The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 19, 2013

Neosho Education Association not happy with teacher evaluation program

Board president: Pilot programs designed to find flaws

By Roger McKinney

NEOSHO, Mo. — The president of the Neosho Education Association on Monday told the Neosho Board of Education that many teachers are displeased with a teacher evaluation tool the district is trying under a pilot program.

Joyce Cantrell, president of the local branch of the National Education Association, said her phone rang nearly nonstop when the Network for Educator Effectiveness program was put in place in Neosho.

“We feel it has not been implemented incorrectly this year as a pilot program,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell said teachers have no problem with change. She said one of the problems seems to be teachers being scored low to motivate them to improve.

Cantrell said she has heard board members praising the program, but she has heard other opinions from members.

She also said a no-cost teacher evaluation tool is expected to be produced by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“It’s just something we’re questioning, something we have a concern about,” Cantrell said. “Our jobs depend on our evaluations.”

Board President Brett Day asked Cantrell to present him with some more specific problems teachers have with the program.

“The reasons we pilot a program is to find the shortcomings,” Day said.

During the meeting, district operations manager Tim Crawley said architects continue to work on plans for Federal Emergency Management Agency safe rooms at Neosho High School and  South Elementary School.

At the high school, the plan calls for an 18-classroom, two-story addition at the front of the building. A gym is planned at South Elementary School. The cost to the district, beyond what FEMA would pay, is around $5.2 million.

Crawley said high school teachers are enthusiastic about the project.

“We’re getting a lot of great comments at the high school” where the plans are displayed, Crawley said.

Effective educators

The Network for Educator Effectiveness program was developed at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Its promotional material to teachers notes a purpose of ensuring every student has an effective teacher by promoting teacher growth.