In 2010, the Colorado legislature passed a sweeping, and controversial, law that toughened the requirements for teachers to get tenure, and tied their evaluations to test scores and other performance measures.
A leading architect of that law, which became a model for other states, was state Sen. Michael Johnston, a Democrat, Teach for America alum, and adviser to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Johnston talked to Education Week about getting that bill into law, negotiating with unions on its provisions, and about advice for lawmakers in other states pursuing similar policies. He also spoke about the role that teachers’ unions—which have been unhappy with some of Obama’s policies—might play in this fall’s presidential campaign.
Photo: In this 2010 photo, State Senator Michael Johnston, D-Denver, right, leans on the shoulder of Romel Greer, left, a member of Project Voyce, as Colorado’s teacher-tenure bill is signed into law by the governor. (Ed Andrieski/AP)