By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
HONOLULU — A national report praises Hawaii for being one of only a few states with a teacher evaluation system that ties teachers’ compensation to their performance.
“In most other professions, performance matters and good performance is rightfully rewarded with promotions and salary increases,” the National Council on Teacher Quality said in the report released Wednesday. “But not in teaching. Unfortunately, across the United States, there is little movement to base teacher salary on performance.”
The report highlights that just Hawaii, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Utah and the District of Columbia directly tie teacher compensation to teacher evaluation results.
Teacher evaluations were implemented this school year after a bitter contract dispute between the state and the Hawaii State Teachers Association over the issue.
Starting in July, only teachers who receive a rating of “effective” or higher will be eligible to receive pay increases. The evaluation system is also a key part of reforms that won Hawaii a $75 million federal “Race to the Top” grant.
“Hawaii was in flux for so long,” said Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based council. “Now that things have begun to play out, it does look like the requirements in place look good for building a strong system. It certainly has been a struggle.”
The report has some recommendations for Hawaii, including making aggregate school-level data about teacher performance publicly available. That data is especially meaningful for a statewide district like Hawaii, Jacobs said, to show how equitably teachers are distributed within schools. “High-needs schools need to have same access to effective teachers,” she said.
Jacobs said the council will be tracking how Hawaii’s teacher evaluation policies evolve.