The Boston Teachers Union says the state's new teacher evaluation system is racially biased.
Boston union officials say black teachers in Boston are five times more likely than white teachers to get an unsatisfactory evaluation — which could eventually lead to termination. And Hispanic teachers are more than twice as likely to get a poor rating.
Richard Stutman, the president of the union, says school officials and policy makers should be very concerned:
“There is no trust or confidence in the evaluations," he said. "But I think the larger issue is why would the school department rely on a system that is race-biased.”
Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts' commissioner of elementary and secondary education, takes issue with that characterization.
“I think the evaluation we’ve set up in and of itself has no bias in it," Chester said.
"The evaluation is set up on standards of practice that have been widely endorsed by educators across the commonwealth as well as across the nation,” he said.
The evaluations are conducted by principals and other administrators.
This has been a controversial issue in Massachusetts. Boston schools adopted the new evaluation system last school year after tense negotiations with the union that almost had to be settled by a state mediator.