AZTEC — As deadlines approach for implementing a new teacher evaluation system for New Mexico schools, the Aztec Municipal School District's board of education is urging the state to slow down because parts of the system are still unclear.
The board on Tuesday passed a resolution urging the New Mexico Public Education Department to delay the full implementation of the teacher evaluation system for at least one year.
New Mexico was given a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act to help develop a new evaluation system for teachers to be fully implemented for the 2013-2014 school year.
Superintendent Kirk Carpenter said questions remain about how the system would operate.
"The best analogy I could use is the airplane is taxiing down the runway, and it doesn't have the wings on it," Carpenter said. "We're trying to build it as we are going down the runway."
In the resolution, the board states it hopes the state PED uses the additional time to pilot all components of the proposed system, provide extensive training for evaluators and teachers, and determine how to ensure that all teachers are treated equally, regardless of the subject they teach.
The new system would determine 50 percent of each teacher's evaluation based on three years' worth of the state's Standard Based Assessment test scores.
Another 25 percent would be based on observations, and "mixed measures" -- a mixture of assessments selected by the state and each school district -- would determine the remaining 25 percent.
Carpenter said he hopes to see the system implemented in stages, with the focus first on getting the new system in place before inputting the data into it.
Carpenter said one of the reasons for the board of education's resolution is that the district has yet to test the new system. The resolution states the design of the system could cause a "considerable variation of evaluation criteria depending on the subject taught and compromise the fairness and equity of the system."
"The real change in education, as far as reforming, it won't come from legislation but from what happens on a day-to-day basis in classrooms," Carpenter said.