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Dahlquist pleased with bipartisan educator evaluation legislation

Editor's note: the following is a release issued by the office of Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw.

A bipartisan compromise that would create a framework for a new educator evaluation system for school districts, Senate Bill 5895, passed off the Senate floor this week by a vote of 46-3. Rep. Cathy Dahlquist praised the legislation and believes it is a good step to ensuring every child has an effective and engaged teacher in their classroom.

The bill will now be considered by the House Education Committee. Senate Bill 5895 will be given a public hearing Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 a.m. in the John L. O’Brien Building, Hearing Room A, on the Capitol campus in Olympia. Written testimony is also accepted by the committee.

“We know there are wonderful teachers and principals that do great work in our schools every day. This legislation recognizes that, but also creates a system to realistically look at who is teaching our students and if they are the best person for that very important task,” said DahlquistR-Enumclaw and former Enumclaw School Board president. “The bipartisan work done on this bill in the House and Senate is a milestone in the long debate on how we objectively evaluate teachers and principals. I wish it were stronger in some areas, but it is a really good start.”

To get to this point, the Legislature began the process in 2010 with a bill that created a Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot program in eight school districts around the state and one Educational Service District. The pilot was based on the best research on educator evaluation and is currently being tested through June. It utilizes a four-tiered professional growth and development system instead of the “satisfactory” or “not satisfactory” system used by most school districts. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has shared the positive results of the pilot with state lawmakers, education stakeholders and the public.

Senate Bill 5895 would:

  • create the framework for a new teacher and principal evaluation system with four common levels, with one being the lowest evaluation and four being the highest;
  • incorporate student growth data as a substantial factor in evaluations;
  • allow student input for teacher evaluations, and building staff input for principal evaluations;
  • establish an evaluation schedule;
  • define “not satisfactory” and outline for the process for probation;
  • create a steering committee to examine implementation issues and produce an annual report beginning in July 2013 with a final report due Dec. 1, 2016.

“This evaluation system is not about picking on teachers or principals, but it is about putting kids first,” Dahlquist said. “I want every child to get the education they need to be successful in life. While we all know learning starts at home, it must continue in the classroom if we want our children to be prepared to compete for the jobs of the future.”

If Senate Bill 5895 is passed and signed into law, school districts will be required to adopt the new evaluation system by the 2015-16 school year.

 

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