Teacher and principal evaluation bill signed

  • Written by Alison Dempsey-Hall, Washington State Senate Communications

OLYMPIA — Last week, the governor signed into law a bipartisan bill that will give teachers and principals the tools to ensure every child has a high-quality education.

Senate Bill 5895 will follow an ongoing state effort to move to a statewide four-tier teacher/principal evaluation system by 2015-16, after eight pilot programs have completed tests of what works best.

Before 2010, teachers were given either a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade under a two-tier system.

Over the 2012 session, senators, representatives and the governor worked hard to reach a compromise on teacher evaluation legislation.

“The single most important factor affecting student success is the quality of the teacher in the classroom,” said Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-Bothell), chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. “This enhanced evaluation system ensures that teachers and principals are given the tools they need to make an immediate impact on student learning.

“It also continues to build our evaluation system from the ground up. With the experiences of our pilot sites across the state of Washington, we will identify best practices to ensure our teachers grow professionally. My colleagues and I share the goal that every child deserves a high quality teacher in their classroom.” ...

SB 5895, which takes effect in 90 days, will:

• add greater specificity and provide expectations 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 school building employees input  for principal evaluations;

• require that evaluation results are one factor used to make staffing decisions;

•establish an implementation schedule;

• define “not satisfactory” and require a teacher or principal to participate in the probation process in existing law; and

• require a steering committee to examine implementation issues and produce an annual report beginning in July 2013 with a final report due Dec. 1, 2016.

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