District of Columbia Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced the suspension of the practice of evaluating teachers by their students’ test scores. This practice was considered the signal policy initiative of Henderson’s predecessor Michelle Rhee.

Henderson described the move “as necessary in order to allow students to acclimate themselves to new tests built around the standards established by the Common Core.”

The Gates Foundation applauded the retreat on test-based evaluation, as did Randi Weingarten of the AFT. The U.S. Department of Education released a statement expressing its disappointment. It said: “Although we applaud District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) for their continued commitment to rigorous evaluation and support for their teachers, we know there are many who looked to DCPS as a pacesetter who will be disappointed with their desire to slow down.” Since test-based evaluation is the centerpiece of Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top, this is surely a setback for Duncan and his theory of change. On the other hand, D.C.’s test scores have been stagnant since 2009, which does not speak well of test-based evaluation, whether pushed by Michelle Rhee or Arne Duncan.

By the way, Michelle Rhee has apparently changed her name to Michelle (Rhee) Johnson.