House Public Ed approves teacher appraisal bill

The House Public Education Committee, in a hastily called meeting late Wednesday afternoon, approved Senate Bill 4, which would create a new teacher appraisal system based partly on student test scores. Be prepared to call your state representatives to urge a NO vote against this bill if it is set by the Calendars Committee for debate by the full House.

It is a Senate bill that already has been approved by the Senate and must pass the House on second reading by midnight next Tuesday, or it will die. It also could be attached as an amendment to another bill during the session’s closing days.

It was approved by the committee on a party line vote, with all six Republican members voting for it.

The House committee adopted a committee substitute that made some changes to the Senate bill. The new version of the teacher evaluation bill will require that a “significant portion” of a teacher’s appraisal must be based on the “teacher’s student learning objectives and outcomes, including performance on state standardized tests and other student learning objectives and outcomes.”

The bill also provides that the “performance of a teacher’s students on state assessments shall not be the primary indicator for determining teacher effectiveness.” The Senate version limited the student performance portion of a teacher’s appraisal evaluation to 50 percent. The House substitute doesn’t set a specific limit.

The House bill provides that the new teacher appraisal system must be implemented by Sept. 1, 2015, one year earlier than the Senate bill.