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Bad Grades: State Flunks Teachers on Subjects They Don’t Teach

At 26 and with four years of teaching music at Eisenhower Middle School in Albuquerque under his belt, Nick Prior is ready to take his career to its next phase.

That would mean advancing from a state-certified Level 1 instructor to Level 2, which would bump his modest salary from $30,000 a year to $40,000 a year. Prior leads six choir groups at the school, half of which have earned state awards. One of the choir groups that Prior leads even took home a Best Showmanship and a Best Musicianship award when it competed nationally at Los Alamitos “Xtravaganza” last year in California.

This year, Prior scored just 112 out of 200 possible points on his state-mandated teacher evaluation, ranking him “minimally effective.” That’s because this year, half of Prior’s evaluation is based on student standardized test score improvements.