An Eye on Colorado

Governor Ritter of Colorado recently signed a bill in his state abolishing teacher tenure. From Education Week:

Under the law, teachers will be evaluated each year, with at least half their ratings based on whether their students progressed during the school year. Teachers would only be able to get tenure job protections if their students have improved for three straight years.

Teachers who have tenure now would lose that status and the right to appeal a dismissal starting in 2015 if their students fail to improve two years in a row. However, teachers on the verge of losing tenure would first be able to appeal that second poor evaluation.

Principals would also be evaluated based on the progress of their students and the performance of their teachers.

The AFT apparently supported this bill as a first step in renovating Colorado’s education system. At this time, no evaluation procedure has been written.

I support the accountability measures — I think tenure sometimes prevents necessary changes in the faculty. However, if the measures go too far, Colorado could find itself with either a teacher shortage or watered-down teacher assessments, or possibly both.

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