To note about tomorrow, Monday, March 30th, it appears there may be a large number of teachers who may go to Olympia to lobby against SB 5748. This is the bill that would likely get Washington State back its NCLB waiver and give those districts control of some Title One dollars. It would also start us down the road of including high-stakes testing in teacher evaluation.
So if your school sees a couple of subs coming in tomorrow, that's probably why.
I had previously said I could support this idea of using test scores in teacher evaluations and I know some of you wanted to know why. I failed to explain that I think it would be fair to use test scores in a teacher evaluation if there were other, multiple categories of evaluation, if test scores were a very low percentage overall and, most of all, if the test was a valid testing instrument. But to come in with this bill that its supporters claim is about wordsmithing (for now) and nothing else is to ask for a suspension of disbelief.
But will districts offer multiple measures of teachers? Will there be peer review? Is SBAC a valid instrument (and we haven't even used it yet)? Yes, the bill says they would not use test scores for the next three years but frankly, then what? What if SBAC turns out to be a lesser test? The law would still require using it. (Because that "validity" likely comes from OSPI and Randy Dorn and I would not have a lot of faith in that assessment.)
So am I for using test scores in teacher evaluations? Not really - I think it's a very slippery slope.
The WEA is offering to pay for subs for teachers who want to go. (There is quite the discussion at ed reformer Rep. Chad Magendanz' Facebook page about whether the teachers would be considered "lobbyists.") I understand that LEV and Stand for Children are trying to get a couple of busloads of people to go (and I'd be willing to bet they are paying for the buses and food for whoever comes.)
This does bring up an interesting point about who can show up at these committee meetings. Should people appearing before the committees have that much influence? I mentioned at Rep. Magendanz' Facebook page that I had been the first one to sign in on a committee hearing on having computer science classes in high school and yet somehow got bumped by someone from the Gates Foundation who "had to catch a plane." (Magendanz says this person was from some coding org but I remember Chair Sharon Tomiko Santos referencing the Gates Foundation. No matter who it was, why did I get bumped? Magendanz says that chairs try to help "out-of-town" speakers. Again, I was from out-of-town so I'm guessing he may have meant out-of-state.)
If groups can charter whole busloads of people, is that given more weight than all those who call, write or e-mail? I would hope legislators would give balance to all input.
Also tomorrow is the next BTA IV levy community meeting - this one at Hale starting at 6:30 pm.
Tuesday, the 31st sees the next levy community meeting at Fairmount Park Elementary in West Seattle starting at 6:30 pm. The last BTA IV levy community meeting is Thursday, April 2nd at Seattle World School starting at 6:30 pm.
Wednesday, April 1st is the next School Board meeting which I anticipate may be quite lively as several school communities are gearing up to go to talk to the Board about budget cuts at their buildings. The Board meeting starts at 4:15 p.m. Agenda.
This particular meeting points out something that Charlie always said - the Board sure does take a lot meeting time to approve of capital projects. Oversight is great but you would think the Board meeting might sometimes have real meat and discussion of other issues.