BY CEA PRESIDENT SHEILA COHEN
Today the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) voted to recommend the prohibition of the further use of a single, isolated standardized test score in teacher evaluations. The recommendation will be forwarded to the State Board of Education for action.
From cafeterias in our schools to kitchen tables in our communities, this action will be hailed by students, families, and teachers as a significant improvement. It is an improvement that will help all students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and will promote the joy of learning that sadly has diminished under the weight of an overreliance on testing.
Poll after poll and boycott after boycott around the nation indicate that the public is deeply concerned about the overreliance on testing and data that has consumed our schools. Today’s PEAC action should relieve some of the concern here in Connecticut.
The most significant action taken by PEAC specifies:
One half (22.5%) of the indicators of academic growth and development used as evidence of whether goals/objectives are met shall not be determined by a single, isolated standardized test score, but shall be determined through the comparison of data across assessments administered over time.
Today’s action by PEAC is long overdue, and it could not have happened without the leadership of the executive branch of government, legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle, and other public education stakeholders. In collaboration with CEA, they created a climate that was receptive to improvement and underscored the need for PEAC to revisit teacher evaluation guidelines.
We will continue to advocate for a teacher-led, student-centered public education system, where young people can have high-quality education experiences pre-K through grade 12. While today’s PEAC action is meaningful, we also are counting on legislative passage of the historic Smart Start measure because it is research-based, genuine reform that is guaranteed to close the achievement gap. We applaud legislative leaders, Senate President Don Williams, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, who have been at the forefront of the pre-K debate and support improving Connecticut’s public schools.