“We must move forward with the statewide educator evaluation system, which supports and develops teachers and principals, and holds educators accountable for their performance.”

The education reform bill passed by the state legislature with overwhelming support last year, and signed into law by the Governor, raises standards for educators by implementing a teacher and principal evaluation and support program.

The Appropriations Committee budget cuts put this essential program at risk.

We urge legislators to restore the $10 million for Talent Development, proposed by Governor Malloy’s budget.

This program is a significant improvement over existing evaluation programs in its potential to provide essential feedback and support to high-performing teachers and principals, make certain that teachers in need of improvement receive the help they need, and allow for swift dismissal of those who consistently fail to improve. Program pilots are underway currently in 10 sites. Upon review of these efforts, the State Board of Education (SBE) approved this program for statewide implementation. The remaining districts have developed plans for evaluation systems similarly informed by effectiveness. The SBE will review these plans for approval this month.

Why is this so important? Research is clear on the long-term positive impacts of effective teachers for kids, as well as the long-term negative impact on kids of ineffective teachers.[1] Implementation of the statewide educator evaluator program is a basic step toward ensuring that children across Connecticut have access to teachers and principals who are effective every year.

Superintendent Dr. Jerome Belair of Waterford Public Schools put it this way, “When you’re teaching someone to swim, you don’t start in the deep end first. You wade into the pool and you support the heck out of the beginner.”

The governor acknowledged this in February with his state budget proposal, which includes a total of $20 million over the next two years for implementation of teacher and principals evaluations informed by effectiveness.

The Appropriations Committee’s budget cuts 50 percent of the funding for the Talent Development line item, which will support implementation of the state’s new teacher and principal evaluator system over the next two years. The Governor’s funding will do the following:[2]

  • Enhance data management systems to better inform evaluations – $3,000,000
  • Provide research based student and parent survey tools and guidance to school districts on appropriate utilization so they do not have to develop their own independently – $250,000.
  • Provide In-depth training for evaluators-$2,650,000
  • Provide evaluation orientation and technical assistance for educators-$2,000,000
  • Provide professional development for leaders-$2,100,000

As the legislative session nears its end, we urge state legislators not to go backwards. Stand by the promise of 2012 – invest in our educator evaluation and support system.

Our teachers, principals, and students are counting on it.

[1] National Bureau of Economic Research. “The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood.” By Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, and Jonah E. Rockoff (2011).

[2](Derived from Brian Mahoney, Chief Financial Officer of State Department of Education, worksheet, 4.2013)