Washington and Oregon have been given one year to change the way they evaluate teachers or risk losing millions in federal education funding.
Like most states, Washington has gotten a temporary waiver from the federal requirements known as No Child Left Behind. To get the waiver, and the 38 million dollars attached to it, the state had to agree to certain conditions. Like using students’ state test scores to evaluate teachers. Now the U-S Department of Education says Washington is at “high risk” of losing the waiver next year. That’s because the state’s new teacher evaluation law doesn’t meet federal standards. Under Washington’s law, districts have to use multiple measures of so-called “student growth” data in teacher evaluations. But districts get to choose those measures of students’ academic growth. The measures usually include state test scores. But they don’t have to. Because that conflicts with the federal standard, the state Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction says his office expected to be placed on “high risk” status. He says it’s up to the state Legislature to change the teacher evaluation law by the deadline the feds have set next spring. That could be difficult, given the short session next year. There’s increased political resistance to standardized testing. And many statisticians say using test scores to measure teacher effectiveness is impossible.
Copyright 2013 KUOW