Capitol Daily Memo: Committee OKs yearly teacher evaluations

A bill that would require Utah teachers and school administrators to be evaluated each year cleared a legislative committee on Monday.

SB 64, sponsored by Senator Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan), would require the State Board of Education to design a program for school districts to evaluate their employees. Pay for school and district administrators would be linked to those evaluations; pay for teachers would not, although Senator Osmond said he is running a separate bill that could link teacher pay to performance.

While the bill would give the State Board discretion in making rules for evaluating teachers, it specifies that evaluations for school and district administrators must include at least student achievement results, “a periodic 360 degree evaluation tool,” and a report of administrators’ effectiveness in evaluating the employees in their own school or district.  The bill would also define more specifically the process a district must follow in order to fire a teacher for poor performance.  

Sutherland Institute testified in favor of the bill, stating that the public education system as a whole should be based on performance and that SB 64 is a step in the right direction. We expressed our hope that teacher pay would also be connected to performance and that principals would have more autonomy in managing their schools, as we outlined in our 2009 proposal for a performance-based system.

The Senate Education Committee passed the bill out with a favorable recommendation 6-0-1. You can listen to the committee meeting by going here.