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Posts tagged ‘PEAC’

Getting the New Teacher Evaluation System Right

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, at right,

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, at right, clarified the teacher evaluation dispute resolution process during a recent Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) meeting.

There will no longer be any ambiguity about whether school superintendents can cede authority to others for final dispute resolution connected with a school district Educator Evaluation and Support plan. Questioned by CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg at a public meeting this week, the State Department of Education’s Chief Talent Officer Sarah Barzee confirmed that a superintendent can assign the job of dispute resolution to a local Professional Development and Evaluation Committee (PDEC). The PDEC can design a process that results in the final decision regarding a dispute being made by educators other than the superintendent. Many teacher evaluation plans already include dispute resolution processes that involve a PDEC or sub-committee of both teachers and administrators, but in most of the plans, the final decision making authority still resides with the superintendent. This clarification from the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) expands the options for dispute resolution.

CEA believes that teachers should have a strong voice on PDECs, and dispute resolution is an appropriate role for the educators who staff the committees because the role promotes teacher decision-making and a climate of trust and respect in school districts.

The exchange over the dispute resolution process, a required element of district educator evaluation and support plans, came at this week’s PEAC meeting. Read more

State Board of Education Approves Changes to Educator Evaluation

The State Board of Education early this afternoon approved changes to Connecticut’s Guidelines for Educator Evaluation. The State Board acted on...

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State Decision Makers Act on Teachers’ Concerns

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, CEA President Sheila Cohen, and CEA Vice President Jeff Leake listen to other members of the state's evaluation council.

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, CEA President Sheila Cohen, and CEA Vice President Jeff Leake this morning told other members of the state’s evaluation council that multiple and simultaneous changes are not good for students.

The state Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) has been consumed in recent years by reports from consultants, disagreements about what’s best for students and teachers, and plenty of eduspeak—all in pursuit of a new teacher evaluation system.

But it only took commonsense comments from thousands of teachers for PEAC to reach consensus about new flexibility in the implementation of the new evaluation and support system, and to relieve the significant demands and pressures on teachers and administrators who simultaneously must also implement the Common Core State Standards. Read more

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. Read more

State Education Officials Announce Flexibility in Teacher Evaluation Implementation

CEA President Sheila Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg prepare for a meeting of the state's PEAC yesterday.

CEA President Sheila Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg prepare for a meeting of the state Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) Monday. PEAC action would provide flexibility in implementing teacher evaluation guidelines for the 2013-14 school year.

The state process involving school districts developing new teacher evaluation plans is more fluid than it originally appeared, based on extensive discussion on Monday, February 4, among State Department of Education officials, union leaders, school superintendents, principals, and other stakeholders.

The discussion took place at the state Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), which reconvened on February 4 after a seven-month hiatus. CEA President Sheila Cohen characterized the PEAC discussion and consensus action as major steps “to give teachers a meaningful voice in developing local evaluation systems.” CEA has been unequivocal in its insistence that teachers embrace accountability when everyone has a role.

At its February 6 meeting, the State Board of Education responded to the PEAC consensus action adopting the following approach for statewide rollout of the educator evaluation and support system in the 2013-2014 school year:

1. The existing and continuing assumption is inclusion of the whole model (i.e. all Teacher and Administrator Evaluation Components as defined in the Connecticut Guidelines for Educator Evaluation), and full implementation, district-wide in every district.

2. A preferred alternative* approach is whole model, at least one-third of schools, and all certified staff within those schools.

3. Additional alternatives* are possible. For example, whole model and classroom teachers and administrators within 50 percent of schools.

* If a district decides on submitting an alternative approach, the district must conduct a “committee process,” which shall include representatives of local bargaining unit(s) and superintendent representatives. Any alternative must involve whole model and represent a minimum of one-third of the district’s certified staff, including administrators.

4. At the end of the “committee process,” if the committee does not arrive at a recommendation regarding an alternative model, the district may seek consultation from the CSDE to assist in reaching an agreement. If a conclusion is not reached at that point, the superintendent may submit a plan to the local board of education for recommendation to the CSDE so long as documentation is provided to the CSDE, offering evidence of the committee process undertaken. The CSDE will then consider the plan for approval.

5. Superintendents, on behalf of their board of education, must indicate their decision regarding approach to implementation (existing assumption or alternative) by the April 15, 2013, proposal deadline for review and approval by the CSDE.

Cohen said, “We think there’s a real opportunity for districts that have already submitted a draft plan to the SDE to continue revising it with the direct involvement of teachers before the April 15 deadline.”

According to Sarah Barzee, the interim Chief Talent Officer at the SDE, there is not a single evaluation model that districts must follow since that would discourage innovation. Observation models that districts elect to use must be linked to the Connecticut Common Core of Teaching (CCT) and have a research base. For example, she said the selection of an observation protocol is one area in which districts have flexibility.

UConn interim report gets airing before PEAC

A Neag School of Education interim report of a study of the statewide pilot of new teacher evaluation guidelines has found significant challenges that state education officials pledge to fix.According to Neag Researcher Morgaen Donaldson

UConn Neag School of Education researcher Morgaen Donaldson presented PEAC with five recommendations based on an interim report of a study of the statewide pilot of new teacher evaluation guidelines.

A Neag School of Education interim report of a study of the statewide pilot of new teacher evaluation guidelines has found significant challenges that state education officials pledge to fix.

According to Neag Researcher Morgaen Donaldson, there’s been less training for teachers than for administrators about what is expected of them in areas such as identifying Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and addressing what makes these SLOs sufficient. Donaldson added that the situation has led to “classroom teachers in the pilot schools coming to very different understandings of what is expected of them” under the new state evaluation guidelines—a system scheduled to be mandated for all educators next year.

For details on the Neag interim recommendations visit

Post updated February 6, 2013.

PEAC to Reconvene Monday

The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) that met last year to develop state guidelines for educator evaluation will meet again Monday for the first time since PEAC members approved the guidelines in June.

A limited number of districts around the state have been piloting the System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED) this year and some have faced difficulties. The CT Mirror reported earlier this month that Bethany first selectwoman Derrylyn Gorski told legislative leaders the new evaluation system “is adding 43 workdays to administrators who are already very busy… This is such a burden to the small towns.”

Parents and teachers in Madison have also raised concerns about the new system they are required to implement in the coming academic year.

The Council will meet at 3pm Monday at the State Office Building.

CEA, Parents, and Educators Speak Out About Teacher Evaluation

CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine, parents, and teachers told members of the State Board of Education today that they are concerned about the potential overreliance on standardized test scores in teacher evaluations.

“Teachers are very concerned about the direction and process that appears to be evolving on the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), and we would like the Board to consider our concerns before adopting evaluation guidelines and piloting them,” said Loftus Levine. Read her testimony here.


In the teacher evaluation framework agreed to by PEAC, 45% of a teacher’s evaluation would be made up of multiple indicators of student academic growth and development. CEA and other groups shared an understanding that half of that, 22.5%, would include standardized test scores and the “other” 22.5% would not include standardized test scores.

At a meeting May 31, PEAC decided the following, against CEA’s strong objections and opposition. While 22.5% of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on state standardized tests (CMT and CAPT) – or other standardized tests for non-tested subjects and grades – the “other” 22.5% was (and still is) in dispute. CEA believes this “other” 22.5% should include non-standardized multiple indicators of student academic growth. For the “other” 22.5% the council decided to allow one standardized test and a minimum of one other indicator, with mutual consent between the teacher and evaluator, subject to a dispute resolution mechanism. Teachers and evaluators will meet to establish student learning objectives within the “other” 22.5%, according to the PEAC decision.

Details on deep concerns raised before State Board

Parents and educators urged board members today to take a stand against the improper and damaging overuse of standardized tests and move in the right direction for children.

Wendy Lecker, a mother of three children in the Stamford Public Schools, says she wants her children, and all children, to have the best teachers possible, and that’s why she strongly opposes using standardized test scores in any part of a teacher’s evaluation.

“The research is clear that basing evaluations on test scores results in a 40-50% misclassification rate,” said Lecker. “The irony is that these tests do nothing for children’s achievement.”

The National Research Council has concluded that 10 years of test based accountability has done next to nothing to improve student achievement.

Mary Gallucci, a former educator and parent from Windham, said being a good or excellent test taker does not translate into being a successful student who can think and solve problems creatively, as is demanded in most universities, vocational schools, and careers.

“Test preparation and drilling is not learning, and many children tune it out after a while,” she said. “Getting high scores on standardized tests reveals very little about a person’s intelligence, which is multi-faceted. I condemn in the strongest language possible reforms based on standardized test results and evaluations for teachers that include these results because they deny the creativity and humanity of both the child and the teacher.”

Darcy Hicks, a parent and former teacher from Westport, left her job as a teacher because she felt the time she needed to actually teach was squeezed out little by little each year.

“Experimental remedies were dropped into my lap and into the laps of my students. These distractions never did anything to help the learning in my classroom, in fact, they kept us from engaging in a deeper active learning that is necessary for success,” she said.

CEA provided the Board with research and expert views showing that using test scores to evaluate teachers does not improve student performance.

“Overreliance on testing has been a failure for our students. We ask the Board to not make the same mistake when establishing a fair, reliable, and valid teacher evaluation system and state model for the pilots,” said Loftus Levine.

PEAC’s deadline for submitting recommendations to the State Board of Education is July 1. The Board has scheduled a special meeting to discuss the PEAC recommendations on June 27 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Important Work Remains Undone on Teacher Evaluations

CEA sent the letter below to the commissioner of education March 28. For background on the Performance Evaluation and Advisory Council (PEAC), read The Point on PEAC and New Framework for Teacher Evaluations on

Dear Commissioner Pryor:

As you are aware, the full PEAC committee has not met since February 6, 2012.  The February 27th full committee meeting was abruptly cancelled and meetings with individual groups were scheduled in its place. The work group meetings for some groups have begun.  But as of today, no other full PEAC committee meetings have been set.  We have several concerns about the amount of work that must be done by PEAC in order to guide the work of the four work groups (teacher evaluation, administrator evaluation, pupil services evaluation, and implementation).

The following are the tasks we understand PEAC must complete so the work of the four groups can be appropriately guided:

  1. Agree on clear definitions for the four evaluation ratings to be used: exemplary, proficient, developing, and below standard.
  2. Review the Common Core of Teaching domains and develop a continuum of practice that aligns with the evaluation ratings to be used.
  3. Agree on clear definitions of ‘valid, reliable, fair, and useful,’ as they will apply to evaluation of both teachers and those educators below the rank of superintendent.
  4. Finalize work on the teacher evaluation guidelines, which were started last year.  This includes having discussions on, and making decisions about, issues that will affect the work of the sub groups, such as:
    1. What it means to ‘consider’ the control factors tracked by the data system, and how that will be done fairly in evaluation;
    2. What ‘minimum requirements for evaluation instruments and procedures’ means and how that will apply to all educators;
    3. Discuss how student CMT and CAPT scores are to be used in evaluation, given that March test administration results are not received until August, well after the teacher’s evaluation based on those students must be completed.
  5. Agree on a communication system so members are well informed of how the work being done by the work groups aligns and interacts.

This is just the beginning of the work that lies ahead for PEAC, which by statute, is to have the guidelines completed by July 1, 2012.  The State Department of Education has said it plans for a pilot program of the new evaluation system this September.  Full implementation of the new system would follow, according to the SDE timeline, in September 2013.  However, with no meeting schedule set, it may be almost impossible for PEAC to complete the work that needs to be done before a meaningful pilot program can even be conducted.

Simply put, before the end of June, we need to complete the guidelines; develop the state model plan aligned with those guidelines; assure that rubrics are developed that align with the standards to be used in evaluation (the Common Core of Teaching and the Leadership Standards, which haven’t yet been approved by the State Board of Education); assure that tools for collecting various types of data are designed; and establish the pilot program.

The processes PEAC was assured would be in place to move this work forward have not yet been followed.  This is frustrating and disappointing, in light of the progress PEAC made during the meetings you convened in December 2011 and January 2012.  We believe that having to depend on the schedules of facilitators from outside the state has slowed progress.

We respectfully suggest that the full PEAC begin to meet as soon as possible and develop and agree to guidelines based on our agreed-upon framework, per our statutory charge and responsibility.

In addition, we need to agree on the roles and responsibilities of the work groups, in light of the above, and clearly integrate their work into the work of the full PEAC.

We look forward to your response and are willing to meet with you to discuss our concerns.  Our goal is to move the PEAC process along so we can achieve our legislative mandates.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.


Phil Apruzzese                                                                        Mary Loftus Levine
CEA President                                                                         CEA Executive Director