Washington teachers

Rita Hibbard's picture

Tying student scores to teacher ratings in Oregon and Idaho, while WA takes a go-slow approach

The state of Oregon is putting it on the line, taking the controversial step -- with the backing of its teachers unions - to connect student test scores to teacher ratings and using them to judge effectiveness.

rita_hibbardweb"Schools will be expected to use those results to improve teaching practices and could use them to help decide which teachers they should promote, give bonuses or let go,” reports Betsy Hammond of The Oregonian. Oregon will take this step in its application to win $200 million of the Obama administration’s $4 billion Race to the Top fund – deadline Tuesday. About 43 states, including Idaho, are expected to apply in this first round of competitive funding, and Oregon is one of only 28 with teacher union backing.

Meanwhile, Washington state is proceeding more tentatively. Gov. Christine Gregoire has announced the state will apply for round two of the funding – deadline June. Superintendent of Schools Randy Dorn agrees with the go-slow approach.

“Race to the Top money will help change the way we do education and make our schools better for our students,” Dorn said. “But we need time to make sure local districts can participate in the process. Waiting for the second round of applications gives us that time.”

Like Oregon, Idaho schools also will seek the federal funding in the first round – about $75 million for a pilot program to pay teachers based on performance in several areas, including student test scores.