The state Senate passed a bill late Wednesday to mandate the use of student scores on statewide tests as part of a teacher's evaluation.
A bill mandating that teachers be judged at least in part on students’ standardized test scores won approval in the state Senate on Wednesday night, potentially opening the door for the state to regain authority over about $40 million from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Senate voted 26-23 to pass a bill saying school districts must use student test scores when evaluating a teacher’s effectiveness. The legislation heads now to the Democrat-controlled House, where a similar bill has stalled.
Teacher evaluations were a sticking point for the state last year. That’s when Washington became the first state to lose its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act because lawmakers here refused to require student test scores be included as part of a teacher’s evaluation. The state chose instead to leave that decision up to each school district.
As a result, districts lost control over how to spend about $40 million in federal money aimed at helping the state’s most disadvantaged children.
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Washington Education Association President Kim Mead reacted quickly after the vote Wednesday, saying in a statement she is ashamed of the lawmakers who voted for the bill.
“They sold out our students,” Mead said.
Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement that losing the state’s waiver led to canceled tutoring and early learning programs.
If the measure becomes law, it would apply to language arts, reading and math teachers working in third through eighth and 11th grades, starting in the 2017-18 school year. It would also require that student scores be used in principal evaluations.