Md. Senate: Let’s delay evaluating teachers based on new standardized test scores

As Maryland public schools transition to a new student assessment test, teachers and school leaders want their bosses to slow down in using those fresh test scores in evaluating their performance. The Maryland Senate agrees.

The Senate voted 46 to 1 on Thursday morning to approve legislation that would delay using those scores to make personnel decisions until at least the 2016-2017 school year. The House of Delegates has yet to act on similar legislation but is expected to do so.

Delaying that use of the test scores is not quite as simple as passing a new law, as the State Board of Education and federal authorities still need to give their approval. If that doesn’t happen, Maryland could jeopardize the $280.9 million it receives from the federal government.

Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller said in a statement Thursday that the Senate’s near-unanimous passage of this legislation “is an important step in the right direction for instilling some much needed common sense in Maryland’s implementation of Common Core,” newly mandated education standards that are being quickly implemented amid a flurry of controversy. The new assessment test is a part of that reform.

Weller said the legislation, if it becomes law, will “ensure that teacher and principal evaluations are not mandated from the top down, but developed the right way — by the local educators and school systems who know their students best.”

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.

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