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    OTES allows many teachers to choose their evaluator

    As many Ohio school districts and their teacher organizations undertake collective bargaining for 2014-15 and beyond, increasing focus is falling upon the provisions of OTES—the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System developed by the Ohio Department of Education.

    One particular feature of OTES which comes as a surprise to many educators and administrators is a provision which allows certain teachers to choose who will evaluate them. The provision (shown in context below) states:

    • Teachers with above expected levels of student growth will develop a professional growth plan and may choose their credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle.
    • Teachers with expected levels of student growth will develop a professional growth plan collaboratively with the credentialed evaluator and will have input on their credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle.
    • Teachers with below expected levels of student growth will develop an improvement plan with their credentialed evaluator. The administration will assign the credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle and approve the improvement plan.

    See ODE web document: State Evaluation Framework Narrative (September 2013). These concepts are repeated throughout the published OTES materials.

    It should be noted that although the language above appears in ODE’s “state framework” document, the subject of evaluator selection is not one of the elements of the “state framework” prescribed by law. (See ORC 3319.112.)

    Given the complexity of the issues involved, boards of education will want to consult with knowledgeable legal counsel before incorporating evaluation procedures into their collective bargaining agreements which may not be required under the new statutory scheme.

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