MSMA: House rejects evaluation mandate; bill goes to Senate

Maine School Management Association
April 7, 2010

House rejects evaluation mandate; bill goes to Senate

The House on Tuesday afternoon rejected an amendment that would mandate school districts adopt state approved models if they want to consider student performance in teacher evaluations and sent the bill back to the Senate to work on a less restrictive proposal that would still allow the state to apply for a Race to the Top grant.

The vote was 140 to 3 following a debate where House members testified they were uncomfortable with the amendment added in the Senate to LD 1799, “An Act To Encourage the Use of Models in the Collection and Use of Student Achievement Data.” The amendment would take control away from local school boards and superintendents in choosing the evaluation models that best fit their district’s needs.

Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, made the motion for reconsideration.

“I find this terribly restrictive,” Millett said of the amendment.

Members said they did not want to kill the bill all together because it removes a ban on using student achievement data in teacher evaluations so the state can apply for up to $75 million in federal Race to the Top funds. Maine is one of the last states in the country with such a ban.

The House’s action would allow the Senate to go back to the original bill that came out of the Education Committee with a 11-2 recommendation. It would simply remove the ban on using student data and direct the Department of Education, with advice from a stakeholders group, to develop evaluation models for school districts to consider.

The Senate amendment which the House rejected was proposed by the Maine Education Association. It says if a school administrative unit wants to include student assessments as part of teacher evaluations, the unit must use one of the models developed by the stakeholders group outlined in the bill.

It is critical that school board members and administrators who oppose this mandate contact their legislators in the Senate this morning and urge support for the Education Committee’s original bill.

To contact your local legislator click on the link below:

Contact: Dale Douglass, executive director
Victoria Wallack, communications director
Telephone: 207-622-3473 or 1-800-660-8484