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Wash. Governor Wants To Toughen Teacher Evaluations

Gov. Chris Gregoire announces education reform proposals. Photo by Joe Concannon
Gov. Chris Gregoire announces education reform proposals. Photo by Joe Concannon

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Governor Chris Gregoire wants to put teeth into a statewide system for evaluating teachers and principals. In Olympia Tuesday, Gregoire said she'll ask the Legislature to approve a new four tier performance rating. It would go from unsatisfactory, to basic, to proficient, and top out at distinguished.

The governor wants the law to require educators in the two lowest tiers improve within a year or be fired.

"We need to address this concern out there that we have bad teachers. For the most part, we have very, very good teachers. In many instances, we have distinguished teachers," Gregoire says. "But we want to make sure the public feels confident that we have got everybody at the proficient level or above. That's what this is intended to do."

The state's largest teachers union says it supports a "vigorous" evaluation system. But in a statement, the Washington Education Association says a bigger problem right now is unstable funding for public schools.

On the Web:

Gov. Gregoire's press release:

Washington Education Association statement:

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.