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Reports from Policy Analysts

UPDATE: Evaluations Review and Training

Submitted On: Friday, February 3, 2017

Analyst: Dyer, Darlene/Wood River High School

Last month the Idaho State Board of Education (SBOE) announced they would seek a new review process for the teacher evaluations controversy that dumbfounded many lawmakers and SBOE members. They will not be using the Denver-based firm of McREL International, whose audit revealed 99 percent of evaluations did not meet the state’s requirements.  


Conducting their own review, the SBOE will select 200 random Idaho administrators and a list of all the teachers they evaluated, isolating two teachers and a staff member from each.  Districts will then need to submit observation data, summative evaluation, student achievement, and teacher practice of those employees. The results of the SBOE review will be published by mid-February.

In the wake of this teacher evaluation protocol confusion, Governor Otter wants to give the SBOE $2.5 million for training administrators and supervisors despite State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s proposal of $300,000 for training those who evaluate teachers.  Some legislators are now focusing on the career ladder and its tie to teacher evaluation; such renewed funding might only be viable if the evaluation process is improved. Raises under the career ladder are dependent upon evaluations.

School district superintendents are concerned about why the SBOE will oversee the evaluation process instead of the State Department of Education (SDE). Shouldn’t the SBOE just write the rules and then permit the SDE and superintendents to implement them?  The current practice is that administrators submit evaluation data to the SDE and the SBOE audits them. Dwight Richins, Superintendent of West Jefferson, thinks the SBOE could complicate evaluations even more. 


Superintendent Brian Kress from Blackfoot sees the involvement of the SBOE as more costly. Professional development is an “ongoing process” and evaluations training is needed, but not $2.5 million worth.  He said Ybarra’s proposed $300,000 is more in line with what administrators would need.  “The $2.2 million difference could be much more well spent in other areas,” such as health insurance premiums.

Even lawmakers are concerned about the governor’s proposed budget, SBOE’s purview, and whether the state would ultimately have a reliable system of evaluation.  But budget-writers for Otter decided that both the training fit with the SBOE’s mission and the amount was similar to what other states were doing.


Bodkin, Devin. “Superintendents Applaud Teacher Raises but Question the Future of Teacher Evaluations.”  Idaho Education News. 01 Feb 2017.

Corbin, Clark.  “State Board Won’t Hire McRel for Teacher Evaluations Review.”  Idaho Education News. 04 Jan 2017.

“Idaho Superintendents Weigh-In on Career Ladder, Evaluations.”  Idaho Education Association Hotline. 01 Feb 2017.

Richert, Kevin.  “Statehouse Roundup, 1.24.17: State Board Questioned on Evaluations Training.”  Idaho Education News.  24 Jan 2017.

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