Legislation to prevent the results of standardized student test scores from being used in making decisions on renewing a teacher’s license is currently being debated in Tennessee.
The “Educator Respect and Accountability Act,” sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, has found wide support in the state General Assembly. Press staff writer Nathan Baker also reports the bill is also being opposed by Gov. Bill Haslam and the state Department of Education.
Hill said the bill has strong backing in the House, with 82 co-sponsors signed on, demonstrating what he believes to be an overwhelming interest in protecting teachers’ livelihoods.
Hill proposed the law before the General Assembly convened in January in response to a policy enacted by the Tennessee State Board of Education that would have tied teachers’ licenses to growth scores determined using students’ performance on standardized testing.
The board has since rescinded that provision in the policy on first reading, but Hill said he and his colleagues think a law is needed to make sure the scores won’t be used in the future.
Hill, who told Baker earlier this month that he isn’t against using the data generated by the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System to hold educators accountable, said permanently denying teachers the ability to perform their chosen profession in the state based on the figures was “unequivocally wrong.”
Hill’s bill has received support from the Washington County and Johnson City chapters of the Tennessee Education Association, but the assistant commissioner of policy and legislation at the Department of Education, Stephen Smith, has asked state lawmakers to not tie the state’s hands from being able to setting license requirements.
We’d like to hear from you on this subject. Should Tennessee link the renewal of a teacher’s license to the test scores of their students? If not, how do you believe teachers should be evaluated?
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717 Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.
We will print your responses in the coming weeks.