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Gov. Jindal's Reform Agenda Moves Forward in Louisiana

I'm fresh back from a 10-day getaway in California, and the battles over teacher evaluation and tenure are still raging in Louisiana and Colorado.

Yesterday afternoon, the Louisiana House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation pushed by GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal that would link annual teacher evaluations to student academic performance for the first time. You may remember that Louisiana was one of a small number of states that pledged to base half of a teacher's evaluation on student performance in its Race to the Top application.

This measure, if approved by the state Senate, would actually make the new evaluation system the law of the entire state, although it looks like the legislation allows for an opportunity to abandon the system after two years, no doubt a concession to those lawmakers who were wary of signing onto such a controversial, union-opposed system. Here's a brief interview with a Louisiana-based reform advocate talking about the bill.

Yesterday's vote is a big victory for Gov. Jindal, who is pushing a slate of school reforms during the current legislative session.

The Louisiana House also voted for a bill that would rein in what some say can be the micromanaging tendencies of school boards. A similar bill failed last year in what was largely cast as a showdown between state Superintendent Paul Pastorek, who favored the limits on school board authority, and the statewide school boards association. This time around, Pastorek is staying out of the debate.

In Colorado, debate over a teacher tenure bill brought one member of the state's House of Representatives to tears. That measure, which cleared the state Senate, faces a tough vote in the lower house.

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