School Talk

CT Board of Ed Says After One Year Delay, It’s Full Steam Ahead on Teacher Eval

The Connecticut State Board of Education has drawn a line in the sand that after this one year delay they’ve just approved, there will be no more stalling, no more talking, no more politicking over the issue of teacher and principal evaluations being linked to student test scores. 

It will happen. And that’s a really good thing. Connecticut has been a leader on teacher evaluation and this vote helps to lessen fears that the unions will be successful in turning back the clock on this issue.  

“We can give you one more year because I think the fly path we are on is one that’s worth following to a smooth landing. We think there’s nothing to be gained from any further postponement. We will have had two solid years of test data. We will have had plenty of time to talk about it.” -Allan Taylor, Chairman of CT Board of Ed

Not surprisingly, the heads of the the two teachers’ unions in the state are displeased with the decision since they’ve been actively engaged in pushing a bill before the Connecticut legislature that would ban any linkage of student test scores to teacher and evaluation. Senate Bill 380, the bill in question, would not only tie the hands of districts and undo so much hard work that’s already happening across the state, but it would fly in the face of what parents, clergy, civil rights groups, and education advocates have said in their testimony. It has one stakeholder group that supports it. Teachers Unions. 

By contrast, State Education Commissioner Wentzell is a strong propononent of staying the course to include student measures of growth in the teacher evaluation process and she says that her years as a classroom teacher inform her opinion. 

“This was profoundly important to me as a teacher,” Wentzell said. We haven’t taught if they haven’t learned.”

Let’s hope that that board member Terry Jones is right in his assertion that the best way to send a strong message to the state legislature is by making it clear that after this year, it’s full steam ahead as planned on teacher evaluation and that they’d be unwise to pass anything that would impede that process. 

Kids need Connecticut to get this right and the Board of Education’s new “line in the sand” is an important step in getting there. 

What do you think?

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