeholders like students, colleagues and parents, as well as the value add indicators of effectiveness.

With the approval of the TEM, MCS-and any other Tennessee district that chooses to adopt it-will be better able to evaluate teacher practices in the classroom and identify teachers who are most in need of increased support and assistance. Teachers will also be identified who are able to serve as mentors to their peers and contribute their sizeable talents to the district’s neediest students and schools.

In response to the approval, Dr. Kriner Cash, superintendent of MCS, said:

Memphis City Schools is in the vanguard of the national push to increase effective teaching. This endorsement of our work gives us the green light to implement the innovations we are developing to increase effective teaching in our school district. Our teachers and students will benefit immensely when teachers are given the essential tools to make the necessary changes to improve teaching and learning. Our work is focused on providing effective teachers in every classroom, every day. The approval of the TEM is a major endorsement of our efforts.”

Dr. Irving Hamer, the district’s deputy superintendent, added: “With innovations such as TEM, the basis for individualized professional development, reformed career and compensation paths, and teacher recognition and support is set. The opportunity for transformation in education is at hand.”

While state guidelines were developed by education policymakers in Nashville, the TEM was spearheaded by Memphis public school teachers, working in tandem with community leaders and philanthropists. A group comprised of teachers, administrators and other education reformers created the system after extensive research and testing. Their philosophy: Just as teachers are in the best position to determine how well their students perform in the classroom, teachers’ peers are best able to tell whether they are up to the task of properly educating students.

The MCS Board of Commissioners approved the TEM, and the district submitted it to the state for approval in May.