June 27, 2015

Proposed bill ties educator furloughs to evaluation scores

State representatives passed a bill that would make it easier to furlough experienced educators and based high-stakes furlough decisions on a new, untested educator evaluation system.

The bill now goes to the state Senate.

High-stakes decisions based on a flawed system
Pennsylvania's new educator evaluation system is still a work in progress, and was designed to help individual teachers pinpoint areas for improvement, not to compare one professional against another.

The evaluation system uses different criteria to evaluate educators teaching different subjects and grade levels, and incorporates building scores - which means that a teacher with a high individual rating in a building with seriously challenged students will be furloughed before a teacher with a lower individual rating in a building with higher-performing students.

Using evaluation scores in high-stakes decisions will result in high-quality, experienced educators unfairly losing their jobs because the new evaluation system has not yet resolved critical implementation issues that jeopardize the validity and reliability of results.

Schools need real solutions
Over the past four years, Pennsylvania school districts eliminated more than 27,000 education jobs because of nearly $1 billion in school funding cuts. Legislators need to focus on solving that crisis, funding our schools, and making sure every student in Pennsylvania has a great education.

"We can't just sit here and watch legislators make bad decisions about what happens in our public schools," said PSEA President Mike Crossey. "We're going to stand up and be counted, because we need to look for ways to get more teachers into the classroom, not throw more out."

Read the full text of the bill here.




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