Hundreds of WEA members lobbied and rallied in Olympia Thursday against legislation that would mandate the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations – -a policy they say won’t help them or their students and will actually be harmful.
“I was proud and moved by the fact that more than 350 of my educator colleagues would come down to Olympia on a miserable March Thursday to stand up for what’s right. We believe in the power of a unified voice. By working together and speaking out, we can make things better for both students and educators,” said Justin Fox-Bailey, president of the Snohomish Education Association.
Despite strong opposition from Fox-Bailey and other teachers across the state, some legislators continue to push two evaluation bills that would mandate the use of state test scores in evaluations– House Bill 2800 and Senate Bill 5880. One or both could be voted on soon in the Legislature, which adjourns March 13.
Many legislators told teachers they oppose the bills and will not vote for them. Other legislators, however, falsely claimed Washington will lose federal education funding if the bills don’t pass, a claim originally made by Supt. of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. For the truth, read this document.
Along with their local teacher’s union presidents, several school district superintendents have co-signed letters to legislators stating their position to the bills.
“We write to you in firm opposition to current efforts to require the use of federally mandated standardized test scores in teacher evaluations. Federally mandated statewide student assessments are not relevant to every teacher and subject matter. We believe such an approach will undermine the authentic work we have done in the Shoreline School District and create inequities in evaluation criteria for our teachers.
“…it is a failed policy that is not supported by research. It will not help students learn or educators grow, and we believe it will do great harm,” wrote Shoreline School District Superintendent Susanne Walker and Shoreline Education Association President David Guthrie. Read the complete letter here, or a similar one from Fox-Bailey and Snohomish Supt. Bill Mester.
Selena Killin, a kindergarten teacher in Shoreline who serves on her district’s evaluation committee, spoke at a noon rally on the capitol campus and implored legislators not to change the evaluation law, which she said would undercut the work her district is doing to implement the new system.
Several legislators attended the rally against the two bills, including Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, Rep. Steve Bergquist, Rep. Derek Stanford, Rep. Luis Moscoso and Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, a WEA member and Everett educator. Another Everett teacher, Mike Wilson, also spoke at the rally. Wilson is running for an open House seat in the 44th Legislative District and is recommended by WEA-PAC.
“Teachers oppose mandating the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations – Vote NO on SB 5880 and HB 2800,” said WEA President Kim Mead, who led the rally.