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The U. S. Department of Education is forcing Maine to use junk science for teacher evaluations. The legislature enacted a teacher evaluation program, but it was not tough enough for the Feds, says Politico.
“MAINE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Education officials in the Pine Tree State are warning that Maine could lose its No Child Left Behind waiver if the state legislature doesn’t take swift action to strengthen its teacher evaluations. The department has aligned itself with the feds in insisting that students’ performance on state assessments be a significant factor in teacher ratings. But the legislature has sided with teachers unions in demanding a more flexible framework. Its rules do call for evaluations to include measures of student learning. But those measures don’t have to incorporate state test scores. Instead, local committees made up mostly of teachers can come up with their own metrics (within certain parameters), such as students with disabilities’ progress toward IEP goals.
– That’s not good enough, Assistant Secretary Deborah Delisle told Maine officials in a letter late last year. After multiple conversations with Delisle’s team, state officials have drafted a bill that they say would meet federal expectations standards and save Maine’s waiver. But it’s far from clear that the legislature will go along. In a recent blog post, state Rep. Brian Hubbell, a Democrat, wrote that federal concerns “may be addressed more productively simply by clarifying Maine’s process.” Delisle’s letter: http://politico.pro/1yHOZpf.
“- Even as debate unfolds in Congress about repealing NCLB, Maine officials say they’re determined to renew their waiver to ensure stability for schools. “It puts departments like ours in a frustrating position when we know what the feds expect and spend months and even years putting aligned systems in place, only to have our legislature – often under great pressure from the teachers union – insist on watering those down in the 11th hour,” department spokeswoman Samantha Warren said.”