LATEST UPDATE: Great News on Teacher Evaluation Rules
On Wednesday, March 11, the Education Committee unanimously passed a set of small changes to the teacher evaluation rules. The MEA worked directly with the Maine Department of Education to make sure the changes were beneficial to educators and we feel strongly the changes that were passed make the teacher evaluation rules even better.
MEA testified last week in support of the main change required by the US DOE to maintain our Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver (aka No Child Left Behind). That one change required the statewide assessment be used to evaluate teachers in the tested grades and the tested subjects as one factor of the multiple measures required for the student learning and growth component of the evaluation. The MEA did not enthusiastically endorse that change, but it was necessary to avoid reverting back to the punitive measures contained under No Child Left Behind.
Other positive changes made by the Education Committee on Wednesday:
- School districts will now have until July 15, 2015 to provide a description of their intent to pilot to the Department of Education. The full evaluation plan will go to DOE for approval after the pilot year has completed. Additional time for districts to work on their plans and to define student growth measures to be ready to pilot was requested by MEA and the ME DOE agreed.
- Also on March 11, the Education Committee unanimously endorsed LD 38, a bill that would give school districts another year to pilot their evaluation systems. School districts will have all of next school year (2015-2016) to pilot their programs.
- In addition, the MEA worked with DOE staff to make other, positive adjustments to the teacher evaluation rules. For example, the ME DOE wanted to allow districts the option of allowing only standardized tests to be used as student growth measures for teachers. The MEA agreed to this change but the ME DOE included language that this can only happen at the teacher’s discretion.
- The MEA worked with DOE staff to maintain the possibility of districts using collective measures to evaluate teachers, although they originally proposed to remove all references to collective measures. Keeping in collective measures will help maintain continuity for districts and provide an additional tool if teachers and districts want to use such measures.
- The MEA also worked with the ME DOE to reorganize or eliminate unnecessary changes.
Overall, we are all very proud of the work we have done to make the teacher evaluation rules even better. The rules and the bill to extend the pilot for another year will now head to the floor of the House and Senate and to the Governor’s Office. We will continue to monitor the progress but hope both chambers quickly pass the bills and that the Governor will sign both.
The revised rules are not yet publicly available, but will be available shortly. Once they are available, MEA will post them on our website and share with our members.
We appreciate the many teachers who came to Augusta to testify on the teacher evaluation rule changes and LD 38. Because of the support of our members, we are confident we created the room to get the best possible rules in place.
MEA staff and leaders are actively working to make sure our members are represented in Augusta, and this is a prime example of the good work we can do when we work together.
If you have any technical questions, please contact MEA Research Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous Updates to Teacher Evaluation
Lawmakers approved a new set of teacher evaluation rules by overriding a Governor LePage veto last legislative session. This session, lawmakers will debate changes to the rules which may include the mandate to add standardized test scores to the evaluation system as a means for measurement in your evaluation.
A copy of the proposed rule changes can be found here.
To share your input on this issue, please email MEA Government Relations Director, John Kosinski at email@example.com.