N.J. teachers will spend less time under evaluation with new rules

N.J. teachers will spend less time under evaluation with new rules

Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comBy Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 
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on January 04, 2017 at 4:11 PM, updated January 04, 2017 at 5:39 PM

TRENTON -- New Jersey teachers will be evaluated by their supervisors in three 20-minute sessions a year under new rules approved Wednesday that significantly reduce the amount of time principals must spend observing classrooms.

The state Board of Education unanimously approved new educator effectiveness regulations at its meeting in Trenton. The changes were recommended by the state Department of Education, which found principals could get all the information they needed after observing teachers in the....

Under the current system, teachers with one or two years of experience are required to be evaluated by a supervisor for a total of 100 minutes. The observations must include at least two 40-minute sessions and one 20-minute session.

Under the new rules, the evaluations will be cut to a minimum of 60 minutes total. Each of the three observations must be a minimum of 20 minutes.

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Veteran teachers will also receive fewer classroom observations under the new regulations. State officials estimate the reduced requirements will give principals and administrators 35 extra hours a year to do other tasks.

The board approved the new rules without any discussion.

Officials with the New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teacher organization, previously said they found the new rules "perplexing."

The reduced observation requirements come as the state has been placing increasing emphasis on student test scores and how teacher are performing in the classroom.

"How can you really tell what a teacher is doing in two or three 20-minute snap shots," NJEA spokesman Matt Stagliano said in May, after the new rules were proposed.

But state officials argued research shows supervisors generally get all the information they need for an evaluation within 18 minutes. Under the new rules, principals are permitted to spend extra time observing teachers if they feel they need extra time for a fair evaluation.

Kelly Heyboer may be reached at kheyboer@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.

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