The fact that congress is nearing the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) after over a decade of stagnation should be uplifting news for education reform advocates.
Unfortunately, in Connecticut, ‘should be’ are the operative words.
The new version of ESEA, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Obama, would replace No Child Left Behind.
Some of the provisions in the old law will be rolled back by giving greater autonomy to states, allowing them to set their own education goals – autonomy that the CEA wants to use to dismantle Connecticut’s teacher evaluation system.
Executive Director of CEA, Mark Waxenberg, told the Connecticut Mirror that the union wants the state to decouple student test scores from teacher evaluations, saying that if the governor didn’t change state policy, “the CEA would seek help from the state legislature.”
“Help” in this case, is probably a euphemism for calling in a favor from more than one-third of state assembly members that they bankroll.
What’s the worst part about this scenario? The union might already be closer than you think to scrapping one of the only objective measurements of teachers’ performance from evaluations.
According to the Connecticut Mirror, the decision to continue to use student test scores as a factor in teacher evaluations will be up to the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC).
Guess who are among that advisory council’s members… That’s right! Mark Waxenberg, CEA president Sheila Cohen, and Connecticut Federation of Teachers Vice-President Stephen McKeever.
The bottom line: The CEA is attempting to chip away at teacher accountability, once again, putting the interest of adults above those of children in the classroom.
Unless state leaders step in, this time they might actually reach their goal.
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