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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Washington State Vote To Use Statewide Standardized Tests in Teacher Evaluations, Fails

Washington Senate defeats teacher evaluation bill

Updated 8:06 pm, Tuesday, February 18, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Education officials say the state will be limited in the way it can spend about $44 million in federal dollars after the Senate on Tuesday turned down a proposal that would have mandated the use of statewide standardized tests in educators' evaluations.
Senate Bill 5246, which failed by a 28-19 vote, would have revised the state's new teacher-principal evaluation system to accommodate a demand from the federal government to mandate using statewide standardized tests as a factor in evaluations.
Washington state has a waiver from provisions of the so-called No Child Left Behind law. It could lose the waiver and some federal money by not changing the current law, which only suggests the tests be used in evaluations instead of mandating them.
Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, said she voted against the bill because using state tests to measure student growth has not been proven to be an effective way to judge teachers.
"Nationwide we are a leader in the teacher-principal evaluation system," she said. "Why would we allow the federal government to break a system that is working?"
McAuliffe added that she thinks a better solution can be found before the end of the legislative session to extend the waiver and keep the federal dollars coming to Washington state.
Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, who voted for the measure, was not so optimistic.
"We should expect to lose the waiver," he said. "There were forms of this bill that could be controversial ... but not the measure in front of us today."
Losing the waiver would mean nearly every school in the state would have to send a letter home to parents saying they are failing to meet the requirements of the federal education law.
Washington is one of a handful of states, including Oregon, Arizona and Kansas, in "high risk" of losing the waivers that have been granted to dozens of others.
The waivers are intended to give states more flexibility to figure out how to boost education without meeting 2014 deadlines under No Child Left Behind, which says every child in the country would be reading and doing math at grade level by the end of this school year.

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