Study finds 87 percent of Indiana teachers "effective"

Published: .
Updated: .

The first-ever report card on Indiana's public school teachers came out Monday. The vast majority of educators got great grades.

A lot of people looked at these results, how they were gathered and what they say about the quality of Indiana's teachers. Some 55,000 public school teachers, counselors and principals were evaluated. About 90 percent were rated as effective or highly effective.

Nichole Castonguay wasn't surprised. She said her children's teachers are great.

"They take time out to give them the one-on-one attention they need and send stuff home to work on," she said.

The evaluations were done by the local school districts. The Department of Education crunched the numbers.

Twenty-six and a half percent of educators are rated "highly effective" and 61 percent are rated "effective." Two percent need improvement and less than 0.5 percent were rated ineffective. Ten percent of educators were not evaluated.

Some interesting numbers: 22 school districts were determined to have no teachers rated "highly effective," while 162 districts had no teachers ranked "ineffective." Charter schools were not included, though they will be next year, and 60 school corporations did not participate.

The evaluation process is not in teacher contracts yet.

Critics raised some serious questions about the evaluation process and the results. For instance, about half of IPS students pass their ISTEP exams, yet less than 6 percent of the teachers were rated as "ineffective" or "needing improvement." Statewide, more than a fourth of students fail ISTEP, but only two percent of their teachers are rated "improvement necessary." Less than one percent rated "ineffective."

Stand for Children Indiana Executive Director Justin Ohlemiller issued the following statement after today's release of teacher evaluation numbers:

"Teachers have one of the hardest and most important jobs in our community. That's why it's critical that we reward and honor great teachers, and do everything we can to help those who are struggling grow and succeed in their profession.

"Aiding teachers in their growth starts with an honest assessment of their job performance. That's why the data released today on teacher evaluations in Indiana is so troubling. It's not providing a true and accurate assessment, and it certainly is not giving parents and our community insight into whether our children are experiencing great instruction in our classrooms.

"Given that one in four Hoosier children are not passing the state ISTEP assessment, how is it that 97 percent of those teachers who were rated have been classified in the top two categories of effectiveness? Today's data simply does not correlate with the student results we're seeing in the classroom.

"Furthermore, the teacher evaluation system in Indiana is not a unified system at all - it's dozens of different models being implemented dozens of different ways. Teachers in one district are being measured in drastically different ways compared to teachers in another district. So in reality, the data today is not really comparable or meaningful. We're measuring apples to elephants, district by district.

"If we care about honoring great teachers and getting support for those teachers who need professional development, then we need a uniform system that is implemented consistently around the state. Today's data solidifies the case for overhauling Indiana's current teacher evaluation system."

Check your school district's results.

See the results here.