Measure would give schools flexibility in evaluating teachers

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Contact: State Rep. Michael Rogers 
Office: (405) 557-7362

OKLAHOMA CITY – A response to the outcry from Oklahoma teachers and administrators across the state that the Teacher, Leader, Effectiveness (TLE) system needs adjustments passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives with bi-partisan support on Tuesday by a vote of 94-0.

House Bill 2957 demonstrates that Oklahoma is serious about educators performing at higher levels, saving costs, and giving flexibility back to the school districts.

HB 2957 returns flexibility to local school districts concerning their teacher and administrative evaluations and gives local school boards and their school districts the discretion to determine the best measures for evaluating their teachers and administrators.

“Teacher and administrator evaluations are important, and this bill keeps those in place,” said Rep. Michael Rogers, R-Broken Arrow. “We elect our local school board members and ask them to hold our school district administrators accountable for the education of our students - these administrators, in turn, working with the teachers they hire, should be allowed to determine the best measurements for evaluations that make sense in their individual schools.”

HB2957 encourages school districts to continue with their qualitative assessment tool adopted under the Teacher Leader Effectiveness Evaluation system with the freedom to improve toward a particular school district’s needs.
“We don’t want to go back to a system where teachers were rated good or great without any measure of student impact; we want to move forward and build on the work of the qualitative assessment tool,” Rogers said.
HB2957 gives school districts flexibility to continue quantitative measures, if they choose, at their own expense.
Rogers said, HB2957 demonstrates that the Legislature is serious about implementing an evaluation model that has a stronger chance of resulting in higher student achievement and teacher excellence.

This bill aligns with proven research that individualized professional development is the best strategy school systems have to strengthen educators’ performance.  An individualized, observable professional development goal/s tailored towards educators’ varying levels of motivation, interest, knowledge, and skill will result in student achievement. 
In addition, Rogers said, HB2957:

• Requires an annual professional development plan for every teacher and administrator, resulting in systemic improvement across the entire state instead of focus only on those who only score “below effective.”

• Makes clear that the purpose of professional development is to increase learning of both educators and their students without the additional hours or cost. All professional development in this legislation shall count towards the total number of points a teacher or administrator is required to complete as established by the board of education of the school district.

• Could save the OSDE $2.5 million from its FY2017 budget request to support implementation of quantitative measures. It would also save districts tens of thousands of dollars in additional training costs and mandates associated with TLE. 

HB2957 now goes to the Oklahoma Senate for consideration.