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New Mexico official: Teacher evaluation system may affect teachers' pay but has flexibility


ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Teachers who receive a poor rating on New Mexico's new evaluation system could see their paycheck affected, the state's public education chief said Monday.

However, Hanna Skandera said there is flexibility because teachers rated "ineffective" or "minimally effective" can get a recommendation from their principal and still move up the state's three-tiered licensure system, which determines their minimum pay, the Albuquerque Journal ( reported.

The issue is especially important for relatively new hires, because teachers must move to the second tier by their fifth year or their contacts will not be renewed, Skandera said.

Teachers who get the unfavorable ratings aren't allowed to submit dossiers required for advancement under the tier system, in which minimum pay ranges from $32,000 to $50,000.

The evaluations have faced scrutiny since they were first released in May, with many teachers reporting errors in their scores.

Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, said teachers have been asking about the dossier issue since the evaluations' release. Other questions about the new system also have been raised throughout the last year, and the confusion has been frustrating for teachers, she said.

"This is supposed to be an accountability system, and it's supposed to be transparent," Bernstein said.

The New Mexico School Superintendents' Association sent a letter to Skandera last week asking for clarity on the dossier issue. The letter said the Public Education Department had given districts conflicting information about whether teachers with poor evaluation scores would be able to submit dossiers.

Information from: Albuquerque Journal,

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