Scores of districts request teacher evaluation waiver

More than 344 public and charter school districts across the state are already asking the Governor's Council on Education Effectiveness for exemptions from adopting a uniform teacher evaluation system by 2013. The deadline for filing was Nov. 1.

The Council is charged with making recommendations for a new state evaluation system that includes a student growth component. Now they'll also be deciding which school districts will be granted a waiver.

In July, lawmakers approved a new teacher tenure system which they claim will make it easier to get rid of ineffective teachers. With the new system, teacher performance rather than seniority will be a key factor in granting tenure and deciding layoffs. Starting in the 2013-14 school year, districts will be required to use student growth and assessment data as 25 percent of each teacher evaluation. That becomes 40 percent in the 2014-15, and 50 percent in 2015-16.

Unfortunately, there is no teacher on the Council who could provide valuable insight into what really improves student achievement.  MEA General Counsel Art Przybylowicz provided testimony to the committee at their first meeting in December.

The Council must submit their recommendations to the Governor and the Department of Education by April 30.