Montgomery Co. schools must rethink school evaluations

WASHINGTON – Montgomery County has long touted its teacher evaluation system, which includes peer review for struggling teachers, as a great tool to ensure quality in the classroom. However, State Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery – the head of Maryland’s schools – is not impressed.

The Gazette reports that Lowery wrote to Montgomery County School Chief Joshua P. Starr, telling him the newest plan for evaluating its nearly 12,000 teachers is still not acceptable under new laws.

According to the article, Lowery says the county’s program must fall into alignment with a rating system that ties teacher pay to student performance.

The president of the county’s teachers union tells the Gazette that if Montgomery County chooses not to comply with the state’s request, the state could withhold aid, Starr could be put in jail or there could be other consequences.

Starr says he wants to know why its plan was rejected before he moves forward with any changes.

Instead of participating in the federal, performance-based Race to the Top program, Montgomery County gives its administrators the option of using state test scores in evaluations, the Gazette reports.

In the past, Montgomery County resisted changing its evaluation process, citing its high graduation rate and test scores.

The Gazette reports that Lowery gave the county until May to resubmit evaluation plans for its schools.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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