As the Hawaii State Teachers Association applauded the failure last week of efforts by the Legislature to put in place new evaluation programs for educators, a couple of central questions remain:
* How can teachers be accurately and fairly evaluated if student academic growth can't be used to measure their effectiveness?
* What do we tell the Obama administration to get them not to rescind Race to the Top Funds that were won, at least partially, with a promise to put in place performance-based evaluation systems?
Both houses of the state Legislature voted, under intense lobbying by HSTA, to "recommit" versions of bills requiring performance-based evaluations. "Recommit" is apparently legislatese for it is dead this session.
The state and HSTA are back in negotiations now and it can only be hoped they agree on a new evaluation system before the folks in Washington review our Race to the Top grant again.
Again, the idea is not to punish teachers - it is to make them more effective. The purpose is to share the techniques of those with the best results. The goal is to have a sea of very good teachers turning out students that perform as well as any in the world.
But, in order to gauge teacher effectiveness, there must be measuring tools. Let's hope the negotiations find those tools quickly.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.