I will follow the second-to-the-last day of the Legislature today when Senate Bill 521 is expected to come up for a vote. I have been told that lawmakers have received hundreds of e-mails in opposition to the concept of using student progress to measure teacher effectiveness, but I also know that the governor believes this bill is important to deliver a message to Washington and the Race to the Top evaluators that Georgia is serious about school reform. (Here is a good AJC story on today’s crucial vote.)
The governor’s spokesman sent me these links this morning to give context to why a performance-driven evaluation of teachers is vital and why a diluted compromise that placates teachers is not in Georgia’s best interest.
According to the e-mail that Bert Brantley, spokesman for Gov. Sonny Perdue, shared with me:
I would hope that the EdWeek item below would once and for all answer the question of whether it is better to weaken your Race to the Top application in order to get union buy-in.
Last week, at the Race to the Top workshop in Minnesota, it was even suggested to right-to-work states that a teacher survey is a great way to get teacher input. Which is, of course, what we did, and I have attached the results of that survey to this email because it seems some have forgotten that we actually asked teachers for their input on the front end of the application process.
Duncan on Race to Top: Bold Reform More Crucial Than Buy-In
After staying out of the Race to the Top round-two fray for weeks, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is finally starting to take the gloves off and wade into the middle of a big debate over just how important “buy-in” is in a state’s application.
Although broad collaboration and buy-in should remain a goal, he said, if a state’s proposal is “more consensus but watered-down reform, that’s not going to be a winning application.”
Brantley also cited a Wall Street Journal story in which Duncan said “watered-down proposals with lots of consensus won’t win.”
Keep checking back here for updates on SB 521.