Monday, February 6, 2012

Multiple evaluation bills . . .

Well, I didn’t take Jonathan’s advice to boycott the Times so I found this informative article on the various teacher evaluation bills in Olympia. I didn’t realize that there were actually four bills being considered this session; one backed by WEA, one by Governor Gregoire, one by Superintendent Dorn, and one by the business community. The one I referenced in yesterday’s post is the one getting the most attention and comes with support from the business community. Interestingly, in the article it is referred to as the reform-minded bill. Though the model that emerges will be similar because all the bills use a four-tiered system, the one requiring the use of student test scores is considered a reform. Actually, all the models being piloted today and any that will emerge from this session include significant reforms to current practice. It troubles me that the mental model for many of true reform requires the use of student test scores. evaluations, hiring, and firing situations.

The current law leaves the specifics up to individual districts, while the bill supported by the union would fill in some details and provide training. The reform-minded bill, on the other hand, would require student test scores to be used in evaluations and evaluations to be used in hiring decisions.

In another part of the article this same “reform” bill is described as seeking to improve education. Does that mean that the WEA, Gregoire, and Dorn backed bills are seeking to maintain the status quo? Again, none of the bills support the current model, but the mental model of many is that reform and improvements in our work require that we use student test scores in teacher and principal evaluations and in hiring decisions. This persists and will not go away even though there is a lack of research to support this model having a significant influence on student achievement. So, in yesterday’s post based on the actions of the committee chairs it appears that the “reformers” bill will not prevail. Methinks there is still plenty of time for it to resurface and prolong the debate.

The bill backed by those seeking to improve education, sponsored by Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, and Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, would shake things up the most.

The article is a nice review of the situation without taking sides. Though it is focused on Seattle’s model you leave the article with an understanding of the current situation and proposed changes in each bill.  Once again, make sure and check out the comments where the real conversation takes place.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

I read that article, too. lol

I believe the discussion takes on different dynamics because many districts have had such different levels of success working together. Imagine the dynamics in a district like Kent, where relations have endured enormous strains recently. I would not want to have an evaluation system that was potentially subjective and/or punitive if I worked in an environment where trust may have been eroded, and I may respond to any proposal with an abundance of caution.

Conversely, I think letting Tahoma SD develop our own evaluation system sounds good to me. I'm sure we would develop a system of accountability and support that would lead to continued growth for all in our professional learning community.

The problem, as so often is the case in government solutions. seems to be creating a system that addresses the multitude of differing situations that exist.

And for the record, I said "it may be about time we exert our 'accountability system' and organize a boycott of the Seattle Times." :-)