Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on New Flexibility Options in Teacher Evaluation
While this is a significant improvement for Connecticut students in public schools, it is only a first step in modifying existing guidelines and removing obstacles that hinder a student-focused system of public education. With today’s PEAC improvements, parents and communities can be confident that teachers will be able to enhance their impact on students—a focus put at risk this school year as teachers, administrators, and school districts were forced to put enormous time and resources into compliance and paperwork required by the Connecticut State Department of Education.
Today’s PEAC changes will foster a new climate that moves away from strict guidelines and moves toward the healthy flexibility that our school communities sorely need—and need as soon as possible.
Significant problems emerged this past school year due to the conformity and compliance that characterized the new teacher evaluation system—including the overreliance on testing, the number of required formal observations, development of Student Learning Objectives, and onerous data collection—all which negatively impacted students.
CEA brought these issues to the governor and lieutenant governor, and insisted on frank and honest discussions about what helps high-quality education and what hurts. These discussions resulted in teacher evaluation guideline changes that eliminate obstacles to student learning in many classrooms—a very positive move forward in the best interest of public education.
PEAC’s action today has Connecticut making the right turn at a critical crossroads. But the right decision did not occur through serendipity, accident, or coincidence. It happened because Connecticut teachers care deeply about their students, and they spoke out intelligently and persuasively about the obstacles that state requirements had placed between teachers and students. As strong advocates for our students, CEA and its members will continue to be vigilant and press for continued positive changes so that reform is implemented right in Connecticut.