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UPDATE: Ybarra Says Audit of Teacher Evaluations, Revealing Widespread Mistakes, Wasn't Intended to be 'I Gotcha' of Educators


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December 8, 2016, 11 a.m.

In the wake of an audit of hundreds of Idaho public teacher evaluations which revealed administrators hadn't followed rules or didn't understand the evaluation system, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra sent out a statewide memo December 8, directing "districts to stand tall, stand proud, and stand together to the interpretation of the McREL report on teacher evaluations."

"This audit was never intended to be an 'I gotcha' of Idaho educators," wrote Ybarra. "Superintendents and educators have my full support as I recognize they are working hard to follow the law."

Ybarra added that teacher evaluations were "under scrutiny across the nation, not just in Idaho, and it is likely that the new national administration will leave the solutions up to individual states."

ORIGINAL STORY: December 8, 2016, 9 a.m.

Idaho education officials indicated they're pushing for a re-do after a state audit revealed nearly every Idaho public school teacher evaluation failed to meet state guidelines.

Idaho Education News broke the story Dec. 6, showing 99 percent of teacher evaluations examined in the audit were completed incorrectly and sometimes illegally.

Clark Corbin, of Idaho EdNews, reported auditors found some school administrators "ignored laws and rules for evaluations or did not understand the evaluations system." Out of 225 evaluations audited, only three had been completed correctly.

According to a statement from the Idaho Education Association teachers union: "These professional educators have a positive impact on students and communities throughout the state, and perform excellent work despite facing challenges of inadequate resources and inconsistent support from policy-makers."

The IEA statement added the union was looking forward to "working with other education stakeholders to improving the process and developing an evaluation system that is efficient, fair and reasonable [sic]."

Now, Idaho EdNews reports Idaho State Board of Education President Emma Atchley "is pledging to take immediate corrective action" on the controversial findings.

"The audit raises serious concerns regarding the teacher evaluation process conducted during the 2014-2015 school year," wrote Atchley in a prepared statement. "The State Board takes this function very seriously because the allocation of state funding for teacher salaries is directly linked to the evaluations administrators complete and report."

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