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December 08, 2013

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Ken, my understanding is that growth would still be required from all, but that tested subjects and levels would have to use state test data. That said, I agree with you that so much good work has been done, and these political moves dishonor that.

Two concerns come to mind:
1) Only those teachers who teach reading, writing, or math in grades being tested need to have student growth scores included in their evaluations. We've now singled out about a third of teacher for special and less valid evaluation protocols.
2) It seems to me that there have been repeated efforts to torpedo the work of educators in Washington state who have spent the last three years and more developing new, more professional evaluation protocols that actually address the act of teaching. What is it that some people fear about the implementation of those new protocols? That something designed by educators might actually work!

Except the current law hasn't passed muster in DC. That's not to say my idea would work either, of course, but clearly something has to change in order to preserve the waiver.

Your worry is well-founded, Mark; fixing things that aren't broken is what they do best.

I like your loophole. I think there might already exist such language, though, where the current law (RCW 28a.405.100f) says that "student growth data that is relevant to the teacher and subject matter" can be used. Honestly, it would be easy to make the case that your third grade test scores are relevant to neither you nor your subject matter (since the standards for your subject matter are different from grade level to grade level).

My worry is that when the law is opened up for revisions, some public-school-hating policymakers will jump on the opportunity to tinker with more than just a "can" to "must" shift.

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