Lawmakers Focusing on Evaluation System for Teachers

Association of Educators
December 11, 2013 — 1,050 views  

Washington lawmakers have already started planning as to which topics they need to prioritize during the session of the legislation which will be beginning in January next year. They intend on focusing on teacher evaluation system and education in the coming session. The state stands at the peril of losing the 'No Child Left Behind' law waiver in case it does not succeed in bringing up the teacher evaluation system to the federal standards.

Test Scores to be Part of Evaluations

According to the present law in the state, test scores are considered to be an important part of teacher evaluations.  Randy Dorn, Superintendent of Public Instruction said that central government wants to change the word ‘can’ into ‘must’. If the state fails in doing this, it may lose out on the waiver coming from the central education law.

According to the latest additions in the evaluation law for teachers, student growth information, including the test scores or any other measure that can be used for rating student achievement over a period of time, should be a fragment of teacher evaluations.

This law was brought into place due to the negotiations between lawmakers, the state teachers union, the Washington Education Association and statewide education officials. Christine Rolfes; State Senator, however, feels that changing just one word in the law will not help in resolving the problems that the state education board is facing. She thinks that it is important to bring in improvements of such kind which help in making the language much more workable for schools.

Most schools have already adopted the new principal and teacher evaluation system. They have also started using growth information of students as one of the key elements of evaluating the educators.

Being Careful with the Approach

Rolfes also believes that lawmakers will have to be careful with their approach and ensure that they do not add too much of burden on the students, school districts as well as teachers in the name of testing. According to her, the lesser the tempering with the federal law, the better it is.

Apart from this, the lawmakers are also planning to focus on requesting around $544 million in basic education for meeting the Supreme Court’s requirements in the McCleary decision.

Alan Burke, Deputy Superintendent, in a Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee meeting held recently said that the state districts are already ahead of the schedule as far as the implementation of the new law is concerned. He also said that so far, almost all the districts have adopted the new evaluation system.

Association of Educators