The District of Columbia has suspended the use of test scores as part of teacher evaluations, a practice which was the hallmark of Michelle Rhee’s tenure as chancellor of that district and which led to the firing of hundreds of teachers.

Chancellor Kaya Henderson said the district needs time to phase in new Common Core tests.

“Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced the decision, saying officials are concerned it wouldn’t be fair to use the new tests until a baseline is established and any complications are worked out.

“The District has fired hundreds of teachers under the system, which was put in place by Henderson’s predecessor, Michelle Rhee. Test scores make up 35 percent of evaluations for those who teach students in the tested grades and subjects.

“Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined the two largest teachers’ unions in calling for a temporary halt to evaluating teachers based on Common Core tests. The foundation has spent more than $200 million implementing the Common Core standards nationwide.

“The U.S. Education Department has not backed the idea of a moratorium, which is also being considered in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a bill on Thursday that would remove test scores from teacher evaluations for two years, and a handful of states have delayed using test scores to make personnel decisions. But no state that already includes test scores in evaluations has committed to pausing the practice.”