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With Race to Top Implications, Hawaii Finally Gets Teacher Contract

After a standoff that lasted two years, the Hawaii State Teachers Association approved a contract that ties evaluations and pay raises to student test scores.

This is a key victory for the state in its quest to keep its Race to the Top funding, which has been in jeopardy ever since the U.S. Department of Education put its $75 million grant on "high-risk" status in 2011.

The contract, approved yesterday, calls for new teacher evaluations tied to test scores starting in July, with a link to compensation starting in July 2015. Currently, the teacher evaluations—in which student growth accounts for half of a teacher's rating—are being piloted in several dozen schools. The contract calls for the state and teachers' union to review the results of the pilot and decide on changes.

In response to last night's vote, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said, in a statement: "We can now move forward as partners in transforming education for the benefit of our students and the entire state."

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