SEATTLE — Gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee on Thursday praised a new law that passed the state Legislature this year making evaluations a part of how teachers are judged.
McKenna, the Republican attorney general, and the Democrat Inslee both appeared at a Seattle event sponsored by the Alliance for Education. McKenna has made education a key part of his campaign. He said the new evaluation law will probably need further legislation to make sure it is implemented. Inslee called it a “good start” and said he’d unveil his education agenda soon.
The new law uses improvement in student test scores as a factor in hiring, firing and tenure decisions for teachers.
Under the bill, starting in the 2015-16 school year, evaluation results would be used as a factor in human resource decisions. Senate Bill 5895 also set some new guidelines for principals, including a requirement to use teacher feedback in principal evaluations.
The measure builds on the four-level rating system established as a pilot project two years ago by the Legislature. But this time, the state will offer evaluation templates for school districts to choose from instead of having local teachers and administrators design the system.
The proposal goes into great detail about the way a poor evaluation could lead to a teacher being put on probation or losing his or her job. It also offers more specific guidelines concerning how often classroom teachers should be observed.
In his remarks Thursday, The News Tribune reported that McKenna also endorsed the concept behind merit pay, saying the state should “pay our great teachers more because they’re great; pay them more when they work at the most challenging schools so they’ll stay there.”
And he said charter schools ought to be on the table as an option, especially for kids in failing school districts.
Inslee demurred on charters, saying he would talk in detail when he rolls out an education agenda next week.