SB10-191: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is this bill necessary when we have the Governor’s Council? The Governor‘s Council was an important first step in improving educator effectiveness in our state. The Governor, in collaboration with CEA, agreed that 50% of teacher evaluation should be linked to student growth and appointed a council to figure out how to implement that goal. The Council has a strong and diverse representation of stakeholders that should produce high-quality outcomes. However, the link between student growth and teacher evaluation is the only task the Council is required to accomplish. This leaves significant uncertainty as to how and if they will address principal evaluation, access to career ladders, process for earning and keeping non-probationary status and ensure hiring by mutual consent. The Governor‘s executive order identified very specifically what the intended outcome was for teacher evaluation and then tasked the Council with completing it. This bill brings similar clarity, and the force of state legislation, to bear on the other issues not explicitly addressed by the Council. I support the Council and want to make sure it is effective. This bill protects the Council by codifying it in statute and strengthening and clarifying its workload. Given that there is certain to be a new administration in the Governor‘s office in 8 months, it is critical to clarify and strengthen its purpose to ensure its survival. Won’t this interfere with the collaborative process started by the Governor's Council? No, this continues the collaborative work of the Governor‘s Council by letting that representative body take on the most important issues. The Council is still in charge of answering the two most important questions: (1) What does it mean to be an effective teacher? (2) How do we measure that effectiveness? We are relying on the Council to make the critical recommendations rather than having the legislature make statutory changes now. This bill ensures that the Council has the time and support to help reach consensus on the most critical issue of how to define teacher effectiveness. There is nothing in this bill that dictates how much growth a teacher must make to be effective, or how this growth data will be combined with other evaluation information to determine final determinations of effectiveness. All of those decisions are left to the Council. The term “effectiveness” is not defined in the bill. The bill will accomplish this by requiring the Governor‘s Council on Educator Effectiveness to define teacher effectiveness and to determine the multiple, fair measures utilized to indicate growth in student learning outcomes that will help us identify effective educators. The Council‘s recommendations will be sent to the State Board for rule promulgation and thereby create a consistent, state-wide definition. It is important to remember that the Council is comprised of school board members, teachers, administrators, parents, students, and business leaders and their recommendations must be made by consensus. Thus, whatever recommendation the Council develops for definitions of effectiveness and for the tools assessing multiple, fair, methods of student growth, it will have the support of school board members, teachers and administrators, representing diverse regions of the state. The Council will be supported by an advisory committee that will share with them relevant research and best practices from around the state and the nation. The bill mentions supporting the state in "equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals" although it doesn't say how exactly that would work. This language in the bill requires the Governor‘s Council on Educator Effectiveness to develop recommendations to help the state ensure an equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals. This means that the Council will devise recommendations for incentives that will be available to highly effective teachers and principals to work in the schools of the greatest need. It does NOT mean that effective teachers and leaders will be removed from their current position and directly placed into schools of need. In fact, one fundamental purpose of the bill is to ensure that both teachers and principals mutually agree on the teacher‘s position within the school. Additionally, it is important to remember that the Council is comprised of school board members, teachers, administrators, parents, students, and business leaders and their recommendations must be made by consensus. Thus, whatever recommendation the Council develops for creating these incentives will have the support of school board members, teachers and administrators, representing diverse regions of the state. Is it fair to base a principal’s or teacher’s evaluation on test scores? Educator evaluations will not be based on one test; rather, they will include multiple measures of student performance that are balanced by ample qualitative and observational data. The balance of using both subjective evaluations and objective student growth data protects teachers from disproportionate weight being attributed to any one measure. This holds them to an appropriate level of accountability without letting one year of bad data lead to any negative consequence. Since we know that the most important outcome for a teacher is making sure that students understand the material, evaluating an

educator based on a variety of student growth indicators gives the evaluator the most important information about that educator‘s performance.i We know that great teachers and leaders not only can have a big impact on student growth, we know that they do: among the many factors that affect student achievement, teacher and principal effectiveness have the single highest impacts.ii This evaluation tool will also help create an objective system where talented educators are rewarded and recognized for their achievements, which gives the state a much better chance of retaining its most effective educators and sharing their practices across the profession. Using student growth data to evaluate teachers is now common practice and is being embraced around the country by 6 other states and countless districts including all 10 districts that were finalists for this year's Gates Deep Dive project. Reports by the New Teacher Project indicate that teachers around the country support this type of comprehensive evaluation and feedback system to help them understand their own strengths and areas for improvement, iii and school districts such as D.C. and New Haven have already implemented frameworks that draw on multiple measures of student growth. How will we measure student growth in the grades and subjects that are not currently tested by CSAP? The Governor‘s Council for Educator Effectiveness is charged with recommending to the state board of education the multiple, fair, rigorous measurement tools that will be utilized to indicate growth in student learning outcomes, including historically untested grades and untested subjects. The Governor‘s Council is comprised of school board members, teachers, administrators, parents, students, and business leaders and their recommendations must be made by consensus. Thus, whatever recommendation the Council develops for definitions of effectiveness and for the tools assessing multiple, fair, methods of student growth, it will have the support of school board members, teachers and administrators, representing diverse regions of the state. During their work, the Governor‘s Council will have access to best practices from around the state and the country. Districts within Colorado have already begun the work: Denver, Harrison, and Eagle counties are tying teacher evaluations and compensation to demonstrated student growth for all teachers. These districts are developing or adopting assessments that can fairly measure growth in all content standards and are working with teachers and principals to adopt these. In untested grades and untested subjects, teachers commonly use districtapproved assessments, student progress reports, end-of-term portfolios, end-of-term recitals or concerts, etc. In Colorado‘s Race to the Top application, the Colorado Department of Education committed to a plan to help develop or buy assessments that districts could use for each grade level and content area. Districts would then have the option to adopt any of these assessments if they chose to at no extra cost, or they could choose to develop their own that meet or exceed these standards. For more on how districts are accomplishing this, see Appendix B. Are there are any school districts in CO who currently use student growth to evaluate their teachers?  Eagle County: Pay-for-performance program: bonuses earned based on: 50% annual classroom evaluations (60% principal evaluation, 35% master teacher evaluation, and 5% self-reflection) and 50% student achievement growth (ACT, CSAP, and benchmark assessments)  Harrison County: Abolished traditional salary schedule and now a teacher's base salary is determined by teacher performance (numerous observations) and student achievement data (includes CSAP results, CMB data, timed SCR data, and students' grades)  DPS: Multiple measures of effectiveness including student growth data (student achievement data, student perceptions, and frequent teacher observations by supervisors and peers) determine compensation and professional development (referred to as Pro-Comp).  Douglas County: Multiple measures of teacher effectiveness as well as student growth and achievement aligns to curriculum, instruction, and professional development; this student data used to inform tenure and employment decisions, offers potential career ladders for teachers For a more detailed description of each district, see Appendix A. Will this require lots more testing? As any good teacher will tell you, effective educators utilize ongoing assessments all the time to identify what students know and what they still need to know. This bill will help us make assessment more useful, rather than more painful. This will ensure that the assessments we give are meaningful for students and useful to teachers. We do not need more hours of standardized testing and this bill will not increase or expand any of that standardized testing. What this bill will do is help ensure that there are fair and informative ways to measure student growth in all content areas and ensure that districts do not have to spend more money on assessments that they should be using in the classroom. Much of this assessment can be done electronically in ways that make them more informative, more efficient, and much less cumbersome for teachers in the lower grades.

Won’t this system discriminate against teachers and principals who work in poor schools with students who come in behind grade level? Not at all. The beauty of the Colorado Growth Model is that we can now measure student performance not just on a student‘s absolute score (whether a student was proficient, unsatisfactory, or advanced); we can instead measure how much that student has grown over the course of the year. This takes out any preference for high performing children. All we are measuring is how much students grow, so it does not matter if a student starts at the 90th percentile, the 50th, or the 5th; all that matters is how much they grew from where they started. According to a survey of teachers, 97% of teachers believe student growth measures are accurate or somewhat accurate measures of teacher performance.iv Why are we focusing on teachers and principals? Are they really the problem? Teachers and principals are not the problem; they‘re the solution. Researchers have found that assigning students to strong teachers for three years in a row can boost their test scores by as much as 50 percentile points above what they would gain with three ineffective teachers in a row.v In fact, research tells us that teacher quality is the single most important factor in student achievement — more important than many of the out-of school factors like parental education and income that are so often blamed for low achievement.vi Other studies have shown that teachers are ―the most important school-level factor that affects student achievement, with school leaders being the second most influential contributor to student success.‖vii Indeed, teacher quality has been proven more influential to student achievement than demographic characteristics, class size, spending levels, and teacher salaries. For more data on the impact of teachers within the same school, see Appendix C. Why aren’t we spending more time worrying about the out of school factors like poverty and parent involvement? Many of our kids come to school from very tough home lives without basic nutrition and health care. It is indefensible in the wealthiest country in the world that we don‘t provide nutrition, health care, and support to every child who needs it. But we know now that we don‘t have to assume that these factors condemn a child to a life of ignorance. We know that schools can and do overcome these disadvantages and prepare students incredibly well for college. Can we afford to tackle this now when we just finished cutting the K-12 budget? For too long our schools have been asked to do too much with too little, and the current fiscal crisis has not made that any easier. However, these proposals don‘t cost the state of Colorado any extra money; all they require us to do is find better ways to use the data that is already being collected by schools, districts, and the state, and to make this information more useful to us in targeting funds to schools, programs, and teachers who can benefit the most from it. Additionally, the measures in this bill will actually help strengthen Colorado‘s application for numerous federal grants that could be used to help us build the high-quality assessment system that Colorado has already committed to building. There are key provisions in this bill that help support district flexibility to get this work done without adding costs, including allowing other educators to perform evaluations at the delegation of the principal; this could include peer evaluation, instructional coaches, or master teachers. What does this bill have to do with Race to the Top? Race to the Top is a competitive federal grant that makes Colorado eligible for $177,000,000 in federal funding. To win this, Colorado must compete against all of the other states to demonstrate a compelling case. While winning Race to the Top is not the purpose of this bill, the State Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones has publicly said he believes this bill is critical to strengthening Colorado‘s application for Round 2 of Race to the Top. Was the Great Teachers and Leaders section the weakest part of our application in Round I? Our Race to the Top Application left 90 of the total points possible on the table, and 33 of those points, or more than onethird, were lost in the great teachers and leaders section. The entire difference between Colorado's application and Tennessee's, a winning state, was only 35 points. In addition, the other category where we lost a significant number of points was on our statewide success factors. A critical number of points under the state success factors come from developing a bold plan and demonstrating how this plan will have statewide impact. Passing legislation is the best way to ensure statewide impact and will strengthen Colorado‘s application in both of these critical areas where we lost points. Organizations like the New Teacher Project make clear recommendations about ways to improve Race to the Top applications in Round II and several of those recommendations are captured in this bill, see Appendix E for more information.

What are other states doing in these areas?  Tennessee: Evaluation - The ―Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System‖ currently includes 18 years of longitudinal data on student growth. Recently enacted legislation that requires LEAs to base 50% of teacher evaluations on student growth data. Tenure - The First to the Top Act creates a Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee that is tasked with determining methods for using evaluations as a factor in employment decisions, including but not limited to promotion, retention, termination, compensation, and the attainment of tenure status  Delaware: Evaluation- Requires LEAs to evaluate educators based on student performance. Tenure - Tenure, compensation and promotion decisions must be based on evaluations that incorporate student growth data. Legislation to ensure that only those teachers with a proven ability to impact student achievement can earn tenure and relicensure, which occur every three years. Teacher can be dismissed after two years of ineffective performance.  Rhode Island: Evaluation - The state has adopted regulations that require districts to have annual evaluations, 51% of which must be based on student growth. Retention and Tenure - state regulations require superintendents to deny tenure to teachers that are rated ineffective. Tenured teachers who are rated ineffective cannot be considered for school leadership, mentor corps, or turnaround schools.  Louisiana: Evaluation - Race to the Top MOU requires LEAs to conduct annual evaluations of teachers and principals. 50% of teacher and principal effectiveness will be determined using value-added student achievement data. Tenure Under the MOU, tenure decisions will be based in large part on student performance data. Moreover, under existing Louisiana law, even tenured teachers must reapply for tenure every five years, and the teacher‘s LEA must request that the teacher be re-certified. Under the MOU, teachers who are deemed ineffective under the MOU-required evaluation system are not afforded the opportunity to teach and will not be able to obtain re-certification. Why so much focus on principals? Leadership is essential in any school, good principals attract good teaches and bad principals drive away good teachers. Leaders set the culture in the building, and they are responsible for making sure there is culture for improvement. One thing we know is a good leader is essential for any successful school so we must start at the top, with strong leadership. What if principals don’t do all the evaluations in a given school? The purpose of this system is that it does not micromanage how districts or individual schools set up their evaluation and support processes. A school may decide to have peer support and evaluation be the primary avenue for teacher growth, or it may choose to have part-time master teachers, an instructional guide, or an assistant principal support instruction. But whatever the system, the principal needs to be the one to make sure it works effectively for the people that need them most—the teachers. This system allows districts flexibility on how they support teachers but makes clear that a principal‘s primary job is to support teachers. Why should we keep tenure (non-probationary status) at all? Isn’t it an archaic structure that doesn’t fit work patterns of the 21st Century? A leader of the AFT recently said, ―[t]enure is about giving teachers the right to a fair dismissal process.‖ All teachers have the right to know what is expected of them, how they will be evaluated, how they are expected to improve if they are not meeting the standard of performance, and the right to receive support in improving their performance. Due process is about making these issues clear up-front. It‘s about having a process in place that provides teachers with the notice they need to improve their performance and assistance in doing so. We all know there are examples of teachers being retained despite evidence that they are not performing in the classroom, and the retention of such sub par teachers is something that no one – including unions and other teachers – wants. We will create a process of teacher evaluation that is fair, transparent, and will facilitate the process of identifying and removing teachers who are not capable of meeting the needs of students. There are examples of districts like Washington, D.C. that have adopted such evaluation processes, which have proven to be acceptable to principals, unions, teachers and external observers. Tenure was put in place to protect teachers from unfair abuse from principals. How will they be protected now? Tenure laws were put in place at a time when a huge concern of teachers and unions was the unfair dismissal of teachers based on persecution for political beliefs or strongly held opinions. If Colorado districts can carefully and thoughtfully craft teacher evaluation methods that place student achievement at the heart of how we evaluate teacher performance, we will ensure that teachers – like other professionals across the board – are evaluated, promoted and rewarded on the basis of their success in doing the work they are hired to do. If a teacher is successfully educating students and complying with other behavioral expectations (i.e. standards of legal behavior), s/he will have no reason to fear that her/his job is in danger. The heart of our proposal does the following:

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Prevents promising teachers from being dismissed because their performance hasn‘t yet earned them tenure, and ensures ineffective teachers are not unduly awarded tenure. Prevents a teacher from being forced into a school where he/she doesn‘t want to teach and the principal and leadership team don‘t think he/she is a good fit. This is no different from the standards met by professionals in other sectors when they are being hired, promoted or evaluated for retention. I believe that the credibility of the teaching profession, and the well being of students, are best met by adopting such an approach.

Won’t this expose teachers to capricious firing by principals? If you want to design the best possible system for principals to mistreat teachers, our current system is the best. With a 100% subjective evaluation, a principal can give a teacher any rating he wants without any proof. The existence of student achievement data helps us identify our best performers and serves as a protection against arbitrary abuses of power. Don’t teachers need tenure to protect their freedom of speech the same way that college professors do? Teachers are not publishing articles and books the way university professors are. There they have two valid roles - one as public intellectual, the other as instructor. K-12 teachers are first and foremost instructors of students – they can express some opinion, but they are not hired to do so. The courts have consistently treated university and higher education differently from public K-12 education. Accordingly, free speech protections to the former class of instructors and not the latter is an accepted distinction between the two. What does direct placement or mutual consent have to do with evaluation? The most important part of school success is getting the right educators behind the right mission into the building and then working to help them improve. In too many circumstances teachers are forced into schools where they don‘t want to work. If a principal is to be fairly evaluated on the performance of his/her teachers, it is only fair that the principal maintain the ability to hire the teachers that best fit the school‘s model. In a Public Agenda survey, 78% of teachers recognized that at least some other teachers in their own buildings ―fail to do a good job‖ (2003). Principals report that they believe many teachers remain in the classroom who do not belong there.viii According to one new study, principals regularly deal with low achievers by ―passing them around from school to school‖ rather than terminating them.ix Isn’t direct placement mostly a Denver problem, why do we need a statute for it? Forced placement is a problem that exists across the state. See Appendix F for estimated numbers. And many districts who don‘t experience it as a problem currently only avoid it by adhering to outdated human resources policies that prevent a principal or district from ever considering performance or effectiveness as criteria in making dismissals. The DASSC, a group of urban superintendents that represent 70% of students in the state, became a strong advocate for this change based on issues they were facing. In addition, many districts currently use personnel practices they would choose to avoid if it were not for the direct placement problem.  79% of DPS direct-placed teachers were assigned to high-poverty schools in ‗09  49 DPS teachers were direct-placed at least twice in the past three years  5 DPS teachers were direct-placed every year of the past three years  20 percent of direct-placed teachers this year were placed in ―red‖ schools, those listed as ―on probation‖ for failing to meet standards on the district‘s School Performance Framework.x How is this similar to what DPS is doing to end direct placement? DPS is in negotiations with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association to  end direct placement of teachers who have lost jobs due to reduction in building or unsatisfactory evaluation, and  reduce overall numbers of forced placements and maximize mutual consent hiring, and  ensure that highest poverty schools do not receive a disproportionate number of forced placements by: o eliminating, to the extent possible, forced placements in schools that are ―red‖ with a rating of Accredited on Probation on the School Performance Framework (SPF), and o limiting the number of forced placements in our Title I Schools Under this direct placement change, if a teacher does not get a job after two years of trying, they could be placed on unpaid leave, isn’t this the same as dismissing them? Being granted tenure gives teachers the right to go through certain formal processes in the case of dismissal for cause, including the right to know the grounds for dismissal, go through a hearing process in which evidence is presented, and

often a right to an appeal. Courts have consistently found that tenure does not entitle teachers to retain their jobs. Illinois has statutory provisions similar to the ones being proposed in this bill. Tenured teachers who were unable to find jobs once direct placement was eliminated in Chicago claimed that their tenure rights had been violated. The court there distinguished between ―dismissals for cause‖ and ―layoffs‖ brought about due to a reduction in spaces, changes in staffing policies/needs, and other justifiable decreases in the availability of teaching positions that had the effect of teachers being displaced from their jobs and unable to find new employment. The court said that in the case of layoffs for reasons other than ―for cause,‖ the due process requirements for dismissal for cause (i.e. tenure rights) did not apply.. xi The specific facts of any individual teacher‘s case would determine whether the teacher was entitled to the due process rights afforded by tenure, but as a general principle, the courts have affirmed the right of districts and state boards to layoff tenured teachers in the case of legitimate reductions or reorganization of teaching positions. Regarding the legality of the changes to the direct placement system itself, this legislation simply empowers local leaders at the district and school level, to make hiring decisions, which they perceive to be best for their schools and students. This is consistent with the General Assembly‘s constitutional charge to ―provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state‖ in ways that do not impede the ability of local boards, districts and schools from making important decisions related to instruction in their schools.xii This legislation is not attempting to remove tenure protections for teachers, but rather clarifying the way in which teachers are evaluated and, in necessary circumstances, dismissed for cause. CO 22-63-301 currently lays out the grounds for dismissal of tenured teachers, one of which is unsatisfactory performance. Until now, there has been very little guidance for teachers, principals and districts about what constitutes satisfactory performance, leaving teachers open to subjective judgments by individual principals. This statute seeks to create a more transparent and fair system by empowering the Board to develop guidelines for teachers, principals, districts and local boards to use when developing performance evaluation measures for instructional personnel including teachers and principals. This includes a requirement that at least 50% of any such performance evaluation be based on student achievement data. Based on these evaluations, teachers will be deemed to be effective, ineffective etc. The benefit will be that all teachers will have notice about how they are being held accountable for their professional performance, and will have far more access to the data/information upon which evaluations are being based. There is nothing in this bill that limits the due process rights of a tenured teacher facing dismissal for cause on the grounds of ―unsatisfactory performance.‖
i

See Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, Can Principals Identify Effective Teachers? Evidence on Subjective Performance Evaluation in Education, 26 J. LABOR ECON. 101 (2008) (showing that, outside of the extreme outliers on the teacher quality spectrum, principals using subjective evaluations are largely unable to identify teacher quality). ii Rivkin, S., E. Hanushek, and J. Kain. Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement, 73 ECONOMETRICA 417 (2005); Rockoff, J. E.. The Impact of Individual Teachers on Students’ Achievement: Evidence from Panel Data, 94 AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, 247-52 (2004). iii See e.g. COMMISSION ON NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND; THE ASPEN INSTITUTE, FOCUS ON TEACHER EFFECTIVENESS TO IMPROVE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND ENHANCE TEACHER SUPPORT: THE COMMISSION’S RECOMMENDATIONS IN PRACTICE (2007) (summarizing research). Additionally, the Obama administration has made this an important criterion in the Race to the Top competition. iv Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools, Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2010 v National Governor’s Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Inc. Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring Students Receive a World-Class Education, 2008. vi The Education Trust, Yes We Can: Telling Truths and Dispelling Myths about Race and Education in America, 2006. vii Perlman, Carole L. & Redding, Sam. Center on Innovation and Improvement and National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. Handbook on Effective Implementation of School Improvement Grants, 2009. viii Gordon 2005; Bradley 1999 ix Levin, Mulhern, and Schunck 2005 x Ed News Colorado
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Land v. Board of Educ. of City of Chicago 202 Ill.2d 414 Board of Educ. of School Dist. No. 1 in City and County of Denver v. Booth 984 P.2d 639

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