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Colorado Senate Bill 191

Improving Evaluations, Teacher

Tenure and Placement in Our State’s
Public School System
SB 191 Overview
 Help define teacher & principal
 Weaken the legal promise of tenure
(aka “non-probationary status”)
 End practice of direct placement &
“Dance of the Lemons”
 A landmark reform?
Importance of Teacher Quality
 Teacher Quality Makes a Difference
 One year of great teacher vs. average teacher =
5 percentile points in test scores
 Three years in the classroom of great teacher
vs. poor teacher = 50 percentile points
 Teacher Quality on Decline
 Fewer top-notch students attracted to teaching
 Steady decline since 1960s
 Not indicting individual efforts / achievements
 Training, Licensure, Compensation,
Evaluation, Retention
Background: The Problem
 Evaluations: The Widget Effect
 Non-probationary teachers evaluated once
every three years
 Binary evaluation system does not tell enough
about instructional quality
 99+% of Denver, Pueblo teachers rated
 Inadequate supports to improve teaching
Background: The Problem
 Tenure-like job protections
 1990: “Tenure” removed in name only
 Not enough ineffective teachers weeded
out during probationary period
 Low bar of 3 years + satisfactory
 Jeffco provision (2005 IB)
 Dismissing non-probationary teachers:
rare, costly, time-consuming
 Alfred Wilder ($125,000)
 Susan Romeo ($145,000)
Background: The Problem
 Direct placement: Dancing Lemons
 Poorest, most disadvantaged students
tend to have least effective teachers
 One principal “squeezes” them out,
another principal must place them
 Lincoln HS principal: “It's about schools
being able to chart their own destiny.”
 School environment may contribute to
individual teacher effectiveness
Race to the Top
 Administered by US Dept of Education
 Part of ARRA / stimulus package (2009)
 $4.35 billion given out in 2 Rounds
 4 reform areas: Great Teachers and
Leaders carried greatest weight
 Tennessee & Delaware Win Cash
 Both tie tenure/evaluations to student
 Colorado loses Round I (14th of 16)
 $175 million up for grabs in Round II
Governor’s Council
 January: Gov Bill Ritter creates
Council for Educator Effectiveness
 Recommend statewide definitions for
principal & teacher effectiveness,
guidelines to implement new system
 15 members: CDE (1), CCHE (1), CEA
(4), CASE (2), CASB (2), CLCS (1),
CoPTA (1), 1 recent grad, 1 policy expert
 Collaboration and consensus
What SB 191 Will & Won’t Do
 Evaluations & Effectiveness: Focus
Council on clear, high standard
 Not driven by CSAP scores
 Weaken tenure-like job protections
for consistently ineffective teachers
 No change to current “due process”
 Principal consent and teacher advice
required for direct teacher placement
Teacher & Principal Evaluations
 Focus Council on clear, high standard
 Evaluations performed every year
 At least 50% of teacher AND principal
evaluations tied to academic growth
 Multiple fair and transparent measures –
not just CSAP tests
 Mobility, special ed, at-risk status
 Three levels: Highly effective, effective,
Effectiveness and “Tenure”
 Probationary teachers: 3 consecutive
years of effective evaluations
 Gain tenure-like protections
 Non-prob teachers: 2 consecutive
years of ineffective evaluations
 Lose tenure-like protections
Direct Placement vs. Mutual Consent
 Teacher placement requires principal consent
& advice of at least two teachers
 Effective non-probationary teachers who aren’t
placed enter priority hiring pool
 Non-probationary teachers who lose their jobs
due to RIF given lists of all available district jobs
 Non-probationary teachers who don’t find job
within 12 months or two hiring cycles are placed
on unpaid leave
 School districts and unions can apply for
waiver of mutual consent provisions
“Michael Johnston, Superstar”
 Lead sponsor of the bill: Yale grad,
Teach for America alum, former HS
principal, & former Obama adviser
 Senator Michael Johnston, SD 34 (D)
 Other sponsors: Sen Nancy Spence;
Rep Christine Scanlan, Carole Murray
 Initial co-sponsors: 9 Democrats and
9 Republicans in total
Coalition of Support
 Stand for Children
 Business Groups / Chambers
 Community Groups
 Metro Superintendents (Cindy Stevenson)
 State Board of Education
 Ritter, Owens, Romer & Lamm (Guvs)
 American Federation of Teachers
800-Pound Opponent: CEA
 State’s largest teachers union
provided sole opposition to SB 191
 NEA president testified in Senate Ed
 Arguments:
 Unfunded mandate
 Implemented too fast [Amended]
 Don’t judge teachers by test scores
 Teachers losing “due process”
Lobbying on Release Time
 Dozens of CEA member teachers at
Capitol for committee hearings, to
urge legislators to Vote NO on SB 191
 Many used special union leave days
 In Jeffco, 275 days / yr + substitute cost
 In Denver, 150 days (+100 reimbursed)
 More accountability needed for use of tax
dollars and students’ time
Drama in the Senate
 Senate Ed Committee (Apr 21-23):
Teachers testified on both sides
 Federico Pena vs. Dennis van Roekel
 Passed 7-1 with provisional Dem support
 The dental analogy & academic growth
 7 Democrats joined all Republicans in
passing SB 191
Drama in the House
 Passed House Ed Committee after midnight
on May 6: 7-6 vote
 Lots of tears, high-strung emotions
 Rep Ferrandino, Rep Todd, et al.
 Rep Max Tyler: compared challenging kids to
maggot-infested flour
 Amendment battle to avoid filibuster
 Binding arbitration provision for ineffective
teachers – 2013 sunset added
 8 Dems (5 from Denver) voted Yes
What’s Next? (Part I)
 Mar 2011: Council recommends
effectiveness definitions, procedures
to implement new evaluation system
 Sep 2011: State Board adopts rules
 Nov 2011: CDE provides resource
bank for local evaluation systems
 Feb 2012: Legislative opportunity to
review and veto State Board rules
What’s Next? (Part II)
 2011-12: School districts develop
new evaluation systems (CDE helps)
 2012-13: Evaluation system tested
 2013-14: Statewide rollout of new
evaluation system
 Aug 2014: Districts urge effective
teachers into high-need schools
 2014-15: Full & final implementation
SB 191 in the Final Analysis
 Rebalances focus of education
employment from “paperwork and
seniority” to “performance” (R Hess)
 Shawn Mitchell: “…Not as dramatic as
it proponents hope nor as cataclysmic
as its opponents fear.”
 CO far more likely to win Race to Top
 CEA-Democratic relations greatly
strained… hope for future reforms?
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