Last fall Idaho voters overwhelmingly defeated Students Come First, legislation that had been passed during the 2011 legislative session.
One of the sticking points for many people was the merit pay, or pay-for-performance, that was to be awarded to teachers based on student preformance on assessments. With that in mind I have to wonder how many people know about the same teacher evalutation elements in Common Core.
An article from Edweek helps explain.
In order to get flexibility from the Education
Department on pieces of the No Child Left Behind Act, including the
much-maligned 2013-14 deadline for bringing all students to proficiency
on state assessments, states had to agree to adopt rigorous standards in
reading and math that prepare students for higher education and the
workplace. Most states choose to do this by adopting the Common Core
State Standards, which are in place in 46 states and the District of
Columbia. Virginia decided to go with its own homegrown standards.
As part of the waiver process, states were expected to put in place new
assessments aligned to the standards. Two consortia, with a $360 million
assist from the federal government, are developing tests aligned to the
The assessments are expected to be rolled out in the 2014-15 school year. In the meantime, some states are using their own common-core aligned tests. And according to their waiver plans, states are supposed to start using student growth on those assessments to make personnel decisions about teachers, like whether they get extra pay, a promotion—or get to keep their jobs. Teacher evaluation has been the trickiest piece of waiver implementation so far.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has this to say about it:
First, I want to address the implementation of teacher and leader
evaluation and support systems. States that have received a Race to the
Top grant or flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act (ESEA) are responsible for working with districts to develop
systems to evaluate and support principals and teachers based on
multiple measures, including student growth… new evaluation systems to
inform personnel determinations… personnel consequences,
tied in part to the use of student growth data.
(You can read the whole speech if you really want to.)
So, the Idaho State Department of Education has agreed to base how school districts treat their teachers on an assessment that isn’t even written yet and that will not be written in Idaho or with any input or control by Idaho.
The citizens of Idaho voted against this once before because it was a bad idea. If it was a bad idea when we thought it was coming from our own state legislators, isn’t it an even worse idea coming from the federal level?