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Wash. Senate Passes New Teacher Evaluation System

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington state senate has approved a new four-tier teacher evaluation system. The bill that passed Tuesday also creates a mechanism for firing under-performing teachers who don't improve.

School kids are graded A through F. But not teachers in Washington. For the most part they're still evaluated on a pass-fail system. But that's changing.

Several Washington school districts have been piloting a new four-tier teacher rating system. And now the Washington senate has approved legislation that would require all districts to adopt a one-through-four rating for classroom teachers and principals in time for the 2015 school year.

State Senator Rodney Tom is a suburban Seattle Democrat. On the Senate floor, he warned that the devil will be in how the new evaluation is implemented at the district level. "When you have a four-tier evaluation system you need to make sure that there's actually four-tiers," he said. "You know it's not a four-tier system if 99.8% are 'fours' and .2 are 'ones'."

Under the new system, a level 1 teacher is considered unsatisfactory as is a level 2 for more than two years. Also, teachers would be graded –- in part -– based on student test scores.

The bill now goes to the Washington House.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

SB 5895 - Teacher evaluations bill:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5895&year=2011

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Austin Jenkins
Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia–based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. He regularly files stories for NPR News. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

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