Because there was a last-minute amendment added to House Bill 1443 regarding basically tying student test scores to the firing of teachers during a time of layoff’s, several state representatives do not want to sign onto the flawed bill. This shows that we do have representatives who are working in our best interests and those of our children in Olympia and who cannot be swayed by lobbyists and corporate money.
A big thank you goes out to House Speaker Frank Chopp, who is not afraid to admit that he is for the protection of unions, and is holding firm.
We are in the last days of this legislative session so it is vital to keep up the momentum and let these leaders know that we back them in support of an educational environment that is free of the burden of high stakes testing.
Please contact our House Majority Leader, Pat Sullivan:
and House Speaker Frank Chopp:
And let them know where you stand.
Below is a description from an earlier post about House Bill 1443:
Getting back to Bill 1443, let’s start with Section 401, firing teachers based on student performance when a rif, a Reduction in Force, is required due to “revenue loss or enrollment decline.” This aspect of the bill was unsuccessful on two earlier attempts, see House Bill 1593 and Senate Bill 5667 and Senate Bill 5594. This is the wording of the proposed section:
When reductions in the workforce occur due to enrollment decline or revenue loss, the employment contracts of any certificated classroom teacher must be nonrenewed in the following manner within each particular certification or endorsement area. Certificated classroom teachers who received the lowest evaluation rating, as described in RCW 28A.405.100 must have their contracts nonrenewed first.
(2) The board of directors of each school district shall adopt a written policy governing procedures for the nonrenewal of employment contracts for certificated classroom teachers as provided for in subsection (1) of this section.
Teachers who receive the lowest evaluation ratings are to be fired. First question, does this mean that no matter what level of performance of all teachers, someone is going to be fired? Is this like a bell curve where someone will inevitably get an “F” and be fired? There is nothing in this bill that says otherwise. no matter what your “performance” really is, you will be fired if you are within a certain percentile. This of course leaves the door open for Teach for America recruits. Fortunately we have many, thousands in fact, of qualified professionals who have filed resumes with the state who would be able to step in. So then the concern is how will these teachers be evaluated.
That brings us to RCW 28A.405 which is noted above in terms of how a teacher is to be evaluated:
The four-level rating system used to evaluate the certificated classroom teacher must describe performance along a continuum that indicates the extent to which the criteria have been met or exceeded. When student growth data, if available and relevant to the teacher and subject matter, is referenced in the evaluation process it must be based on multiple measures that can include classroom-based, school-based, district-based, and state-based tools. As used in this subsection, “student growth” means the change in student achievement between two points in time.
As used in this subsection, “student growth” means the change in student achievement between two points in time.
In Seattle “student growth” evaluation would mean the MAP test, a test that was not designed to evaluate a teacher’s performance as stated by Brad Bernatek and Jessica DeBarros who implemented the test in Seattle. The designer and vendor of the test, NWEA, has also stated that the MAP test should not be used to evaluate teachers.
This extremely destructive aspect of ed reform, not to mention the negative impact that it would have on our teachers, has now been couched in a bill with many layers. For that reason it should not pass, not unless these provisions are eliminated.