August 15, 2013
Feds give state NCLB "high-risk status" for inadequate teacher evaluation law

When Washington's four-tiered teacher evaluation law was passed in 2010, it was heralded by education reform groups as a major step forward. Revisions made in 2012 gave the evaluations more teeth, allowing student achievement to be included in evaluations and specifically stating that teachers rated as unsatisfactory two years in a row can be fired.

Which is all well and good, but the federal government says it's not good enough. While Washington's law allows for student test scores to be included as a factor in teacher evaluations, it does not require individual districts to use that data. That kind of flexibility is impermissible, say the feds, and Washington must fix the problem by the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

At stake is the state's waiver from certain requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. Since no state will be meeting NCLB's 2014 requirement that 100% of students meet state standards, conditional waivers are required. Debbie Cafazzo at the News Tribune has a well-written article explaining the problem:

In a letter to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, Deborah Delisle, assistant secretary of the federal education department, said Washington's latest request to extend a conditional waiver granted last summer fails to meet all requirements.

The biggest objection, according to Delisle's letter, is Washington's choice to give local districts discretion over whether to use state test results in determining a teacher's student growth rating.

Dorn told Cafazzo that the fix could be as simple as changing "can" to "must" in the evaluations law and that he warned the Legislature it wasn't going far enough in the 2012 bill to satisfy the Department of Education. Now a fix must be achieved in the next legislative session, or Washington's NCLB waiver could be revoked.

Not surprisingly, the state teachers union has some objections. Since some teachers teach subjects or grade levels that are not tested by the state, it would set up a system where some teachers are being evaluated partly based on test scores while others are not - different treatment that is always a union no-no.

The WEA spokeswoman also gave Cafazzo the usual litany about test scores being unreliable and difficult to apply to a specific teacher's evaluation. That's an objection that's more appropriate to convey to the Obama Administration than state lawmakers, though. While the union backed the original 2010 teacher evaluation law, it was not part of the 2012 compromise bill and continues to object to linking test scores to evaluations, with headlines that declare "student test scores are not a good measure for teacher evaluations" and "legitimacy of testing a farce."

A 2011 report from the National Center on Teacher Quality noted that 23 states use student achievement data as part of teacher evaluations and 12 of them use that data as the "preponderant criterion" in teacher evaluations.

Posted by Adam Faber at August 15, 2013 05:41 PM | Email This
1. Delete @1-2 - more spam.

With regard to this post and others along a similar vain, a collective biography of the progressive/regressive left will soon be published - entitled "Unintended consequences".

If you don't think the motive of passing Obamacare, anyway knowing it would fail, was to lead to single payer, I have a piece of swamp land to sell you near Arlington.

Of course, the left will continue to dismiss the problems of Obamacare as an unintended consequence as long as the press will let them get away with it. However, if the writers of Obamacare cared about consequences, this bill would not have been so horribly written as it has shown itself to be.

Posted by: KDS on August 16, 2013 09:58 AM
2. @1 KDS on August 16, 2013 09:58 AM,

Then you'll want to reach deep in to your wallet and support

And after you've given until it hurts, go get your family and friends to donate.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on August 16, 2013 10:43 AM
3. When will Republicans start being conservative?

"Heritage Action for America CEO Michael Needham on Thursday cast House Republicans as gutless for backing down on Obamacare and the farm bill.

"Washington loves to play this game of saying something can't be done," he said. "Politicians like to set expectations as low as possible so they can't help but trip over them.""

"Heritage Action has been pushing Republicans to vote down any CR that funds Obamacare. But GOP leadership has quietly been lobbying against the strategy, which they say can't be achieved with a Democratic Senate and White House."

Fooled again!

Posted by: POD on August 16, 2013 12:00 PM
4. "Ryan Blethen Doesn't Think You Should Read This Column"

Yawn! And Jim Miller doesn't think you should be able to share your thoughts or read anybody else's comments.

Posted by: Doctor Steve on August 16, 2013 12:09 PM
5. "In fact, most Republicans are going to vote to fund Obamacare. But they have a plan to make you clap like a seal by dangling a shiny object in front of you. They are going to get the individual mandate delayed -- not defunded, not permanently killed, but delayed a year.

Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark -- bark louder you conservative seals. Clap for your sardine. This is your shiny object. The grand poobahs of thought orbiting the Republican Leaders want that. They will trot out some Democrats to bluster against it to make you clap louder. Behind the scenes they'll work with the Democrats to make this happen and Jenn Rubin will write a blog post at the Washington Post about how we should all kneel before Boehner and McConnell for their grand genius."

Stay focused. Show up and confront your Congressman. Tell him if he votes to fund Obamacare, he cannot really say he is fighting against it."

Posted by: POD on August 16, 2013 02:35 PM
6. @2 - HAHAHA. I don't support defunding Obamacare - that would play right into the leftists hands - bad tactical and silly move for the GOP.

I am all for a debate about this bill and unconstitutional maneuvers of postponing implementation - I would love to see Rand Paul or even Ted Cruz get in Pres. Barack Treyvon's face debate the issue like it hasn't been before and expose him for the lieing fraud that he is. However, Pres. Treyvon is a coward because he knows the danger of that of being exposed for what he really is.

I am pissed that Congress gets subsidized by OPM and alot of people who don't worship at the altar of leftism are also. However, I think that the House will probably vote on that and expose who the political elites are.

Posted by: KDS on August 16, 2013 05:14 PM
7. "Pres. Barack Treyvon"

Do you call him that because you think he should be shot and killed as was Martin?

Posted by: Doctor Steve on August 16, 2013 06:33 PM
8. Texas SWAT team raid yields tomato plants, owner held at gunpoint.

Too bad for the dead of West, Texas that they don't show such vigor down there in Texas when it comes to inspecting fertilizer plants.

Posted by: Doctor Steve on August 16, 2013 06:58 PM
9. @7 - It was because he referred to himself "Trayvon could have been him 35 years" in a speech a few weeks ago - nothing else. Remember ?

Barack Sharpton is more descriptive of his racial divisive tendencies.

Do you think that the rodeo clown in Missouri with the Obama mask should barred from working anywhere ? If so, what about those who mocked Bush or Clinton - equivalent punishment ? If the answer to the first question is no, never mind, but others may see the point I was making.

Posted by: KDS on August 16, 2013 09:43 PM
10. Where's Rags hiding out ? Has this blog become that redundant ?

Maybe she realizes that blogging is addictive and it suppresses being productive elsewhere. Politics today has become stench-filled - a sad state. Leftwingers and Rightwingers gravitate toward hurling verbal feces at each other. More cleverly worded posts might help, but somehow I doubt it.

Posted by: KDS on August 16, 2013 10:36 PM
11. It would be better to eliminate the Dept of Education and get the federal government out of dictating educational standards to the states. Education was not an enumerated power of Congress under the Constitution.

Teachers should be held accountable for the results of their efforts.

The State has, for the past forty years or more, taken over more and more of the parenting function and slowly eliminated the need for parents to be involved. Maybe all state schools should be turned into boarding schools so that the "home" and "society" excuses for kids failing can be eliminated - complete the conversion.

Or, take measures to "nudge" parenting back on the parents.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on August 17, 2013 07:31 AM
12. Steve@4 writes of Jim Miller's hypocrisy in complaining about Ryan Blethen. I agree. Furthermore, this is one rare case where the Seattle Times made a good call. Krauthammer's column is ridiculously one-sided, failing to mention, for example, the DOJ's extensive explanation of how they were exercising prosecutoial discretion as prosecutors regularly do. ( There is a real question of where the line is between prosecutorial discretion and flouting the law, but Krauthammer's column doesn't seriously address that. And Miller's post doesn't seriously address anything.

Posted by: Bruce on August 17, 2013 12:08 PM
13. @6 KDS on August 16, 2013 05:14 PM,

I don't support defunding Obamacare - that would play right into the leftists hands ... I would love to see Rand Paul or even Ted Cruz get in Pres. Barack Treyvon's face debate the issue

Well, I've never known what you mean when you bleat on about 'low information' voters, but with that statement I understand what an exceptionally high voter would be.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on August 18, 2013 09:40 AM
14. @13 - sorry you don't know how to characterize a low information voter in your saracastic mockery. Perhaps those who envision ignorance is bliss would give you a better clue.

You, for one don't seem to care whether the values of our country go down the sewer as exhibited by your devil may care attitude and your full throttle defense of the intentions only count and consequences don't matter. Nice work.

Posted by: KDS on August 18, 2013 10:16 PM
15. Top article. I look forward in order to reading more. Cheers

Posted by: samuel on August 19, 2013 01:54 PM
16. Using student achievement data for teacher evaluation in grades 2-10 should be fairly easy and should be able to be done in a way that the teachers unions would agree to.

If schools used MAP testing or other national tests like that on a regular basis they can easily identify how much a student should progress on each education thread, on average, in a given year.

The trick would be to use those scores to help the teachers understand where they need to focus more time on - that being an administrative job - then use current evaluation methods to say whether or not those teachers are doing adequate.

What many morons don't realize is that if a teacher's students all fail a test with say a 60% score, that doesn't necessarily mean that the teacher did a bad job. Heck, if those particular students, with another average teacher, would have averaged 40%, then that teacher should get a bonus even if the kids all failed.

Same thing is true with advanced kids. If you have a group of students that you taught that got 95% of the state tests right, but they would have had 98% with an average replacement teacher, then maybe that teacher that got them all to pass with 95% might need to look at what he/she did wrong and make adjustments.

Posted by: doug on August 19, 2013 02:16 PM
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