JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXCLUSION OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE RESULTS ON THE MASTERY EXAMINATION FROM TEACHER EVALUATIONS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Sen. Catherine A. Osten, 19th Dist.
Sen. Kevin D. Witkos, 8th Dist.
Sen. Eric D. Coleman, 2nd Dist.
Sen. Leonard A. Fasano, 34th Dist.
Sen. Edwin A. Gomes, 23rd Dist.
Sen. Danté Bartolomeo, 13th Dist.
Sen. Terry B. Gerratana, 6th Dist.
Rep. Robert W. Megna, 97th Dist.
Rep. Peter A. Tercyak, 26th Dist.
Rep. Linda A. Orange, 48th Dist.
Rep. Gregory Haddad, 54th Dist.
Rep. Susan M. Johnson, 49th Dist.
Rep. Tim Ackert, 8th Dist.
Rep. Russell A. Morin, 28th Dist.
Rep. Joseph P. Gresko, 121st Dist.
Rep. Christine Randall, 44th Dist.
Rep. David Zoni, 81st Dist.
Rep. David A. Baram, 15th Dist.
Rep. Ernest Hewett, 39th Dist.
Rep. Edwin Vargas, 6th Dist.
Rep. James Albis, 99th Dist.
Rep. Kevin Ryan, 139th Dist.
Rep. David Arconti, 109th Dist.
Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, 133rd Dist.
Rep. Bob Godfrey, 110th Dist.
Rep. Gayle J. Mulligan, 55th Dist.
Rep. Pam Staneski, 119th Dist.
Rep. David Alexander, 58th Dist.
Rep. Fred Camillo, 151st Dist.
Rep. Kim Rose, 118th Dist.
Rep. Theresa W. Conroy, 105th Dist.
Rep. Devin R. Carney, 23rd Dist.
Rep. Dave W. Yaccarino, 87th Dist.
Rep. Matthew Lesser, 100th Dist.
Rep. Catherine F. Abercrombie, 83rd Dist.
Rep. Al Adinolfi, 103rd Dist.
REASONS FOR BILL:
The reason for this bill is to modify section 10-151b of the general statutes to exclude the use of a student's academic growth data in the state-wide mastery examination stated in section 10-14n when assessing teacher performance for all schools beginning July 1, 2016. The State Board of Education shall revise the teacher evaluation model to determine how to best evaluate educators without this test.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Dianna R. Wentzell, Commissioner, State Department of Education:
Commissioner Wentzell strongly opposed this modification, as the statutory body Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) already established the teacher evaluation criteria, thus the decision of whether or not these tests should be used should be left up to them. Commissioner Wentzell went on to state, “Until we have the regulations, on which our state policies will have to be based, there is little point in making these decisions, which could result in us having to come back next year and revise our policies if they are not in line with ESSA requirements”.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Jan Hochadel, President, AFT Connecticut:
Jan Hochadel testified in favor of this legislation. Ms. Hochadel stated that high stakes standardized tests poorly represented growth in a student, and, “Standardized tests also do not account for social, emotional and economic factors that may impact a student's ability to reach his or her greatest potential”.
Ed Leavy, President, State Vocational Federation of Teachers:
Mr. Leavy testified in favor of this legislation, stating that it is unfair for teachers that nearly a quarter of their assessment be based on a single, standardized test. Mr. Leavy states that many teachers feel pressured to, “teach to the test” and that students are now being taught how to take a test instead of the importance of the information.
Sheila Cohen, President, Connecticut Education Association:
Ms. Cohen stated that standardized testing based on the Common Core standards provide an inaccurate picture of the success of a student and school, as these tests attempt to examine a broad range of topics in a very small amount of questions, thus producing an inaccurate portrayal of what a student has really learned.
Donald E. Williams Jr., President, Connecticut Association of School Administrators:
Mr. Williams stated that students fall victim to teachers who, “teach to the test” due to the pressure of these exams.
Dr. Linette Branham, Retired Public School Teacher:
Dr. Branham believed standardized tests do not accurately evaluate a teacher's performance, some students can better display their knowledge through over forms such as oral or visual tests, and these tests do not show growth of a student over time.
Scott A. Minnick, East Hampton, Connecticut:
Mr. Minnick supported the passage of this bill because of data mining concerns from these evaluation tests.
The following organizations and individuals felt that it is unfair to the teacher that a large portion (up to 22.5%) of their personal assessment is based on a single standardized test:
Thomas Scarice, Superintendent, Madison Public Schools
Brian Bisson,Vice-President, State Vocational Federation of Teachers
Dan Blanchard, teacher, New Britain High School
The following individuals and organizations stated that these tests do not accurately assess the performance of the teacher, nor the students, as these tests attempt to assess all of what a student may have learned up to that date in a very limited sample of questions:
Tom Kuroski, President, Newtown AFT
Ted Goerner, President, West Hartford Education Association
Patti Fusco, Special Education Teacher, Carrigan Intermediate School
Rose Reyes, Willimantic, Bilingual Educator, Connecticut
Jacob Werblow, Assistant Professor, Central Connecticut State University
Kathleen Kolijan, English/Language Arts Teacher, Windham High School
Wendy Lecker, Stamford, Connecticut
Christine Ladd, Manchester, Connecticut
John Bestor, Sandy Hook, Connecticut
Jason Morris, New London, Connecticut
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Representative Bruce V. Morris, 140th District:
Representative Morris claimed that student growth as reflected on these tests is a vital component in the evaluation of a teacher and school system as a whole. The Representative testified that it is unwise to remove the use of these tests before they are ever implemented.
Alan Addley, Superintendent, Granby Public Schools:
Mr. Addley cited a random sample survey from the Connecticut's Performance Evaluation Committee (PEAC) of 1,300 teachers and 141 administrators, whose findings claim the majority of whom support the use of these tests.
Jeffery Villar, Executive Director, Connecticut Council for Education Reform:
Mr. Villar testified that the General Assembly established Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) to establish and maintain effective evaluation protocols for teachers, and that decoupling the use of these tests and a teachers evaluation will harm students.
Connecticut Association of Boards of Education:
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education strongly opposed S.B. 380 based on several facts. First, this bill would strip duties from Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), which meets regularly to discuss the best structure for evaluating teachers. Second, PEAC is still gathering data on how this tests affect the teachers they evaluate. Finally, these test have not yet been implemented for this reason, so legislation against its use is premature.
The following organizations and individuals claimed that student growth as reflected on these tests is a vital component in the evaluation of a teacher and school system as a whole, and that standardized test results have not yet been used in teacher evaluation processes.
Carl McCluster, Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church
Connecticut Association of Boards of Education
David Cicarella, President, New Haven Federation of Teachers
Robert M. Goodrich, Co-Founder, Radical Advocates for Cross-Cultural Education
The following organizations and individuals stated the Performance Evaluation Advisory Committee (PEAC) has already established the teacher evaluation curriculum, has already developed an effective evaluation framework, and that this group should continue to produce framework as they feel best fit. The decision of whether or not these standardized tests should be used in the evaluation of the teacher should be left up to PEAC.
Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents
Connecticut Council for Education Reform
Jennifer Alexander, Chief Executive Officer, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now
Jennifer Herz, Assistant Counsel, Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA)
Kathleen Kennedy, President, Connecticut Parent Teacher Association
Nathan Quesnel, Superintendent, East Hartford Public Schools
Yamuna Menon, Director of Reachearch and Policy, ConnCANN
Reported by: Andrew Lampart