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California’s Education Leader Says Teacher Evaluations Need To Change

— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said drastic changes are needed in the way teachers and principals are evaluated in California schools. The superintendent made those remarks during his final State Of Education address.

California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell talks about revamping teacher evaluations during the annual State of Education address in Sacramento on January 22, 2010.
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Above: California's State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell talks about revamping teacher evaluations during the annual State of Education address in Sacramento on January 22, 2010.

O'Connell admits the way in which teachers and principals are evaluated doesn't work. He said federal education reforms that California recently approved could help change how that’s done.

The reforms are tied to the Obama administration's Race To The Top program. California schools can now use student test scores in teacher evaluations. O'Connell says test scores should not be the only way people are evaluated, but that it's a key element in measuring performance.

“I don't think anyone of us can stand here today and say we know exactly what the right evaluation system should look like. But it is evident that the current evaluation system provides too little value and it really is time for a change,” O’Connell said.

O'Connell wants teachers unions and school officials to develop a fair evaluation system. The San Diego Unified School District's former Superintendent Terry Grier supported using test scores in evaluations, but a majority of San Diego school board trustees disagreed.

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