Then, a guest column by two state legislators, Rodney Tom and Joseph Zarelli. This was probably actually written by a flak at one of the various education reform organizations, but they get the byline.
They tout a bill in the legislature SB5914, which, they say,
would require reductions in force to be based on teacher performance, not seniority; allow principals to approve teacher placements in the lowest-performing schools; and allow administrators to initiate due process to remove ineffective teachers in a timely manner.Of course, every part of this is stupid.
It also would link National Board Certification bonuses to teacher evaluations after the first two years; phase in performance bonuses by adjusting salaries to reflect the latest research on improving student performance; and eliminate district salary enhancements benefiting only 12 of our state's 295 school districts.
* There is no valid measure of teacher performance, so we cannot use it to create layoff lists.
* There are no "low performing schools" (just some schools with a lot of under-prepared students) and, if there were, we should not grant more authority to principals who are running them.
* Administrators already have the authority to remove ineffective teachers. The problem is that the adminstrators are often the ineffective elements.
* Board Certification bonuses have proved ineffective (despite the Senators' claim that these solutions are "proven" and "research-based".
* Incentive bonuses for teachers don't work (again, not proven or research-based)
* And there is no benefit - other than savings - for eliminating salary enhancements. How does that improve student outcomes?
This column, the bill, and the Senators are simply wrong. They have identified the problem, but they have the exact wrong solution.
They could do a lot more for Washington students if they would comply with the requirements of the state constitution and fully fund education.