House Rejects Two Key Components of Gov. Corbett’s Education Reform Plan

On December 14, the House rejected an amendment to Senate Bill 560 which would have included two of the four pillars of Governor Corbett’s education reform package–expansion of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC) and revamping the Charter School Law— by a vote of 90-105.   House Republican leaders tried to garner support for a scaled back version of Senate Bill 1 , but backing from state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle was lacking and so no voucher language was included in the House defeated amendment.  According to House Republican leaders, it is unlikely that a voucher bill will be considered any time during this current legislative session, which runs through November 30, 2012.

House Education Panel Approves Statewide Teacher Evaluation Bill

On November 16, the House Education Committee reported as amended House Bill 1980 (Rep. Ryan Aument, R-41) which would implement a new statewide educator evaluation system.  Under HB 1980, all professional employees and temporary professional employees in public schools, cyber charter schools,  charter schools, intermediate units and area vocational technical schools would be evaluated through an approved rating tool developed by the Secretary of Education in consultation with education experts, parents, teachers and administrators, including research and collaboration conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).  

Under the new teacher evaluation system as proposed in HB 1980, 50 percent of a classroom teacher’s evaluation would be comprised of multiple measures of student achievement, including, but not limited to: student achievement data on statewide assessments; student growth data through the PA Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS) and other measures of student achievement for grades and content areas not assessed.  The remaining portion of the evaluation would include traditional teacher practices and classroom observation to evaluate an educator’s effectiveness in: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction and professional responsibilities. 

Non-teaching professional employees (beginning in the 2014-2015 school year) would be evaluated using a rating tool that takes into account planning and preparation, educational environment and delivery of service.  Twenty percent of the overall rating of non-teaching professional employees would be based on student performance of all students in the school building in which the nonteaching employee is employed.  A “non-teaching professional employee” is defined as an education specialist or a professional employee or temporary professional employee who provides services other than classroom instruction.   The term “principal” is defined as a building principal, an assistant principal, vice-principal and director of vocational education.

The professional employee and temporary employee serving as classroom teacher, principal and nonteaching professional employee would receive a rating of:  distinguished; proficient; needs improvement; or failing.  An overall performance rating of either “distinguished or “proficient” would be considered satisfactory.  An overall performance rating of either “needs improvement” or “failing” would be considered unsatisfactory.  

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