Wednesday, May 5, 2010

AFT Colorado Backs Effective Teacher Legislation Following Agreement With Sponsors on Amendments

DENVER—AFT Colorado President Brenda Smith today announced her organization’s support for SB 191, following an agreement with the teacher evaluation bill’s primary sponsors on key amendments to the measure.

“I am pleased to say that we have reached a consensus on new language that will resolve issues of concern to Colorado teachers,” Smith said during a midday appearance with the bill’s sponsors at the State Capitol. “This means that the bill with these amendments can move forward without undermining basic fairness to teachers.”

With the changes, Smith said, the bill’s key purpose remains intact. “This would establish new parameters for teacher evaluation systems for every school district. I’m confident that the proposal will give teachers a comprehensive look at their performance and provide them with the necessary support and skills training they need to be as effective as possible,” she said.

State Sen. Michael Johnston (D-Denver), one of the bill’s chief sponsors, called AFT Colorado’s involvement with the bill “a perfect example of the critical role teachers play in schools across Colorado—their wisdom and experience have made our policy better.”

The amendments accepted by the bill’s sponsors include:

· Language clarifying that in the event of budget-driven workforce reductions, a new evaluation system and years of service would be used to determine who is laid off.

· Two classroom teachers will provide input to the principal on “mutual consent” hiring decisions involving teachers applying to transfer between schools.

· A process to appeal an evaluation that results in a teacher being returned to probationary status.

“AFT’s leadership on this critical issue shows that they are committed to being partners in building a fair and rigorous evaluation system that ensures teachers get the feedback they want and the support they deserve,” Sen. Johnston added.

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