Will new education law make a difference in the classroom
SALT LAKE CITY Gov. Gary Herbert on Tuesday came to an elementary school to sign into law an education reform bill that passed both houses of the Legislature with near unanimous support, garnered widespread acclaim from educators and was described by some as a groundbreaking piece of legislation.
The question that remains: Will it actually do anything to improve education in Utah?
The new law seeks to eliminate inconsistencies in school employee evaluations by establishing statewide teaching standards. It ties educator salaries to the evaluation and shortens the time to improve performance before cutting ties with underperforming teachers and administrators.
The bill was sponsored by first year state Sen. Aaron Osmond, R South Jordan, and represents months of collaboration between lawmakers and members of the education community. But some groups said Osmond's bill did not go far enough and they criticize him for backing away from tougher standards tied more directly to classroom performance.
Parents for Choice in Education, a nonprofit group dedicated to education choice and accountability, withheld support for the bill, claiming it empowers collective bargaining more than ensuring a quality teacher for every student. Executive Director Judi Clark called the bill "dangerous" and said under the new law teachers are not held adequately responsible for the academic achievement of their students.
Osmond counters that student achievement does not "Anadrol 50" tell the whole story and that much like in business, results are better achieved by empowering leadership than punishing employees. The bill began as an effort to target teacher performance but the focus shifted to administrators after conversations with teachers and other educators.
"For years we've gone backwards," Osmond said. "Do you look at employees to solve a problem? No, you look at leadership."
Under the new law, all public education employees will undergo an annual evaluation the basis for employment decisions with teachers being ranked on a one to four scale. Those rankings will be made public in a report by the office of education showing the number, but not names, of underperforming teachers in each district and make administrators responsible for honestly evaluating their staff.
State Superintendent Larry Shumway listed the transparency of that report and the streamlined remediation period a period of 120 days as the key differences between the new law and the policies it replaces. He said it will be clear if administrators are not adequately evaluating their staff if overwhelming numbers of teachers receive the highest, or lowest, rankings.
"By and large we have excellent teachers," Shumway said. "But we do want to be able to help underperforming teachers improve, or move on."
Only teachers who achieve the top two performance levels will be eligible to receive scheduled raises, commonly known as "steps and Anavar For Sale Philippines lanes." The bill originally called for an educator's salary to be fully tied to performance.
The specific standards of the evaluations will be determined by the State Office of Education but by law they must "Achat Anabolisant Belgique" include multiple components, such as classroom observation, parent feedback and "Anaboliset Aineet" student achievement data. The actual mechanism of conducting the evaluations will be implemented at the local level by the school board and a committee of parents, teachers and administrators.
Before terminating the "Anaboliset Aineet" contract of an Dianabol Que Hace unsatisfactory employee, a district must develop a plan of assistance to improve the teacher's performance and implement a 120 day period for remediation. At the end of that period, the employee's contract can be terminated if improvement has not been demonstrated. If a teacher repeats a poor performance evaluation, the contract can be terminated without a 120 day remediation period.
The current system requires an Deca Durabolin Blood Pressure evaluation and remediation process, but with inconsistent evaluation practices, multiple levels of review and an ambiguously defined window for due process, remediation and termination can often drag on for years.
"We can not have any more two or three year remediations," Osmond said. "It clarifies for administrators and it clarifies for teachers what the expectations are."
Shumway said there was a push from some groups in the early stages of the bill to do away with contracts in favor of an "at will" status where employment can be terminated at any time without liability. He said the bill strikes "buy cheap jintropin online" a balance between giving educators a reasonable amount of security in their jobs without embedding bad teachers in the system.
"I think it's important that teachers have some status in their job and some expectation of continued employment," he said.
Administrators will receive a more extensive annual evaluation, which beyond their performance takes into account student progress indicators at their school, and parent and community feedback. They are also evaluated on the degree to which they evaluate their staff. That chain of accountability, Osmond said, continues up the district ladder until it arrives before local school board members, who hold elected office and answer to the voting public.
"I like that system," Osmond said. "I like that we have elected officials at both the local and state level."
Salary increases for administrators will be based on their annual evaluations until 15 percent of salary compensation is impacted as performance pay. Osmond said he pushed for 35 percent of salary, but the final amount is the result of compromise with education stakeholders.
While the performance standards will be established by the state office, he said the majority of power to manage the workforce will remain at the local level.
Sharon Gallagher Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association objected to the sentiment some hold that unions protect bad teachers, saying "nothing could be farther from the truth." She said if teachers aren't willing to improve in areas where they are deficient then they don't belong in the classroom.
However, she said problems arise when a teacher's performance is determined to be unsatisfactory without any classroom observation or a reliable evaluation. She said the new law holds everyone, teachers and administrators included, to a higher standard.
"If someone's going to tell us we're good or we're not good, they better have seen us," she said. "This is a big, huge step forward."
Critics, however, point to the changes that Osmond made after meeting with education stakeholders as evidence that the freshman senator was influenced to uphold the status quo.
Clark, of Parents for Choice in Education, said a statewide, uniform evaluation system is unnecessary since the skills required to teach in Ogden or Salt Lake City are not the same as more rural districts. While the bill calls for student achievement to be a component of evaluations, Clark would prefer those standards to be better defined and to hold a greater sway over a teacher's salary not just their annual raise.
Shumway said that only time will tell how effective the bill is, but he said it is a step in the right direction.
"I don't think I or the board would've supported this bill if we didn't think it would make a difference," he said.
Osmond said the focus of the bill was moved from academic measurements because of the factors that are beyond a teacher's control, such as students with special needs or who have a contrarian attitude to education.