In the State

What Happened To That Line In The Sand? State BOE Bulks To Union Pressure On Teacher Accountability

Last year, state school board chair Allan Taylor said that he was “drawing a line in the sand when it came to teacher evaluations.

During that same 2016  state school board meeting, Education Commissioner Diana Wentzel if “we haven’t taught if they haven’t learned.

Oh, what difference a year makes!

Bulking to teacher union pressure, late Wednesday afternoon the State Board of Education voted to approved the Performance Evaluation Advisory Committee (PEAC) recommendations to permanently de-link student exam data from teacher evaluations.

The Hartford Courant has more on this story:

“Taylor explained his vote, saying he thought students and teachers would be better able to keep the focus on “student outcomes,” rather than letting the conflict over standardized tests “become a pure contest of political power.”

“Let’s just say I think we’re better off in the education system and our kids are better off with this being moved forward in this forum,” Taylor said.

Stephen Wright, one of the board members who voted against it, said, “I don’t understand why we use the test if we’re not going to use it as a measure of student performance [in teacher evaluation ratings]. We spent a lot of money on it, a lot of resources.”

Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, said of the board’s action: “I think they acted properly and basically defined the role and purpose of the state mastery test relative to how we use them to advance the learning goals of our students.

“So I think it was a very, very good decision on their part to do so,” he said.

Among those who were opponents of the PEAC recommendation, Jennifer Alexander, chief executive officer of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, said, “We’re deeply disappointed by today’s vote. I think this is a piecemeal approach to teacher evaluation and a watered down system that takes us backward.”



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