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Apr 30, 2010 10:10 PM by Andy Koen

Bill ties teachers and principals to test scores

A measure passed by the Colorado Senate on Friday would require teachers and principals in public schools to be given job evaluations based in large part on how well their students perform on standardized tests like the C-SAP. 

Senate Bill 191 would also make it easier for schools to fire teachers who are under performing by changing the way tenure is awarded.

Peggy Littleton who represents the 5th Congressional District on the Colorado Board of Education says the success of the bill is a win for students and parents.

"Teachers should be excited about this, taxpayers should be excited about this because they're going to get to see and know that there's a return on investment for their kids," Littleton said.

But Mike Stahl of the Pikes Peak Education Association says the bill will simply create better test takers and not brighter students.

"We're going to lose programs that are not [part of] standardized test curriculum areas," Stahl said.  "The arts, industrial arts, we've already lost many of those."

Under the proposed bill, half of a teacher's or principal's evaluation will be determined by whether their students show academic growth on standardized tests.

The remaining part of the evaluation would depend on the educator's effectiveness.

The bill would also require teachers to demonstrate improvement in student performance for three straight years before becoming tenured. 

If students fail to improve for two consecutive years, the teacher would lose their tenured status and once again be considered on probation. 

Under current law, non-probationary or tenured teachers are granted due process protections prior to be fired.

The bill passed the Senate on a 21-14 vote with 7 Democrats and 14 Republicans voting in favor.

The bill now moves to the house for passage.  Governor Bill Ritter has given his support to the measure.

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