The Oklahoma legislature passed a law eliminating student test scores as part of teacher evaluation. Hawaii did the same last week. Bit by bit, the most ill-advised, costly, and demoralizing part of Race to the Top is being rejected by the states. It has no research base. Researchers find that measuring teachers by their student scores is unreliable, unstable, and varies by the composition of the class. Its biggest contribution to American education has been to drive out good teachers and create s teacher shortage.

 

House leaders unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that eliminates the requirement to use student academic growth in Oklahoma’s teacher evaluation system.

 

House Bill 2957, which is estimated to save Oklahoma school districts millions of dollars and the Oklahoma State Department of Education more than $500,000, has been sent to the governor’s desk for signature.

 

“Amid this difficult budget year when public education has faced a variety of challenges, House Bill 2957 is a true bright spot of this year’s legislative session,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said. “By giving districts the option of removing the quantitative portion of teacher evaluations, we not only increase local control but lift outcomes by supporting our teachers while strengthening their professional development and growth in the classroom.”

 

Also praising the bill for its return to local decision-making was Rep. Michael Rogers,R-Broken Arrow, HB 2957’s House author.

 

“This legislation will return flexibility back to the districts on their evaluations while developing an individualized professional development program that will help all of our teachers and administrators,” he said.

 

HB 2957 removes the controversial and mandated Value-Added Measures – which tie a teacher’s performance rating to student test scores — from OSDE’s Teacher and Leader Effectiveness evaluation system and effectively eliminates the requirement that evaluation scores be used to terminate teachers. These quantitative evaluation tools will become optional for districts upon the governor’s signature.

 

Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, who co-authored the bill, said the legislation has been long overdue.

 

“After gathering input from a variety of stakeholders through a lengthy and thoughtful review process, we feel that HB 2957 promotes increased reflection and professional growth for teachers and leaders,” Ford said. “Now is the time to support the teachers in Oklahoma’s public education system by focusing on an evaluation system that places professional development first.”

 

Farewell and good riddance!

 

 

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