Tennessee One to Watch as Colorado Moves Forward on Educator Effectiveness

Happy Monday! The debate over implementing Colorado’s educator effectiveness law (aka SB 191) continues to grow. This week the State Board of Education is scheduled to hear a staff presentation concerning the first draft of rules for creating a statewide evaluation system for teachers and principals, to set the parameters for the 2012-13 pilot program, and define CDE’s supporting role, among other things. In that spirit, the timing couldn’t be better for my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow’s new School Reform News article “Tennessee links teacher evaluations to pay”:

Tennessee’s State Board of Education has ratified new rules requiring that student test scores factor in evaluating, paying, and promoting educators.

The rules tie 35 percent of teachers’ professional evaluations to their students’ results on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). Teachers of tested subjects will be rated according to their students’ test score growth, while principals will be judged on school-wide gains.

A law Tennessee lawmakers adopted last January requires linking 50 percent of educator evaluations to student growth. Promotion and retention, as well as pay raises and tenured status, will be affected by recorded learning gains.

Tennessee’s 2010 law is similar to Colorado’s SB 191, in that it requires 50 percent of evaluations to be tied to measures of student academic growth and that decisions to grant or revoke tenure-like privileges depend on evaluated performance. The Volunteer State goes further, though, by requiring the evaluations to impact how teachers are paid as well. While many local Colorado districts and charter schools are pioneering performance pay and strategic compensation, it would be great to see the implementation of the educator effectiveness law push even more in that direction.

Following Wednesday morning’s State Board meeting, CDE will post a webinar online Friday that “will provide a summary of draft rules and information about how to submit comments.” Then the next Tuesday, June 14, is an opportunity for you the people to chime in with public testimony. Colorado may be a little bit behind Tennessee, but you can lend your support to push the reform conversation forward and to help make sure our students have the best educator evaluation system possible.