Education Committee Puts Children Before Politics—Takes Big Step Toward Decoupling SBAC from Teacher Evaluation

Education Committee members Sen. Danté Bartolomeo, Rep. Robert Sanchez, Co-Chairs Sen. Gayle Slossberg and Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, and Sen. Gary Winfield all voted in favor of advancing the bill.

March 18, 2016

Teachers across the state are applauding the legislature's Education Committee today for putting children before politics and moving the SBAC/teacher evaluation debate forward. The Committee voted to send SB 380—the bill that would decouple SBAC scores from teacher evaluations—to the Senate.

CEA President Sheila Cohen said the vote shows that legislators want a greater focus on student learning, not testing, and a better tool to evaluate Connecticut's teachers.

"We are grateful to the teachers who contacted the members of the Education Committee. We are pleased that many legislators listened to teachers' concerns and to mounting evidence that using SBAC scores in teacher evaluations is harmful and does not improve student learning. We look forward to continuing the momentum and working with legislators to ensure a teacher evaluation system that is valid, fair, and reliable," said Cohen.

After a nearly two hour debate, Sen. Gayle Slossberg, Education Committee Co-Chair, was one of the 23 legislators who voted to move the bill forward. She said SBAC is not an accurate or fair measure of teacher performance.

"We need teacher evaluations that are fair, realistic, and rigorous," she said. "The most important thing is that we want to have a partnership with our teachers. We want to know that our teachers are valued and respected. I don't believe we get the best teachers in our classrooms—great teachers—unless we have a system and culture of respect that is fair and not a system that is test and punish."

"This is the first step in a long journey," said CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg. "We still have an uphill battle against corporate reformers opposed to this issue. Our goals will be reached if we keep advocating for our students and our profession and continue reaching out to state legislators, urging them to do what's in the best interest of our students."

The Education Committee also approved moving forward on two other important CEA-supported bills. HB 5469 would strengthen student data privacy protections and SB 323 would remove documents from teachers' files related to an event that was investigated yet found to be unsubstantiated by DCF.

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