Oklahoma: The Stealth State for Teacher Reforms
After getting clobbered in the first round of the Race to the Top, Oklahoma has managed to pass some aggressive pieces of legislation in preparation for round two. Among them is a bill that makes major changes to the state's teacher evaluation and tenure systems.
It's similar to legislation that passed Colorado, in that teachers who score at the "ineffective" level on the new instrument for two years running could be dismissed.
The state also is poised to join the expanding group of states basing 50 percent or more of a teacher's evaluation on student academic progress. (Like many of those states, test scores will only make up part of that 50 percent; the other part will be based on some other academic measure.)
But what's really interesting is how little press this seems to have gotten. The state teachers' unions apparently supported its application for the Race to the Top, though not all local affiliates did. Still, this bill seems to have gone through with little of the public hand-wringing from unions that characterized such efforts in Tennessee and Rhode Island and Maryland, to name but a few.