Yesterday, I shared some interesting facts from the National Council on Teacher Quality’s (NCTQ) October 2011 report, “State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies” about the evolution of state educator evaluation systems over the past few years. In particular, we learned that between 2009 and 2011, 33 states changed their teacher evaluation policies.
This left me thinking about what has happened with evaluation policy in the other 17 states since NCTQ released their report. After considerable research, I found that there have been some dramatic changes. Here are a few updates:
• Hawaii: Hawaii began exploring changes to their teacher evaluation policy after being awarded a federal Race to The Top grant. While the state has had a few bumps in the road as of late, the Governor recently announced that they still plan to move forward.
• Iowa: On January 11, 2012, two bills were introduced in Iowa, HSB 517 and SSB 3009. As currently written, they seek to address several education policy changes, including reforms to professional development, probationary periods for new teachers, and new educator evaluation tools and measures. Both HSB 517 and SSB 3009 are still in committee and could look very different after working through the legislative process.
• Kansas: While Kansas policymakers have yet to take up teacher evaluation reforms, several state legislators note on their personal websites that there will discussions around educator evaluations occurring in 2012.
• Kentucky: On Friday, January 20, the Kentucky House of Representatives voted 95-0 to approve House Bill 40, which would allow the Kentucky Department of Education to implement a new educator evaluation system in 2013. The bill (like similar laws in many other states) ties teacher evaluation to student performance.
• Missouri: On January 21, 2012, the Columbiana Missourian wrote that, “Rep. Scott Dieckhaus, the chairman of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, plans to file legislation, perhaps within the week, with changes to teacher tenure and evaluations.”
• Nebraska: Legislative Bill 809, which contains language that would require annual teacher evaluations, was introduced on January 5, 2012 and is currently in committee. There is no mention of using student performance data in the bill at this time.
• New Jersey: The state is piloting a teacher evaluation system that looks at student scores as a part of teacher evaluation. There may be more policy changes to come pending the release of the pilot results in March.
• Pennsylvania: House Bill 1980 contains language around annual teacher evaluations and the use of student performance data as half (50%) of a teacher’s overall evaluation score. The bill is still in committee.
• West Virginia: Last year, the state launched a new educator evaluation pilot program. They also decided to make student test scores worth 5 percent of a teacher’s overall evaluation score. Then, in Governor Tomblin’s State of the State address, he asked lawmakers to make the evaluation pilot program a part of state law. House Bill 4236 was just introduced. It requires yearly observations of teachers, and says that in addition to observation scores, a teacher’s overall evaluation would be based on “student performance and peer evaluations.”
The above mentioned bills are all at various points in the legislative process. But, think about if they are all signed into law, 42 states will have changed their educator evaluation policies since 2009.
Finally, I would like to mention New Mexico’s work around evaluation. In 2011, the New Mexico Senate moved Senate Bill 502 through committee and passed it with a vote of 34 - 6. The bill required annual teacher and principal evaluations based on a uniform statewide evaluation rubric (called HOUSE). The bill notes that 50 percent of a teacher’s final overall evaluation score would be based on value-added. I am unsure as to why the bill did not progress, but its current status is marked “API,” which means Action Postponed Indefinitely.
I have yet to see action (or information surface) on evaluation policy changes in Alaska, California, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, or Vermont. But, if the national movement continues, chances are that we will see at least one of these states move to reform their educator evaluation systems in 2012. Remember, it’s only January 27th.
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