State Education Leaders Pushing Off Linking Teacher Evaluations To State Exams Again – But At What Cost?

The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), the advisory council tasked with reviewing state assessments and evaluations, has decided to backslide on teacher accountability — again.

Last Wednesday, PEAC voted 8-1 to recommend the state hold off on requiring districts to link state assessments with teacher evaluation until the 2017-2018 school year, according to the Connecticut Mirror. If the state legislature approves their suggestions, it would mark the third time the state has kicked the can down the road.

Of course, this is merely political posturing. Two days before PEAC’s decision, the state legislature’s Education Committee heard public comments on Senate Bill 380, which would permanently exclude student performance data on statewide mastery exams from teacher evaluations.

This bill is largely being pushed by the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), one of the state’s two largest teachers’ unions, both of which have been ramping up their lobbying efforts. AFT and CEA have spent nearly $100,000 on lobbying in the last two months — and this total doesn’t even include campaign contributions from the past cycle.

If this union-backed bill passes, districts that voluntarily chose to include state exams in their evaluations would no longer be allowed to do so. ever.

It’s obvious why PEAC is stalling. They’re the advisory council that developed the state’s teacher evaluation system and were responsible for voting for the inclusion of assessment data. They want more time, but as Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform Jeffrey Villar pointed out, their efforts might be misplaced.

“The teacher evaluation model that the state envisioned and developed in 2012 was designed to be balanced — including both objective and subjective measures of teacher performance,” said Villar in an email.  “Because that system has never yet been fully implemented, we have been prevented from fully understanding how well it works and whether it needs to be refined.”

While the CEA is shouting from the rooftops that the state evaluation system doesn’t work, they actually have no real proof of that. What we do know is that without the link to assessments teacher evaluations have largely been skewed. If every teacher is labeled as exemplary how does that aid in their development? How does that improve students outcomes?

So, while PEAC stalls, the actual work of refining the state’s evaluation system is pushed back further. Another year lost.

PEAC may have that time, but what about students? As Villar put it — “let’s not forget, each child has only one opportunity for a quality education.”



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