Monday, April 05, 2010

Legislator hopeful his tenure bill will pass

Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston, DFER's Ed Reformer of the Month in July 2009 (, is pushing hard on the reform agenda, in particular challenging ironclad tenure, to better position his state to win funds in the next round of RTTT:

Johnston, a freshman legislator who was principal of a Mapleton high school, has worked for months on the bill.

Though the final draft has yet to be released, Johnston has lost his original co-sponsors, and the state's largest teachers union, the Colorado Education Association, is nervously awaiting details.

"The purpose of this bill is not that teachers and principals are the problem, they are the solution," Johnston said. "There are obviously going to be folks who are going to perseverate on the tenure components of this bill, and they are important parts, but they are only one part of the larger concept."

Key concepts are defining effective teachers and principals and using student academic growth data to set that mark. The skills of top teachers and principals would be mined and hopefully replicated across the state, he said.

Defining effectiveness and determining how to measure it will come out of the governor's council on educator effectiveness.

Johnston's bill would grant tenure after new teachers demonstrate three years of being "highly effective" — a classification based on evaluations weighted heavily by student academic growth data.

A teacher could lose tenured status after two years of "ineffective" ratings.

The bill also would help eliminate the direct-placement process, in which tenured teachers are involuntarily placed into schools.

Instead, tenured teachers who can't find work would get paid as they looked for new jobs over an 18-month period. After that period, the pay would end.


Legislator hopeful his tenure bill will pass

By Jeremy P. Meyer
The Denver Post

Posted: 04/02/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

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