NACS Officials Weigh In On Governor's Education Reforms

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 3, 2011 Updated Jan 3, 2011 at 7:07 PM EDT

ALLEN COUNTY, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Every school district in the state will watch the upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly with interest, to see if lawmakers try to push through significant education reforms favored by Republican Governor Mitch Daniels.

The reforms weren’t on the agenda for Monday’s Northwest Allen County school board meeting, but we used the occasion to ask the district’s superintendent and board president what they think about them.

One of the big changes has to do with how to evaluate the job performance of teachers.

Northwest Allen is a top-level public school corporation.

But no matter the school system, Daniels wants changes to reward better teachers, and identify and get rid of those doing a bad job.

Daniels has gone on record saying it can't be right that 99 percent of Indiana teachers are rated effective, if only one third of Hoosier students are passing national reading and math tests.

Grading teachers based on student outcomes makes Northwest Allen's superintendent nervous.

Dr. Chris Himsel/NACS Superintendent: " As of right now, we only have test scores for reading and for math and only for grades 3 through 8, and so what we're trying to do is come up with multiple ways of determining whether or not our teachers are being successful, and test scores do not necessarily indicate all those successes that we have."

Ron Felger/NACS Board President: " Some teachers come from tough school systems that have kids that just don't have the home support and I think it would be unfair to do that."

Felger was referring to judging teachers solely on student performance from standardized testing.

Daniels also favors an expansion of charter schools, believing that giving parents more options will result in delivery of higher quality education.

The republican-dominated legislature begins its work on education issues and other matters this week.

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