In a review requested by the Dougco teachers union, state officials found no evidence that the school district’s teacher evaluation system violated state law.
The review, which kicked off in May, was the first of its kind to come out of a 2013 law that required the state to respond to complaints about district evaluation systems. It was prompted by a grievance filed by the local teachers union, which alleged the district procedure did not meet with state law and resulted in inconsistent evaluations.
Courtney Smith, the head of the teachers’ union, questioned the findings, saying she was “shocked” by the outcome. In an email to teachers, she said, “Despite a definitive finding from…nationally-recognized experts in the field of teacher evaluation creation and implementation that the DCSD system is both invalid and unreliable, CDE has chosen not to act and instead will allow a dysfunctional and demeaning system to remain in place.”
The union’s complaint was based on two reports by the consulting group Teaching Learning Solutions, who were initially hired by the district to review its processes.
District officials said, in a statement, that they were pleased with the outcome.
The state’s review centered on three primary areas: whether the system aligns with state standards for teachers, how well evaluations are validated, and whether the district’s process for evaluating teachers was transparent.
On the first two counts, the state said the district presented that they met the expectations of the law and did not ask for any additional work from the district. However, the state review indicated the process for reviewing teachers’ scores was not clearly communicated to the district’s teachers.
Read the full letter from Robert Hammond, Colorado’s education commissioner: