Developing a More Effective Evaluation System for Pennsylvania’s Educators

Harrisburg (June 15) – The Senate Education Committee approved today legislation sponsored by Senators Andrew Dinniman and Jeffrey Piccola, Minority and Majority Chairmen, that would utilize student performance as a key indicator in evaluating and determining the effectiveness of how Pennsylvania’s teachers perform in the classroom.

Senate Bill 1087 would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to revise professional employee rating cards to incorporate student performance, a factor not currently included in the evaluation system. In revising the employee rating cards, PDE would be required to consult with classroom teachers, school administrators, parents of school-age children enrolled in a public school, school board members, and representatives of institutions of higher education.

Under the bill, PDE would also need to provide periodic reports to the chairmen of the Education Committee in the Legislature describing the status of the revision of the rating cards. In its final report, PDE would be required to include a proposal for a comprehensive revision of the professional employee rating system. Upon implementation of the revised rating cards, Senate Bill 1087 stipulates that currently-effective rating cards would then be null and void.

Dinniman said Senate Bill 1087 marks a major step forward in improving how teacher performance is evaluated in Pennsylvania. “There is no question that the current system of teacher evaluation is inadequate,” he added. “It is high time that we recognize that student performance must play a central role in rating teacher performance. We will continue to work to develop a system that effectively evaluates teachers on how well they educate students, while improving educational practices and boosting academic achievement.”

Piccola called Pennsylvania’s system of evaluating its educators ineffective and emphasized the significance of legislatively working to hold the Commonwealth’s teachers to new job performance standards. “Our new evaluation system being proposed would serve as an important tool for education in Pennsylvania, recognizing that the quality evaluation of teachers and principals is a critical foundation for improving educators’ practice and raising student achievement. Senator Dinniman and I are working to develop a system that effectively rewards and measures teachers for the job they are performing and simultaneously ensures the $26 billion dollars that Pennsylvania spends on public education delivers academic results for everyone, including the taxpayers.”

The Senate Education Committee recently held a public hearing on Senate Bill 1087 and the Corbett Administration’s plan to more effectively evaluate the state’s educators by incorporating student performance and achievement as key determinants in teacher evaluations. Senate Bill 1087 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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