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November 24, 2014

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Officials expect development of a teacher evaluation system to be contentious process

Developing a system to evaluate Nevada's teachers and administrators won't happen without disagreement and debate, officials said today.

"It's going to take a lot of discussion and compromise," Keith Rheault, superintendent of the state Department of Education, told the state Board of Education today. "I see a great deal of internal disagreement."

The effort follows the Legislature's passage of a bill creating a 15-member board to draft standards for rating teachers and administrators.

"This affects 28,000 teachers and administrators," Rheault said.

Board member David Cook of Carson City called the law "the centerpiece" of education reforms sought by lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval. And "if this is a bad product it undercuts reform," he said.

At least 50 percent of the annual evaluations must be based on student achievement. But pupils' performance must not be the sole criteria for evaluating educators. Teachers are now rated either "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory", while the new grading system will use the rankings, "highly effective", "effective", "minimally effective" and "ineffective". Teacher judged to be ineffective for two years will be placed on probationary status.

Sandoval will appoint 11 of the Teachers and Leaders Council of Nevada's members, which will include teachers, administrators, a school support worker, school board members, a representative of school training programs and a parent. Rheault will name two people to the panel and Rheault and Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, or their designees will serve on the panel.

The council must complete its recommendations by June 1, 2012 and the state Education Board must adopt the final evaluation standards by June 1, 2013.

The board also started its discussion on its role in selecting a superintendent of public instruction to replace Rheault, who is retiring next year. The board in the past chose the superintendent. But a new law requires the board to submit recommendations to the governor who then make the appointment.

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