Friday, August 16, 2013

Kansas, Oregon, and Washington "high-risk" on their NCLB waivers

Eduweek has the latest in the NCLB waivers; three states have been declared "high-risk" due to their teacher evaluation systems:
Kansas, Oregon, and Washington have been placed on "high-risk" status and given one more year to get their teacher-evaluation systems on track. Specifically, each of these states is struggling with incorporating student growth into teacher ratings.
If you're following the teacher evaluation bit, it's worth reading the whole thing, as the states' reasons for being seen as high-risk by the Fed are different: Kansas hasn't yet done the pilot that it said it would; Oregon hasn't yet figured out how to push student test scores into the teacher evals (and may protest the whole thing, anyway); and Washington apparently has to change state law to be compliant:
 While its teacher-evaluation system is in state law, that law also leaves it up to individual districts to decide whether to include state test scores in teacher ratings. (UPDATE 8/16, 12:50 P.M.: It's important to note that the state law requires test scores to be a factor in teacher ratings, but allows for other tests—such as classroom tests—to be used. Thanks to a Washington reader for clarifying that.) Federal requirements say only state test scores are to be used, so Washington will have to secure a change in state law—which likely won't be an easy task given how controversial teacher-evaluation debates are in statehouses across the country. Nevertheless, the Education Department's letter says the state has "committed" to changing the law.
Or they could stay with the current law, which is a better plan.
Recall, of course, that all of this is due to Race to the Top madness, which only some states got money from and now? Well, now that money is gone.
And have we improved education any?

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