I will leave it to others to debate the fine points of Mike Johnston’s Senate Bill 10-191, also known as the teacher evaluation and tenure bill. Read the wide range of comments, pro and con, on our web site and blog for some thought-provoking debate. In particular, Robert Reichardt and Rona Wilensky wrote blog posts that level pointed criticism at the bill.
But as I read Todd Engdahl’s Education News Colorado story on amendments, and Jeremy Meyer’s Denver Post story on Gov. Bill Ritter’s support for the revised bill, I marvel yet again at how difficult it is to make real progress on important issues in this day and age. Sometimes you have to pull back, look at the bigger picture and gain some perspective. In this case, what you see is depressing.
Let’s face it: the Colorado Education Association is about as likely to support this bill, in whatever form, as Republicans were to support health care reform. So why waste any time trying to placate an obstinately self-interested organization? Delaying full implementation until the 2014-15 school year just increases the likelihood that unforeseen factors will intervene and doom its implementation.
The CEA will push hard to weaken the bill and to stall it, until it dies or becomes so diluted that it’s meaningless. Meanwhile, the current system, which everyone admits is dysfunctional, will continue to serve children badly.
No, the bill isn’t perfect — far from it. Major change is hard, and there will need to be improvements, modifications and/or enhancements. That doesn’t mean we should do nothing, or wait forever to make a bold move. I am continually amazed and appalled by the lack of urgency displayed by people who should — and do — know better.
CEA President Bev Ingle is a nice woman, and a member of the board of the organization for which I work. But I must take issue with her op-ed column in today’s Post. Her column employs the kitchen sink approach to opposing Johnston’s bill. It’s too expensive. It’s an unfunded mandate. The timeline (pre-amendents) is too rushed. It won’t help Colorado win round two of Race to the Top.
Why not just come out and say it: The CEA does not want teachers evaluated based on standardized test scores, even using a growth model, which sets a lower bar than using “status.” I’ll tell you why CEA won’t come out and say it: Because that sounds just as bad as it is.
Just watch: Either a Republican will win the governorship this fall or the GOP will gain control of the Colorado House or Senate. Then a much harsher bill will get crammed down the throat of the CEA, whose members will wish their leadership had been a bit more enlightened when this relatively modest bill was proposed.
Popularity: 1% [?]