As a member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and a director of human resources, I am appealing to the Louisiana Legislature to revisit COMPASS — the new teacher/leader evaluation program.
No teacher is opposed to an evaluation process; however, many teachers have concerns about the validity and reliability of COMPASS, particularly when Charlotte Danielson (architect of COMPASS’ key “Danielson Rubric” metric now used to evaluate teachers) is quoted in the January edition of the School Administrator as saying that districts or states should spend a year or more studying the process before implementing.
Louisiana did not do this.
In another news article, she states her model should be used in its original format — unlike the piecemeal approach that has occurred in Louisiana. Louisiana’s implementation of Danielson’s evaluation process has been swift and piecemeal, contrary to the advice of Danielson.
The hasty implementation of policies, with limited discussions regarding their long-range implications, has impacted the morale of our teachers. It is frustrating to see great teachers leave Louisiana’s public schools. Attrition levels are high, and recruiting new teachers is a challenge.
Recently, as a personnel director in St. Martin Parish, I offered a position to a new teacher who declined the job offer, saying she was going to “wait to see what happens”; she was concerned that COMPASS would not be a fair evaluation of her contributions in the classroom and was thinking of finding employment in another profession.
Some dispute that COMPASS is the reason for teacher attrition in Louisiana. Some even deny that teacher attrition is a concern. While COMPASS may not be the sole reason for the sudden departure of teachers, there is no denying that untested, hastily implemented teacher evaluation programs and other policies are frustrating and contribute to poor morale among teachers.
Education is critical to every child’s success. Moving forward, with experienced and effective teachers resigning or retiring, and new teachers harder to recruit, I see educational opportunities for students diminishing. Is this our goal?
Lottie P. Beebe, District 3 member
Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education