MCEA: We should help teachers
May 7, 2010
To the editor:
Colorado Senate Bill 191 penalizes teachers who are considered to be "ineffective," instead of supporting and helping them become more effective.
Teaching is a high-risk profession that requires professionals to be able to work in a supportive environment without fear. Fair evaluation and employment procedures are one important aspect of ensuring quality teachers, and fairness requires due process.
K-12 teachers do not have tenure. They have access to due process, which protects them from arbitrary dismissal. Under S.B. 191, a teacher with two consecutive years of "demonstrated ineffectiveness" (based partially on student test scores and other measures of academic growth) is penalized and forced back to probationary status without access to due process.
No matter when this happens in one's career, the teacher is punished and required to earn back non-probationary status. Or, the district could just non-renew this person as a probationary teacher.
There are no definitions of "teacher effectiveness" and "teacher ineffectiveness" in Colorado law — that's what the Governor's Council on Educator Effectiveness will define, if it is permitted to do its work.
We need these definitions before the consequences for not being effective are written into statute. S.B. 191 is a punitive approach to addressing the correlation between teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
We urge the legislature to let the council do its work and then report its recommendations to the governor and the legislature in December.
The next legislative session is when this type of major overhaul should be undertaken. S.B. 191 is a hasty and undefined approach to address a complex education reform issue.
Please email our legislators and urge them to vote no on S.B. 191.
They can be reached at:
Moffat County Education Association