CT’s Big Six to Education Committee: “Protect Promise of Statewide Educator Evaluation System”

March 15, 2013 • Current Events, General

A coalition of six of the state’s leading education and business groups – CAPSS, CAS, CABE, CBIA, CCER, ConnCAN – urge lawmakers to reject S.B. 1097 (“An Act Concerning Revisions to the Education Reform Act of 2012”)

Implementation of the new statewide teacher and principal evaluation program, the System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED) created as part of last year’s landmark education reform law (Public Act 12-116), will be compromised by a new piece of legislation (S.B. 1097) recently introduced by the Education Committee.

This prompted the Big Six, a group composed of six education and business organizations, to assert that lawmakers need to protect progress made last year for Connecticut children by not supporting S.B. 1097.

“Connecticut must move forward with the statewide teacher and principal evaluation program in accordance with the phase in schedule that was agreed to by members of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC),” said Joseph Cirasuolo, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS). “As a member of the PEAC, which helped develop the current model for the evaluation program, I think that the phase in schedule will allow districts to effectively implement the system. We can, therefore, make major progress towards the goal that we all share: ensuring that all children have access to the best teachers and principals.”

If passed and signed into law, S.B. 1097 would have the following impact:

  • Removes SEED implementation authority from boards of education: S.B. 1097 removes implementation authority from boards of education and gives it to a “professional development and evaluation committee.” Ultimately, school boards are held accountable for and are responsible for implementation of this program and corresponding results. In order to do this effectively, they must retain final decision making authority.
  • Unnecessarily delaying implementation of SEED: S.B. 1097 would delay the implementation timeline of the new system by one year, and require all school districts to fully implement the model in the 2014-15 school year. This overrides Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) and the State Board of Education’s (SBE) decision to phase-in the model gradually starting next year. More importantly, it removes the opportunity to phase in the system and to make adjustments based on that phase in.

“This is an unnecessary attempt to slow the progress that SEED will bring to our public education system,” said Robert Rader, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. “We owe it to our kids to ensure that teachers and principals get the feedback and support necessary to succeed, on the timeline that was reached by consensus at PEAC. We strongly urge members of the Education Committee to reject this bill and allow the PEAC and SBE models to progress as planned.”

All 26 members of the Education Committee voted in favor of last year’s landmark education reform law, which included the creation of the educator evaluator program. And public opinion is clearly in support of enhancing teacher quality this year. In fact, a recent Global Strategy Group poll of more than 600 Connecticut voters found that nearly three-fourths of voters (73 percent) believe that “evaluating teachers based on class performance” should be a priority for the governor and state legislators this year.