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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Changes to CT Teacher Evaluations Rest With Feds

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

After backlash from teachers throughout Connecticut, state officials and education leaders today voted to scale back the sweeping changes approved less than two years ago on how every teacher must be evaluated.

The amended standards – which need U.S. Department of Education approval – will require school officials to set just one specific goal to measure student growth as opposed to the multiple goals currently required. The state’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council also scaled back the number of times some teachers need to be observed, with higher-rated teachers needing to be formally observed just once every three years. The changes also delay for another school year linking state standardized test results to nearly one-quarter of a teacher’s final rating.

Calling the changes the “wishes of educators throughout the state,” Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor pointed to the next step: “We need to seek federal approval” in order to proceed, Pryor said today.

When asking for a waiver to the onerous requirements of No Child Left Behind, the state promised to require districts to implement an evaluation system that educators now seem to agree is burdensome to implement.

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