« Teacher Evaluation Scaled Back in Senate's Revised ESEA Draft | Main | Disabilities Advocacy Group Opposes Harkin-Enzi ESEA Bill »

Moderate Sens. Push Back on ESEA Bill's Teacher Evaluation

Teacher evaluation has already been a sticky issue in the debate over reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And now it's getting even stickier.

Three moderate senators—Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana; Scott Brown, a Republican from Massachusetts; and Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut—are not happy with recent changes scaling back the teacher evaluation provisions in a bill sponsored by Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Michael B. Enzi, the top Republican on the panel.

Those changes won the bill bipartisan support from Republicans who weren't fans of the idea of mandating evaluations. And it pleased the teachers' unions.

The trio wrote a letter urging Harkin and Enzi to reconsider recent changes to the ESEA bill in the area of teacher evaluation. If you'll remember, the original version of the bill called for all states to develop evaluation plans. But now, only districts that get Teacher Incentive Fund grants (which are doled out to schools that want to create alternative pay programs) will have to create the programs.

That's a big step backward, the senators say. They call the new language "a disservice to our nation's students."

But one of the Republicans who pushed for the change, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., a former secretary of education, explained the reasons behind the change in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

The new version of the bill "does not include an order from Washington" to evaluate teachers, he said. But he said it would allow states to use federal funds to help create evaluation systems, which would help states figure out the best way to evaluate educators.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments