Gov. Gregoire proposes new teacher, principal evaluations

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on December 13, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 13 at 8:26 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed Tuesday to overhaul how Washington teachers and principals are evaluated, providing them with more feedback and placing poorly performing educators at risk of being fired.

Gregoire said the new evaluation system would replace one in which teachers and principals are now rated as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory with one that would have four categories: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient and distinguished. Teachers need to know what they're doing well and how they need to improve, she said.

"It will be fair. It will be clear. It will be effective," Gregoire said.

Teachers and principals who were found unsatisfactory would be placed on probation, and if they did not improve by the end of the academic year, they would be fired. Teachers who receive a basic rating for two consecutive years would also enter probation and have to raise their evaluations.

Currently, there is no limit to the length of the probationary period.

"We need to address this concern out there that we have bad teachers," Gregoire said. "For the most part, we have very, very good teachers. We want to make sure the public feels confident that we have everybody at the proficiency-or-above level."

Gregoire also wants opportunities for struggling schools to partner with universities and to create a new office called the Office of Student Achievement that will focus on educational attainment.

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