By guest blogger Stephen Sawchuk
Advocates are lining up their positions on amendments related to teacher evaluation that are included in a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that will hit the House floor in short order.
A letter sent this morning by a variety of teacher-quality stakeholders opposes two key amendments. First, it urges lawmakers to defeat an amendment (no. 67) to eliminate the bill’s requirement that states and districts create teacher-evaluation systems as a condition of receiving teacher-quality funds.
They also don’t like amendment 53 to add “other measures of school success” to the academic assessments required annually for schools (and by extension, for teacher evaluation). They say that this amendment would eliminate the requirement to use student learning as a measure of teacher effectiveness, though by my read, that interpretation appears to go a bit beyond the actual amendment text.
The letter was signed by representatives of Democrats for Education Reform, a political action committee; TNTP, an alternative-certification provider; New Leaders, which trains principals; Teach Plus, a “teacher voice” nonprofit, and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, a nonprofit that runs a comprehensive school-reform initiative, which includes a focus on teacher-evaluation.
UPDATED, July 18, 3:48 p.m. Add the Center for American Progress’ political wing as another group opposed to these two amendments. Among other things, it calls the amendment on multiple measures a way of glossing over poor performance with “extra-credit indicators.”
For more information on the fate of various teacher-quality amendments, check out this previous post.
UPDATED, July 18, 3:22 p.m.:
The National Education Association, definitely a heavyweight where teacher policy is concerned, has sent its own letter up to the Hill today. It supports both of these amendments.
The group says it supports amendment 67, which would get rid of the teacher-evaluation mandate, ‘not because we favor an absence of evaluation systems but because we favor the use of multiple measures ... and presence of teachers’ voices in the construct of the systems.”
NEA also strongly supports an amendment that would proscribe a change to the Title II (teacher quality) funding formula, unless it’s shown not to harm low-income schools.
UPDATED, July 18, 5:24 p.m.: The multiple-measures amendment passed. In a surprise move, Rep. John Kline, the author of the bill, supported the amendment to remove the teacher-evaluation mandate, clearing it for passage.