No Longer in Washington State are Test Scores to be Tied to Teachers’ Evaluations

You might recall from a prior post that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pulled the state of Washington’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver because the state did not met the U.S. Department of Education’s timeline for tying teacher evaluations to student test scores (i.e., using growth or value-added modeling). Washington was the first to lose its waiver, but hopefully not the last.

Teachers in Washington achieved yet another victory in this regard.

As per a recent article in The Seattle Times (see also a related post here), it looks like “After four months of negotiations, a five-day [teachers] strike and one final all-night [negotiations] talk, the Seattle teachers union and Seattle Public Schools reached a tentative contract agreement,” that is (if it is ultimately finalized), will:

  • Remove test scores from playing any role in teacher evaluations;
  • Give teachers significantly more say in how often students are tested;
  • Secure for teachers pay increases of 9.5 percent over three years, in addition to the state cost-of-living adjustment of 4.8 percent over two years;
  • Pay teachers for the longer school days they are to teach (longer school days are forthcoming);
  • Lower special-education student-teacher ratios;
  • Lower teacher specialists’ caseloads;
  • Allow for guaranteed recesses for students; etc.

As also noted in this article, this is certainly “groundbreaking,” especially given the federal politics and policies surrounding, as most pertinent to followers of this blog, using test scores to evaluate teachers (see bullet #1 above).

Hopefully other states can, and will follow suit…

One thought on “No Longer in Washington State are Test Scores to be Tied to Teachers’ Evaluations

  1. Seattle was about the only WA district that had teacher evals w/test scores in their contract. They did that in the hopes they could get a waiver when it became apparent the state would not be getting one. The rest of us refused to do so. I am glad to see that Seattle has now pulled that from their contract, because as often happens, what Seattle does, the rest of us end up having to follow.
    When we first lost our waiver, most legislators and our governor were bound and determined to make sure we were all evaluated using student test scores as a significant part of our evals. A few legislators spoke up against it, but not many, and after some futile attempts circumvent our local contracts, and add that in, things went pretty quiet except from the ed deform mouthpieces like Stand On Childen, League of unEducated Voters, and Alliance 4 (destroying public) Education, and DFER. Given all the issues with Florida and NY, as well as our own K-12 funding issues, calls to include the student test scores have slowly died down. We expect some districts will try to put that in their contracts within the next year or so, but they will get nothing but resistance from teachers and many parents. My local union beat back an initial attempt to add student test scores as part of the evaluation in our district several years ago, and it did not resurface in the most recent contract bargaining.

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