As expected, House Bill 244 passed both the House and the Senate, incorporating the educator evaluation system piloted by Georgia’s Race to the Top districts into state law. With the Senate vote this week, the bill now moves to the governor, who will sign it into law.
As you can tell from reading the bill, there are some vague references to yet-to-be-finalized evaluation details.
The teacher evaluations will now give great weight to student academic growth as measured by testing. Measures of student growth count for at least half an educator’s rating.
The passage won praise from former Washington, D.C., chancellor Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst. “The overwhelming bipartisan support of House Bill 244 provides a clear example of leaders putting politics aside and doing what’s best for students. By passing this legislation, the Georgia Legislature has sent a strong message to the rest of the country – our kids deserve to have great teachers in public school classrooms,” she said.
It was heralded by Gov. Nathan Deal, who said, “The statewide teacher and leader evaluation system established by this legislation builds upon the work accomplished with Georgia’s Race to the Top grant and will allow us to continue to improve educational practices in Georgia. These improvements will increase student learning and academic growth.”
Here is the meat of the bill:
No later than the 2014-2015 school year, each local school system and all charter schools shall implement an evaluation system as adopted and defined by the State Board of Education for elementary and secondary school teachers of record, assistant principals, and principals. The evaluation system shall be developed by the department in consultation with stakeholders, such as teachers and principals. The evaluation system shall use multiple measures, prioritizing growth in student achievement. For purposes of the evaluation system established pursuant to this subsection, the state board shall define and designate teachers of record, assistant principals, and principals.
Teachers of record, assistant principals, and principals shall be evaluated using multiple, rigorous, and transparent measures. Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, teachers of record, assistant principals, and principals shall be given written notice in advance of the school year of the evaluation measures and any specific indicators that will be used to evaluate them. Evaluation measures shall include the following elements:
(A) For teachers of record who teach courses that are subject to annual state assessments aligned with state standards and the principals and assistant principals of elementary or secondary schools that are subject to such assessments, growth in student achievement on such assessments shall count for at least 50 percent of the evaluation, using the student growth and academic achievement measures identified in the evaluation system;
(B) For teachers of record who teach courses not subject to annual state assessments, growth in student achievement shall be assessed through measures of student achievement growth developed at the school system level and approved by the Department of Education. When sufficient data becomes available from the department to calculate student achievement growth measures, such measures of student achievement growth shall count for at least 50 percent of the evaluation, using student growth and academic achievement measures developed by the school system in a process approved by the State Board of Education;
(C) For teachers of record, the annual evaluation shall also include multiple additional measures that shall be correlated with impacts on student achievement results. These measures shall include multiple classroom observations each year by appropriately trained and credentialed evaluators, using clear, consistent observation rubrics, and supplemented by other measures aligned with student achievement, including student perception data and documentation of practice; and
(D) For assistant principals and principals, the annual evaluation shall also include multiple additional measures that shall be aligned with impacts on student achievement results. These measures shall include multiple school observations each year by appropriately trained and credentialed evaluators. When sufficient data becomes available from the department to calculate performance measures, these measures shall also include the principal’s ability to attract and retain highly effective teachers, effectively manage the school, and establish a positive climate for learning, and other measures aligned with student achievement for students in all subgroups.
(3) The evaluation system adopted by the State Board of Education shall give every teacher of record, assistant principal, and principal one of four rating levels that are designated as ‘Exemplary,’ ‘Proficient,’ ‘Needs Development,’ or ‘Ineffective,’ as further defined by the State Board of Education.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog