An open letter to State Legislatures

Teacher Evaluations

10 so far! Let’s get to 25 signers!

I beg a moment of your time to consider a simple way we as a state might better serve teachers in this year of difficulty and upheaval. To wit: Teachers, in normal years, are subject to professional evaluation. When applied under the care of empathetic leadership, evaluations can be effective tools to help teachers better their craft. This year, however, teachers are faced with the academic repercussions of the pandemic. There are the unworkable expectations of managing student social distancing and masks, along with the added burdens of extra technology—burdens compounded by equipment and infrastructure difficulties beyond the teachers’ control. All of this is taxing on the mental and physical health of our educational professionals. School systems’ attempts to follow state policy to the letter by continuing with customary teacher evaluations in the midst of this dynamic, unprecedented situation will result in undue strain on the already stretched mental resources of these essential employees. The Tennessee General Assembly is not scheduled to meet again until January, but by that time, around half of teacher evaluations will have already taken place according to the normal evaluation schedule. Waiting to deal with this matter on the present legislative calendar is both wholly inadequate and entirely unacceptable. I ask that a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly be called to address the matter of teacher evaluations for the 2020-2021 academic year. Our teachers’ mental and physical health is dependent on a quick resolution to this matter.

First sent on September 20, 2020 by Essential workers

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