New results show that most of Hawaii's public school teachers are earning high marks despite complaints about a controversial evaluation system that ties pay to performance. Nearly 98% of Hawaii's more than 11,000 public school teachers earned scores in the top two categories.
The results of the Educator Effectiveness System indicated that 16% are rated as highly effective. 81.7% are considered effective. 2.1% earned a marginal rating which indicates improvements are needed. 0.2%, or 25 teachers, are considered unsatisfactory. The ratings covered the 2013-2014 school year.
"The numbers shook out to about what we expected. We always knew that we had really good teachers in the Department of Education, very hard-working, committed folks," said Ronn Nozoe, deputy superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education.
"I don't think we should look at these results and say, 'Well, it can't really be true.' From my own experience, it's been true," said Board of Education member Brian De Lima.
During that first year of statewide implementation in the 2013-14 school year, the results had no negative impact on tenured teachers. Only two new educators lost their jobs for a rating of unsatisfactory.
"It's not supposed to be a punitive measure. I realize that there were two teachers that were fired from their positions, but HSTA is looking at the process and testing that it's fair and reliable," said Wil Okabe, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.
Many educators said the new evaluation system was confusing and that the classroom observations and other elements took too much time.
"The implementation was not done with fidelity and therefore the results that you get, you have to question it," said retired principal Darrel Galera.
Nozoe said the evaluation is a work in progress. DOE officials made several changes to this year's evaluation based on feedback.
"The changes are centered around the theme of streamline, simplify and differentiate," explained Nozoe.
But Okabe and some other educators are still concerned about uniform implementation of the system and the lengthy time commitment.
"Sitting principals have been sharing that although they've made some good changes in reducing the number of observations, there are new additional requirements that are involved in the process," said Galera.