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Gregoire: Failing teachers could be out after 1 year

TUESDAY, DEC. 13, 2011, 11:40 A.M.

OLYMPIA — Bad teachers and principals could be fired at the end of a school year if they don’t improve under a series of education reforms proposed today by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

State universities would also set up “laboratory” schools in failing schools across the state and a cabinet-level office would be set up to coordinate and improve high school, college and technical school programs, under plans to be presented to the Legislature in January.

The office would oversee everything from high school through graduate level programs. Gregoire said she’s dropped an earlier plan for a single office to coordinate everything from pre-school through Ph. D programs in the state.

The state’s evaulation system would be changed from the current two levels of unsatisfactory and satisfactory to a four-level system: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient and distinguished.

A teacher or principal that was evaluated as unsatisfactory in September would be fired in the spring if he or she did not receive a new evaluation of at least basic. Teachers and principals evaluated as basic two years in a row would also be fired if they didn’t move up to proficient.

Distinguished teachers would be “celebrated” by their districts and communities, although there are no plans in the governor’s proposed reforms to offer set aside state money for raises or bonuses.

Gregoire said the state needs an evaluation system that is fair, clear and effective, and helps every teacher grow. The current two-step system doesn’t work, she insisted.

The vast majority of teachers and principals in Washington are proficient or better, Gregoire said. But those who can’t rise above an unsatisfactory rating should find another career, she added.


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