Gov. Gregoire proposes new teacher evaluation system

Evaluations for teachers and principals in Washington state would change under a proposal Gov. Christine Gregoire released Tuesday.

“The current system doesn’t work,” Gregoire said in a news release. “It’s too broad. It doesn’t help people grow. Teachers need to know what they’re doing well, and where they can improve.”

Teacher-performance evaluations long have been discussed at both the state and national levels. Last year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 6696 that set aside money for 17 school districts, including South Kitsap, to pilot a new system for teacher and principal evaluations. That bill was set to be implemented throughout the state by the 2013-14 school year.

Traditionally, many school districts only rated teachers and principals as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. The 2010 law called for all districts to have four tiers by 2013, but did not name or describe them.

Gregoire’s proposal calls for four performance ratings: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient and distinguished. Teachers rated unsatisfactory would be placed on probation for a year.

“If teachers and principals are found ‘unsatisfactory’ in the fall, they will be placed on probation,” Gregoire said. “And if they haven’t moved up to the next level by spring, they will no longer be teachers or principals in Washington state.”

Both SKSD superintendent Dave LaRose and South Kitsap Education Association president Judy Arbogast questioned Gregoire’s motivation behind the plan. LaRose said he is not certain what Gregoire’s plan adds to last year’s law, and he values that the new evaluation model being developed has occurred “hand-in-hand with our teachers and principals associations.”

Arbogast agreed.

“I think we’re headed in the right direction,” she said. “We work really hard to be collaborative.”

Arbogast said she felt Gregoire’s proposal was an attack on teachers. She said the issue is not with educators, but that the state chronically underfunds schools.

“There’s a lot of talk about improving education and how important it is, but it’s not being funded,” she said. “There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between what is being said and what is being done.”


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