February 2016

Evaluation System Cries Out for Improvement

CEA leaders fight for product not process

CEA President Sheila Cohen (at right) and CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg discuss CEA's new teacher evaluation proposal with Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell during the February 4 meeting of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council.

CEA championed people over process at the Feb. 4 meeting of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC). CEA President Sheila Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg pressed education leaders to act quickly and decisively to make the current, two-year waiver from using mastery exam (SBAC, CMT, etc.) scores for evaluation permanent.

"We're up against a time limit here," said Waxenberg, referring to the fact that some of the issues that PEAC can address would require action by the legislature, which adjourns May 4. CEA believes that people—students, families, teachers, and administrators—are being hurt by the new evaluation system rolled out in 2013. CEA leaders say it does not translate into improved learning for students and is unnecessarily bureaucratic and a time drain for teachers and administrators.

Cohen stressed, "We do not want to see what is happening at PEAC not coincide with what is happening in the legislative session and go past the legislative adjournment. Then the time we would have had to make substantive change will be gone, and that is not satisfactory." PEAC includes representatives of a long list of groups, including CEA and AFT-Connecticut as well as organizations representing principals, superintendents, school boards, and higher education. PEAC serves in an advisory capacity to the state Board of Education.

Waxenberg told PEAC members, "Talk as much as you want. I want to know: When is there going to be a vote?"

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