State alters teacher evaluations, but not everyone is happy

Joe Vrabley

State BOE members Joe Vrabley and Andrea Comer

HARTFORD – The State Board of Education agreed unanimously Wednesday to temporarily factor out how well students do on state tests when evaluating teachers, but not all board members were happy about it.

Board Member Joseph Vrabley Jr., of Glastonbury, said he is willing to accept that there has been some level confusion over the roll out of the new Common Core state standards that form the basis for a new state standardized test administered for the first time this year – the results of which were to factor into teacher job performance.


But Vrabley said he is not willing to turn back the effort altogether.

“Is this confusion driven or is it ‘I am not going to be held accountable’?” Vrabley said. “Shame on us if we approve this and don’t come back and stand by our convictions.”

The changes, at least for now, remove the requirement that 22.5 percent of a teacher’s job evaluation be based on how a teacher’s students do on the state’s standardized test. That test was given on a trial basis this spring to most districts in the state and the results are not supposed to count. Most have characterized it as a test of the test. As such, it had already been determined the results wouldn’t count this year. The state is also asking for a federal waiver that would keep them out of the evaluation equation in 2014-15.

The board action on Wednesday would allow further flexibility in determining what student achievement measure to use beyond next year. Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor said the matter is still a work in progress and will be discussed further by a committee charged with developing the evaluation system that was called for in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education reform efforts.

Then that committee proposed the revisions last month, Shelia Cohen, president of the Connecticut Education Association, called the move long overdue and reached only after a large outcry from teachers around the state.

Cohen could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Linda Lambeck