Bill Gates $40M grant to Pittsburgh hinges on teacher evaluations
It’s no secret that Bill Gates’ efforts to improve public education are focused on teacher evaluations. Now, the Pennsylvania Department of Education may have saved Gates’ $40 million grant to Pittsburgh Public Schools by approving its evaluation system and performance ranges for teachers.
Superintendent Linda Lane said, “I’m really pleased that the work our teachers and our principal is affirmed. There are thousands of hours that have gone into this.”
The school district and its teachers were able to come to an agreement on an evaluation system, however the performance ranges, specifically what would be a failing grade for a teacher, are still unconfirmed.
Four percent of the teachers received an unsatisfactory rating in the past year’s evaluations. These teachers will now be on a support plan aimed to promote growth and improvement. Upon receiving a second unsatisfactory grade, the teachers may be fired, although the goal is to not allow teachers to receive a second unsatisfactory rating.
The teachers union firmly believes that the standard is too strict and that qualified teachers may be unnecessarily fired from their jobs. President of the Union, Nina Esposito Visgitis says that the union is “not surprised and disappointed” by the state ruling.
Superintendent Lane calls the agreement on an evaluation system a victory for the students and that education should improve under the evaluation system and performance ranges.
I am pleased to see that an agreement on the evaluation system in Pittsburgh has been made and agreed upon. Bill Gates’ efforts are proving worth it based on other places he has made donations — and hopefully this grant will take the same course.