RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today following passage this morning by the House of Delegates of HB576, legislation that changes teacher contracting to help recognize exceptional teachers inVirginia’s public schools.
“I have long said that a child’s educational opportunities should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not her zip code. It is critical that we are preparing our young people for the highly-skilled, high-paying jobs of the 21st century – and that starts with getting a good education. A good education starts in the classroom, with great teachers instructing our children. Here inVirginia, we are fortunate have a world-class educational system with world-class teachers. However, until we can guarantee every student inVirginiaa quality education, our work is not done. That is why, this year, we are advancing legislation through our ‘Opportunityto Learn’ agenda that establishes a three-year term contract and evaluation process for teachers and principals to enhance professional development opportunities and reward good teachers. This legislation will recognize our teachers for their success; provide teachers and administrators with benchmarking and performance measures; and, in the end, yield better results for our students.”
I love all the flowery language the Governor uses to discuss this legislation. I too want to prepare our young people for the highly-skilled, high-paying jobs of the 21st century. I too believe that a good education starts in the classroom with great teachers instructing our children. I am just not sold on the fact that a New and Improved Policy on Evaluation is going to solve all our problems. This type of policy is a regulatory policy. This policy will impact me greatly as a high school administrator and will affect our professional development and evaluation policy. I am not at all opposed to this bill in theory. There are many areas that need to be improved upon and the teacher/admin evaluation process could be one. However, the implications for the school level administrator in processing these new evaluation tools and in tracking the data needed are incredible. I believe that many times our politicians, with all good intentions; make laws and policies without truly knowing how they may be carried out or how they impact the local school division. The value to any new policy is that it forces everyone involved to evaluate and re-evaluate their current program, process, or policy. Fresh eyes and fresh ideas about anything could be impressive. I would love to see more money and resources coming our way for all the mandated initiatives that flow down.