Professional Educators of Tennessee announced today it supports the call by the Gates Foundation for a two year moratorium on tying test results to teacher evaluation or student promotion. The Gates position is in response to the move to Common Core State Standards and the accompanying tests. While Gates supports Common Core, they are suggesting that states and school districts be given time to adjust to the new tests.
Here’s PET’s statement:
In September of 2013 we recommended to the Tennessee General Assembly that they impose a delay using student test results for Teacher Evaluations, at least until 2016-2017 at the earliest. Yesterday, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced its support for a two-year moratorium on tying results from assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards to teacher evaluations or student promotions to the next grade level. Vicki Phillips, the Gates Foundation’s director of college-ready programs, said that “while the common core is having a very positive impact on education, that doesn’t mean teachers and schools shouldn’t be given more time to adjust.” So we expect to see a continued debate statewide on this issue. We are pleased with the Gates Foundation recognition that this will be a serious issue.
We have steadfastly maintained that requiring school districts to simultaneously implement new standards, new teacher evaluations and perhaps a new curriculum, as well as new testing demands, will continue to place enormous pressure at the local level. The use and/or overuse of testing remains a conversation worthy of public debate. Educators themselves understand they are accountable for the instruction of their students and need to produce valid evidence regarding their effectiveness. We agree that the education of children is far too important a task to not be evaluated. However, by using the wrong assessment instruments to evaluate educational quality we may actually do more harm than good. Teachers should not be punished by a testing system that remains a work in progress. So we join the Gates Foundation in calling on state policymakers to consider that assessment results should not be taken into account in high-stakes decisions on teacher evaluation or student promotion for the next two years, during this transition here in Tennessee.