Dennis Carlson: SB191 a bad bill for education
The Educator Effectiveness (EQuITEE) (Senate Bill 191) is too much, too fast, and is an “unfunded mandate” on school districts that comes at time when districts in Colorado are slashing their budgets to the tune of $365 million statewide.
Governor Ritter has created the Council for Educator Effectiveness with the charge of defining principal and teacher effectiveness and developing guidelines for a high-quality educator evaluation system. The Council is comprised of teachers, administrators, school board members, parents, and students from schools throughout Colorado. The intent being a collaborative process to address the issue of teacher effectiveness and to make recommendations to the State Board of Education.
Senate Bill 191 requires that evaluation will be the basis for decision-making about compensation, promotion, assignment, professional development and dismissal. It bases all of this on a yet to be determined definition of “effectiveness.” The bill says that school districts will need to implement a new evaluation system during the next school year and that every teacher will be evaluated every year. With the current education cuts districts are struggling to maintain personnel and programs. They do not have the resources – time or money – to do what Senate Bill 191 demands, especially without appropriate guidance from the state.
Supporters are saying the passage of this bill is necessary for Colorado to win Race to the Top funds in phase 2. Colorado lost points in all six sections of its application. To claim that addressing part of one section will put us over the top is irresponsible.
It is critical that the Council of Educator Effectiveness be allowed to do its work in a a reasonable period of time. The unintended consequences of Senate Bill 191 could create more problems than it would ever solve.
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