Continuing her effort to reform the state's education system, Gov. Chris Gregoire today signed into law Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 5895, which provides a new model for teacher and principal evaluations to further education reform in Washington public schools.
"The new evaluation system will replace one in which teachers and principals were rated as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory," Gregoire said. "The old system just didn't work. It was too broad and didn't really help anybody. For the first time, Washington public school teachers and principals will be able to know exactly what is required of them."
The new legislation implements a four-tier rating system including: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient and distinguished. All school districts must begin implementing the new evaluation system no later than the 2013-14 school year and complete implementation by the 2015-16 school year. Once implemented, experienced teachers or principals -- those with more than five years of experience -- who are rated in the "basic' level for two years in a row will have to move up to "proficient' to keep their job. New teachers must reach the "basic" level before they can move from provisional status to continuing-contract status.
"I received my first college degree in teaching, and this is an issue I'm passionate about," Gregoire said. "For the first time, parents will have the confidence to know that the men and women who teach their children and run their schools are held to clear standards of proficiency."
"This is the culmination of hard work that we began two years ago," Gregoire continued. "And our ground-breaking teacher and principal evaluation system was designed by everybody working together from the ground up. That includes teachers, principals, school associations, administrators, researchers, the PTA, and legislators."
Today's legislation builds on legislation Gregoire introduced in 2010 which ensured improvements are made at the state's lowest-performing schools to accelerate student achievement, created new opportunities for high-quality teacher preparation, and implemented a pilot program at select school districts to create a better evaluation criteria for teachers and principals.
"I'm proud that we can deliver on the next step of a state-wide evaluation system," Gregoire said. "And I'm pleased to sign what I believe will be a model for the country. This law will help ensure every public school student has the good teacher he or she deserves, and every neighborhood school has the good principal it deserves."