New teacher evaluation system passes senate in Washington

Feb 14, 2012
Originally published on February 14, 2012 5:26 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington state senate has approved a new four-tier teacher evaluation system. The bill that passed Tuesday also creates a mechanism for firing under-performing teachers who don't improve.

School kids are graded A through F. But not teachers in Washington. For the most part they're still evaluated on a pass-fail system. But that's changing.

Several Washington school districts have been piloting a new four-tier teacher rating system. And now the Washington senate has approved legislation that would require all districts to adopt a one-through-four rating for classroom teachers and principals in time for the 2015 school year.

State Senator Rodney Tom is a suburban Seattle Democrat. On the Senate floor, he warned that the devil will be in how the new evaluation is implemented at the district level. "When you have a four-tier evaluation system you need to make sure that there's actually four-tiers," he said. "You know it's not a four-tier system if 99.8% are 'fours' and .2 are 'ones'."

Under the new system, a level 1 teacher is considered unsatisfactory as is a level 2 for more than two years. Also, teachers would be graded –- in part -– based on student test scores.

The bill now goes to the Washington House.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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