The state Senate could vote on compromise teacher-evaluation legislation Tuesday.
OLYMPIA — State senators could vote Tuesday on overhauling Washington’s system for evaluating teachers and principals.
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers emerged from nearly a week of negotiations in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office with a new proposal that was winning praise even as it was being put in writing Monday evening.
Negotiators had been trying to reconcile various bills, including one by Gregoire and one by businesses and advocates of changes in education. The issue had become snagged on a separate dispute among Senate Democrats over charter schools, which are not part of the new proposal.
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Rep. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, said lawmakers reached a deal he called a “good compromise.” The other three negotiators, Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, and Sens. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, and Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, were more circumspect, because they had yet to round up the votes to pass the proposal.
McAuliffe, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said the proposal’s exposure in a News Tribune blog post Monday might throw a wrench into the agreement. She had yet to brief fellow Senate Democrats.
Lawmakers are trying to fill in the details of their existing mandate for the state to move to a four-tier evaluation system for educators by the 2013-2014 school year, after pilot programs around the state finish experimenting with changes. Before 2010, the state demanded a two-tier system that graded teachers as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
Dammeier, who supported the business-backed proposal, said negotiators agreed to require multiple measures of student growth, such as test scores, to be substantial factors in evaluations.
Evaluation results would have to be a factor in laying off or reassigning educators, he said — but not until the 2015-2016 school year.
McAuliffe said the proposal includes protections for teachers.
The Washington Education Association, the state teachers union, declined to comment about the plan, but Lytton, who earlier had written a union-backed plan, said the new proposal builds on input from educators.
“We’re doing this with teachers, and not to teachers,” Lytton said.
Dammeier also said newer teachers whose performances are rated at the lowest tier would not be able to obtain tenure, while teachers rated in the two highest tiers would be able to obtain tenure faster than the usual three years. There also would be provisions for dismissing veteran teachers rated at the lowest tier for two years, he said.
“I was doubtful we could get there,” Dammeier said. “The governor did a very good job pushing everybody.”