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HomeNewsAn End of the Year "Report Card" for Our Union

An End of the Year “Report Card” for Our Union

During this past year, we have worked collaboratively with CEA, the State Department of Education (SDE), Governor Dannel Malloy, and other education stakeholders to make significant improvements. We believe that these changes will ease many of your concerns and have the potential to improve conditions in your classroom.
Click here for a letter to the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) on recommended changes to evaluation guidelines and the announcement of a CCSS task force from the governor and legislative leadership. It was also emailed in January in an action alert to our membership.
Click here for recent updates, invitations to events, and action alerts sent to members by email.
Below are some of the key revisions made to the state’s evaluation guidelines:
  1. SLOs: Teachers may be evaluated on a single set of student learning objectives (SLOs) rather than multiple SLOs.
  2. Frequency: Teachers rated “proficient” and “exemplary” will have a minimum of one formal observation every three years and three informal evaluations in between formal observations.
  3. SBAC: Student test results will not be a part of teacher evaluations for the 2013-14 or 2014-15 school years. Data collection will both be streamlined for teachers and protected for students, whose information will not be shared with SDE.
  4. Decoupling Tests: No percentage of any teacher evaluation will be based upon a single standardized test score; instead, they will be determined through the comparison of data across assessments administered over time. 
  5. New Dispute Resolution: Disputes may be referred to a subcommittee of the district’s Professional Development and Evaluation Committee (PDEC), rather than be subject to the sole discretion of the superintendent. 
  6. Clarifying Ratings: Definitions of performance for each of the four evaluation designators is clarified to reflect progress toward achieving mutually agreed upon goals and demonstrated by evidence. 
SBAC test results have been decoupled from teacher evaluations during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. All parties, including the governor and SDE, have agreed to monitor and discuss the appropriate use of the test in the following years.
Governor Malloy established by Executive Order the Educators’ Common Core Implementation Task Force to identify challenges and gaps in CCSS preparation and implementation throughout the state. Members are active classroom teachers — including six members of AFT Connecticut affiliated unions — as well as administrators, local school board members, SDE personnel, and parents. The task force represents a very diverse group with stakeholders from various districts around the state — urban, suburban, large, small, mid-sized, and from different District Reference Groups (DRGs).

Beginning in March of this year, the task force has been meeting in response to concerns voiced during the legislative session about the amount of change in Connecticut classrooms and the unevenness of the implementation of Common Core Standards. After its second meeting, members realized that it would take much longer to study the situation and to make recommendations and began meeting on a weekly basis. 

The task force has heard presentations from four different districts as to what their “best practices” were for Common Core and has also visited three school districts. This by no means was a complete sampling, but it did help provide guidance on what has worked and what has not. 

We also partnered with CEA on a survey of both our unions’ members that has helped inform the recommendations the task force will be issuing. The final report of the task force is being developed and is expected out next week; its recommendations will focus on five aspects: 
  1. knowledge of CCSS;
  2. curriculum writing; 
  3. development of instructional competencies;
  4. community engagement; and 
  5. resource commitment. 
All recommendations will be child focused, evidence based, actionable, inclusive of all stakeholders, and measurable.

In order to take full advantage of the changes AFT Connecticut has initiated at the state level, we urge you to work with your local union leadership and representatives of your Professional Development and Evaluation committee to ensure that your district actually implements the revised evaluation guidelines. 

We appreciate Governor Malloy, SDE leaders, our coalition of public education professionals, and all our partners for coming to the table and negotiating resolutions that address our members’ concerns. We are confident that the governor and SDE will continue to negotiate with us to solve future problems as they arise. AFT Connecticut leadership will work with the PreK-12 Council to continue identifying and addressing issues and advocating for its solutions.
As always, we are available to answer any of your questions and encourage you to visit our website for more information.

More to come, and in solidarity;
Melodie Peters

AFT Connecticut President 
Stephen McKeever

AFT Connecticut First Vice-President 
Jean Morningstar

AFT Connecticut Second Vice-President
Patti Fusco

AFT Connecticut PreK-12 Jurisdictional Vice-President

P.S. We have been providing updates on these developments in regular email messages over the past several months. If you have not been receiving them, click here to sign-up with your personal email address.

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