Op Ed By Shana Kennedy-Salchow

While most of the sound and fury during this legislative session has centered on the state’s budget deficit, there are crucial education issues that cry out for attention. For example, Connecticut’s current statutes related to teacher employment and evaluation policies are out of date. They are unfair to students and our best teachers and give us a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and maintaining effective teachers…

These changes ensure that our most effective teachers remain and improve in the classroom, our struggling teachers receive the help they need, and our students receive the instruction they deserve. They also ensure that Connecticut is able to compete for ambitious teachers– those who want to find new ways to help students perform at their best and to be recognized for doing so.

The bill should be amended to allow districts to give primary consideration to evaluation outcomes. This way, they could first lay off teachers identified as needing “intensive supervision and assistance” with their current evaluation processes. It makes no sense to lay off a teacher who has been documented as being a great teacher while keeping someone who has been identified as struggling simply because he has more years of experience. This practice is unfair to our best teachers but most of all to our students who will receive the ultimate consequence of poor academic instruction and preparation for the future.

It is time for Connecticut’s legislature to put the needs of our students and teachers over the archaic and debilitating policies and practices that govern our teacher employment decisions today.

Read the full opinion here.