Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Race To The Top: New Teacher and Principal Evaluations

The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) has released a new issue brief, “Teachers, Principals & Race to the Top,” detailing the broken system and underscoring the need for change.

“When 99 percent of Hartford teachers receive a satisfactory rating, but less than half of students are reading at grade level, something needs to change,” said Alex Johnston, ConnCAN Chief Executive Officer. “Race to the Top is Connecticut’s chance to follow New Haven’s lead and institute meaningful teacher and principal evaluations.”

S.B. 440, “An act concerning school districts and teacher performance programs,” would institute a better data system that defines principal and teacher effectiveness in terms of student achievement growth and links teacher and principal training programs to the classroom effectiveness of their graduates.

Text of this bill is available here.

Section three of H.B. 5491, “An act concerning certain school district reforms to reduce the achievement gap in Connecticut,” requires schools districts to incorporate student achievement growth into their teacher and principal evaluation systems by July 1, 2011.

Text of that bill is available here.

The last day for the Connecticut General Assembly’s Education Committee to pass these bills out of committee is Wednesday, March 24.

In early March, Connecticut was rejected from the first round of the Race to the Top, the federal government’s highly coveted $4 billion competition to reward states that aggressively reform their public schools.

Round 2 of the Race to the Top is due June 1. ConnCAN’s campaign, “Our Race to the Top” is calling for four reforms to help Connecticut win the Race to the Top: measuring effectiveness, superstar principals, world-class standards and money follows the child.

Detailed policy goals and other information

1 comment:

  1. If you read the text, this is a poorly crafted legislation. Just consider one point--it focuses only on high school performance measures. But by the 8th grade, we can predict with very high accuracy whether a student will graduate from high school, whether they will go to college, etc. The most critical years in education are up to the 8th grade. Thus this bill is NOT intended to improve educational outcomes broadly, but only to facilitate a single, narrow outcome relating to comparisons of performance in high schools.

    Even then, it is a poorly crafted piece of legislation. Unless you know a lot about the conditions in a school and in each specific classroom (e.g., the absentee rate, the "churn" among students), you can simply can not evaluate the performance of the teacher, the principal, or the school.

    This legislation was apparently written by someone who knows (or perhaps cares) little about research on education performance. A very disappointing bill.

    Fred Carsensen, University of Connecticut