Thursday, February 16, 2012

Senate votes in favor of a new teacher and principal evaluation system.

House Bill 5895 makes teachers and principals accountable, expected to pass.
  • Tenured teachers rated unsatisfactory two years in a row will be fired.
  • First time, new teachers rated unsatisfactory will be prevented from getting tenure
Shannon Campion
Executive Director, Stand for Children

Editor:  On Tuesday, we heard the sweet sound of 46 state Senators voting in favor of a new teacher and principal evaluation system that takes into account how much kids are actually learning in the classroom.

For the first time, these meaningful evaluations will be used in assigning and removing teachers and principals.

This landmark legislation is a triumph for the 1,035,000 children in public school in Washington and for all our advocates who know that a dedicated teacher can change a struggling student's life. Only three senators voted against it.  Read More >>

"It makes a statement from the Legislature, a strong statement, that we understand the quality of the teacher is the most important thing that we can control," said Rep. Bruce Dammeier (R-Puyallup), who helped negotiate the bipartisan compromise. Gov. Christine Gregoire, Sen. Rodney Tom (D- Bellevue), Sen. Dammeier, Sen. Steve Litzow (R- Mercer Island), and Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) each deserve our heartfelt thanks for their sustained support for this historic measure.

The bill now moves to the House, where it is expected to pass. But because some lawmakers still oppose it, we need you to email your House representatives to pass HB5895.  No legislation is ever perfect. We agree with our friend Senator Rodney Tom that lawmakers and advocacy groups will have to carefully watch implementation of the system by local school districts. But for the first time, new teachers who are rated unsatisfactory will be prevented from getting tenure. Even more ground-breaking is the fact that tenured teachers who are rated unsatisfactory two years in a row will be fired. The measure is a historic step forward.

Our work is not done. Children's champion Rep. Pettigrew continues negotiations with House leadership for a measure that would bring stronger interventions for students in struggling schools. Our lawmakers cannot head home without meaningful improvements for low-income and minority kids.

Standing with you,
Shannon Campion, Executive Director
Stand for Children Washington

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