Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Illinois Attempts to Link Teacher Tenure to Results

A similar effort is underway in Illinois:

Illinois lawmakers are considering sweeping legislation that would link teacher tenure to student test scores, make it easier to fire ineffective teachers and curb teachers' right to strike.

The measure, debated during a Senate panel hearing Monday, moves Illinois to the forefront of states' efforts to hold teachers more accountable for student performance, while taking on the powerful teacher unions, which often oppose such changes.

Last year, at least a dozen states from Maryland to Washington revamped teacher evaluations and altered tenure rules—a flurry of activity spurred by Race to the Top, President Obama's $4.35 billion initiative to reward states that overhaul education systems. Colorado passed a similar measure to the one proposed by Illinois, where leaders in both chambers of the state house appear to support it. No other state has gone as far as Colorado.

Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said states were pushing changes even though the Race to the Top money has already been given out.

"I think there is a real acknowledgment that teacher evaluations have been divorced from evidence of student learning for far too long," said Ms. Jacobs, whose nonprofit seeks improvement in teacher recruitment and development.

Teachers unions in some states have fought changes in teacher evaluation and tenure polices, complaining the new plans are often rushed and rely too heavily on student test scores, while those in other states have backed the moves.


Illinois Attempts to Link Teacher Tenure to Results


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