Posts filed under ‘In the Know’
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As the school years gets off to a fresh start, Washington has begun implementing nine pilot teacher and principal evaluation systems in 16 school districts across the state.
These pilots were developed over the course of the past year based on criteria set forth by the legislature in SB 6696. In order to create a new professional evaluation system for our schools, SB 6696 requires the implementation of 4-tiered systems statewide in the 2013-14 school year. It also states that these systems must be based on new criteria set forth in the bill, evaluate multiple measures, and have new evaluation forms and rubrics. Final recommendations on the pros and cons of various components of the pilots will be made by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in July 2012.
A report released in July, 2011 summarized the development of the pilots and highlighted some characteristics of the new systems:
- All are including observation, self-assessment, student data and student artifacts, but what exactly that means for student learning is unclear at this time.
- Only two, Anacortes and the ESD 101 Consortium are including parent/student surveys
- Three different instructional frameworks are being piloted (Danielson, Marzano, and 5-D CEL)
In the report, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn made the recommendation that” Districts should be encouraged to select from a limited number of state approved teacher and principal evaluation models.” This would mean that districts could choose from multiple approved models which share key components.
He also cautioned that: “If the system is to be functioning at a high level during the 2013-14 state-wide implementation year, serious consideration will need to be given to providing targeted resources to prepare all the districts in an intentional way for the new teacher and principal evaluation system.”
Two big items are in the works in terms of next steps for implementing and analyzing the pilot evaluation systems.
First, the 2011-13 state budget allocated $6.476 million over the biennium for the pilots – including funds to expand to new districts in 2012-13. This money will be provided in the form of grants called Regional Implementation Grants. These $100,000 grants will be run through the Educational Service Districts (ESD) and 5-10 school districts in each ESD will receive a portion of that funding if the districts commit to piloting the new evaluation systems in their district in 2012-13, a year before statewide implementation. The funding will be used to provide professional development, evaluator training and other resources needed to successfully implement a pilot system. The final applications for these grants are in and we will soon be learning which districts will receive grants.
Second, the TPEP steering committee is convening experts and practitioners to research and make recommendations on three key decisions for the adoption of new evaluation systems:
- Whether and how to include student growth data in evaluations
- How to address evaluator training and reliability
- Whether and how to include parent and student surveys in evaluations
Over the coming months, Stand for Children will be discussing the pilots, the key issues in finalizing the statewide model(s) and how to prepare for implementation. Stay tuned for opportunities to learn more about the process and progress.
Policy Director, Stand for Children – Washington
TPEP’s website has a host of information about each district involved in the pilots as well as the full version of the July 2011 report.
At first glance, it seems Washington’s students perform well overall. And, compared to other states, on average Washington students do perform well on a number of measures. We should celebrate these achievements with pride.
However, this is only part of the story. These averages mask the fact that student outcomes are vastly different depending on where they live, their family’s income, and their background. This is because the quality of education Washington students receive is often determined by the zip code students live in, rather than their ability to learn. An African American or Latino child in our state has only about a 1 in 2 chance of graduating high school.
Washington is one of only a handful of states where the achievement or opportunity gap— between rich and poor, and white and non-white students—is growing. If our state’s dismal progress continues, researchers predict it will take 105 years to close the gap between white and African-American students in fourth grade reading. In contrast, Louisiana is on pace to close its achievement gap in fourth grade reading in just 12.5 years.
The challenges of ending this opportunity gap are compounded by the fiscal challenges facing our state. Washington continues to fail in its constitutional paramount duty to fund basic education for all students. In fact, after last session the percentage of state funding going to schools is less than 40%, down from a traditional level of about 50%.
While Stand for Children believes the state should increase the percentage of state revenue going to education, these fiscal times call for tough decisions on how the state spends its scarce resources.
On September 15, the state will announce its next revenue forecast—and it is likely to be ugly—to the tune of $1 to $2 billion dollars in additional cuts needed. The governor has already asked agencies to identify another 10% cut in funding in case its necessary ($1.7 billion total) and prepared legislators for a possible special session.
We hope the state does not make further cuts to education, but no matter what they must prioritize maintaining supports that are targeted at improving under‐performing schools and closing the achievement gap. For example, over the last few years the state has begun funding full-day kindergarten in schools serving 21% of the state’s poorest students. This program and others like it must continue if we are going to close the opportunity gap in our state.
Obviously, this issue is big and can’t be covered in just a few paragraphs. It is a fundamental flaw in our current system and it underpins all efforts in public education to improve outcomes for kids. At Stand, it is the primary driver for all the work that we do on behalf of students.
Policy Director, Stand for Children – Washington
To learn more, join us for a policy webinar on Thursday, September 15 at 2 pm or 6 pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The state’s Achievement Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee has published numerous reports on the state’s achievement gaps with recommendations for how to narrow the gaps: http://www.k12.wa.us/AchievementGap/Studies.aspx
The Education Trust is nationally recognized for their focus on closing the achievement gap: See their Gauging the Gaps report for a national summary and this profile of Washington State with statistics on our gaps.