This letter in in relation to Liz Bowie's article, "Maryland grapples with evaluating its teachers," July 16. As a retired middle school principal, I remain deeply concerned and disturbed when the authorities keep speaking of student achievement as a strong possible contributing factor in this process.
In my opinion, student achievement should only be a minor portion of such an evaluation, which I believe also should include numerous other elements, such as the school's location and whether it is in a poverty or professional area or some other location in between, as environmental equality exists nowhere.
Therefore, I would like to recommend that the state of Maryland and our state schools superintendent, Nancy S. Grasmick, for whom I have the upmost respect and heartfelt sympathy as she works tirelessly with her educational and political challenges, that they establish in each school district a teacher evaluation team of four or five members. This team will evaluate all teachers plus other educational personnel in all of the schools within their assigned district, and provide each team with the same criteria to be used in observing and discussing the school's operations with each teacher, principal, other staff members and also with some of the students and parents in each school within their district.
Periodic meetings of the chairpersons of all of these district evaluation teams in the state should occasionally hold meetings to assure that everyone involved understands what is expected of them and are operating accordingly.
Such a program would definitely require a very demanding, comprehensive and conscientious participation by each team member, and, if executed properly, should be an outstanding method of a fair, balanced and equal evaluation process of all educational personnel in the state of Maryland.
Quinton D, Thompson, Towson