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Seattle District, Teachers Clash Over Test-Based Evaluations

Add Seattle to the list of cities battling over whether or not test scores should be included in teacher evaluations, according to The Seattle Times.

Seattle Public Schools and the city's teachers' union were battling behind closed doors, swearing media silence over negotiations, but the school district recently went public with its position: It wants to tie 25 percent of a teacher's evaluation to test scores.

The district's plan would be voluntary for all but brand-new teachers, for whom it would be mandatory, and the increase in teacher accountability would be accompanied by an increase in district support for teachers. Teachers who opt into the plan would earn 1 percent raises each of the next two years; those who choose not to participate would receive no extra money.

"We have teachers who are doing this already. This is not punitive," Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson said. "Why not be held accountable? Why not be given additional support? Why not be able to opt in? That's good for kids."

Not all Seattle educators share Goodloe-Johnson's enthusiasm, however.

"Teachers aren't afraid of accountability," said Jonathan Knapp, the vice president of the Washington Education Association. "Teachers are afraid of a system that isn't a fair analysis of what we're doing in the classroom."

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