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Message to AEA Members Regarding House Bill 2823

(relating to teacher and principal evaluation systems)   View Bill Summary.

The original form of HB 2823 was extremely problematic and punitive for teachers.  After a month of intensive work by AEA leaders and staff as well as clear signs of actions being organized by local AEA affiliates, a major amendment to the bill was crafted.  This amendment was adopted to the bill in today’s Senate Education Committee. 

The AEA appreciates actions by the bill’s sponsor, House Education Chairwoman Representative Doris Goodale (R- Kingman), to bring education stakeholders together.  Representative Goodale asked stakeholders to meet in five separate meetings which lasted numerous hours each in order to re-write the bill.

The Senate Education Committee amendment addresses some of the problems in the bill by:

·         Focusing the bill on professional development and improvement opportunities for teachers rather than severe consequences.

·         Allowing more time to test the evaluation system before teachers are held accountable to new consequences.

·         Providing protections for a teacher’s performance classification if the principal is deemed to be ineffective as a school leader.

·         Requiring administrators to observe teachers in a complete and uninterrupted lesson and then provide written feedback to the teacher within 10 days of the observation.

·         Requiring that the person evaluating the teacher is trained and qualified.

·         Requiring an opportunity for public discussion of the teacher evaluation policies before a school board adopts them.

·         Reverting changes to the Classroom Site Fund back to a school district decision-making process.

·         Permitting school districts to postpone the implementation of the teacher evaluation until the 2013-2014 school year if the school board votes to delay.

·         Returning control of the evaluation and performance based pay policies to local school boards and stakeholders. 

According to AEA President Andrew Morrill, “With these changes, HB 2823 is now workable for the teachers and principals who work so hard to meet the needs of Arizona students in our neighborhood schools. The bill’s new focus on teacher development and support has the potential to help many teachers struggling to meet the challenges they face in their classrooms.”

With the amendment from the Senate Education Committee, the AEA is now neutral on the bill.  We are unable to offer full support of the bill primarily due to its inequitable treatment beyond the performance classifications for charter schools teachers and principals. We also maintain concern about the lack of data currently available for evaluation systems statewide.

Morrill goes on to advise teachers, “This bill creates a challenge and important opportunities for local association leaders, principals, and school administrators to craft local policies that implement the new system fairly and base those policies on research about quality teaching, teacher evaluation, and performance based pay.” 


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