Teach evaluation bill’s focus is local control

By cori

A school would have to limit the number of consecutive years a student is assigned to a teacher deemed ineffective. Some of the rules dictating how teachers and school administrators are evaluated would be delayed another two years. And test-score data would play a smaller role in rating school employees.

Those are some of the highlights of legislation that would formalize the process for evaluating teachers and administrators in Michigan. It follows sweeping recommendations made by the Michigan Council on Educator Effectiveness in 2013.

The bill, some say, would set the stage for a fair process for evaluating teachers and put more control in the hands of local school leaders to determine how staff would be evaluated.

"I firmly believe you'll have a fairer result," said Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee who sponsored the bill.

Some, though, aren't convinced. Five Republicans voted with all 10 Democrats in opposing Pavlov's bill, which nonetheless passed the Senate earlier this month on a 22-15 vote and is now before the House Education Committee.

Critics say the bill ignores key recommendations from the council, such as having the state require — and provide — training for those evaluating school employees. They also say the bill doesn't set minimum standards for the kinds of programs schools use to help them evaluate employees.

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